I’ve danced on many of the greatest stages around. I have danced at Covent Garden. I have danced at the Kirov. I have danced at the Bolshoi. I have danced at the Paris Opera Ballet. Aging gracefully means being flexible, being open, allowing change, enjoying change, and loving yourself. I think that’s what it means. I danced for 30 years with the New York City Ballet. I joined as an apprentice when I was 17 and I retired at 47. It’s my longest run. My body started to change and I started to have some issues with my hip and some issues with my back that were a little bit more painful. I developed arthritis. I thought Oh I will just be young and happy and feeling great forever and then all of a sudden, it was just like, this is your new life.
A Fifty Year Old Ballerina and Aging In The Industry Photos
It took me 4 years to get out of pain. And that included leaving the ballet company and changing my way of dancing. It’s hard to feel that change in your body and to feel that ability to jump so high and run and to fly, it is hard to let that go, and to remember that you are human. It’s just a constant strive for excellence. It’s a constant strive to be better. And whatever that means, you just want to be better. And then there comes a time when being better is not always with your body, but it is with other things. That’s the exchange. To be an aging ballerina, can be looked upon in not the best light. It just felt wrong to hang on to something that didn’t feel natural anymore. I got a hip replacement at age 48. I felt a lot younger, a lot happier. I’m doing a little bit of everything now. I’m dancing, I’m teaching. The thing I love most is continuing to learn and keeps me motivated. I think I learned so much about who I’m through my dancing and through the experiences I have had.
I do feel that I experienced a little bit of ageism, but I think it is very natural to the art form and it is an unfortunate fact that comes along with it. It just went with the territory that I chose and it was why I was so happy there.
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