It’s amsel-flieg.tumblr.com! Thanks so much, I wrote it because I heard some of the girls from the lower levels talking about how they were getting their pointe shoes in January, and it just made me think of how much I’ve changed since that point. I’m glad you liked it!
Yeah, I’ve been doing ballet since I was 3! I actually meant to post that letter on my main blog… stupid mobile. I don’t do aerial, unfortunately, I’ve been dying to learn. That’s fantastic that you started though! I’m jealous! This is actually a blog for the book The Night Circus so that’s why all the circus stuff. So, I guess I’m not going to be much help. But good luck!
First off, I am so proud of you for sticking with it and having come this far. Seriously. You guys all deserve hugs and cookies. But since I have no cookies, I hope some advice will suffice.
It doesn’t get any easier. It’s a magical moment, to be sure, when you finally get your shoes and stand timidly on top of the boxes in your bed room at home for the first time, terrified of taking a step. But once you’re here, it only gets harder. You’re with the big leagues now.
Practices will get longer. They’ll get tougher. Footwork will get more complicated. You’ll be confused. A lot.
Your feet will also hurt. A lot. You’ll get cramps, ingrown toenails, blisters, the whole shebang. And not only will you be working your feet harder than they’ve ever been worked before, you’ll be working your whole body more and more. Teachers will expect things of you that you’ve never done before, and you just have to keep pushing and pushing.
You’ll start noticing your flaws. Suddenly you’ll realize that the girl to your left is more flexible, the girl on your right has better turnout, and they’re both more graceful than you are. Things will start to get more competitive. You’ll cry over roles that thought you wanted more than anyone else in the world, but were given to someone else.
You’ll have to make sacrifices. You can’t do everything once you hit high school, and sometimes you have to make choices. Sometimes the choice won’t be ballet. That’s okay. Somedays you’ll be at the studio or theater for hours and pull an all nighter to cram for that math test. Somedays you’ll forego practice altogether because you’ve got a huge chemistry lab due the next day, or a football game that you just can’t miss. Somedays you’ll be up all night trying decide what to choose. If you turn out anything like me (ha, turn out) it’ll usually be dance.
I might be making ballet sound horrible, that once you get older it’s no fun, but that’s not the case at all. Because once you break into the higher levels, it might only get harder, but it also only gets more and more fantastic. You will learn more than you ever thought possible- about ballet, about life, and about yourself. Your dance friends will become your best friends. The stories from the studio will become your most treasured memories.
Remember that role I said you’d be crying over? It’ll pass, and when the next show rolls around, you’ll be jumping for joy about the part you got for that one. Now, you won’t be watching from the wings anymore, you will be the ones that people are watching. And you will love every moment of it- the lights, the music, the beautiful costumes. Once you hit this point, everything becomes even more magical.
Don’t get me wrong. You’ll have days when you wonder why you’re still doing this. Why you’re putting yourself through this pain, this embarrassment, this torture. And it will feel like torture, some days. But on those days, all you have to do is remember your twelve year old self- the one who danced her whole life to reach this point, the one who would have looked at her future self in awe. That’s right, she’d be looking at you right now and you are the one thing that she wants to be. So when you dance, don’t just dance for the audience, dance for the twelve year old girl who’s getting her pointe shoes next year. Dance for her, because she was you. But most importantly, dance for yourself. Don’t let anyone bring you down, tell you that you’re not good enough. Because you made it this far, and you’ll keep going, which tells the world that you’re more than good enough, you’re strong, brave, and amazing. Dance to express, never just to impress. Do what you love because you love it, and you’ll go far.
I wish all of you the best of luck with wherever your dancing takes you. Who knows, you might quit in high school or never stop until you’re 90 years old and in a wheelchair. No matter where you end up, when you get those pink satin slippers, enjoy every moment of pain, effort, and magic that follows.
I made a new batch of letterpress tickets to Le Cirque des Reves. I printed some in white ink on black paper and some in black ink on white paper. Each ticket is approximately 3x5 inches and printed on a C&P platen press. I put some of these for sale on etsy.
Inspired by the wonderful book “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.