While the chances of being hired by a professional dance company are slim, it is not impossible. So, out of the millions of little girls that wish upon a birthday cake to be a ballerina, what is stopping nearly all of them? Why are the chances slim?
If you were able to afford the wait, to afford the classes, the auditions, the pointe shoes and the leotards needed, and you were able to afford a modest standard of living for all those years you spent auditioning (starting with your summer programs which now start youngsters as early as 7 years old!), you’d likely have already faced hundreds of rejections. You may have turned down hundreds of other opportunities, ideas or interests. You may have missed a lot of parties and quality time with friends and family. You may have put off higher education, relationships or choosing a home. All of those opportunities arise throughout the dawn of someone’s dance career. And they are nearly always more appealing, because the life of dancer is hard.
It’s a slim shot that by the time the opportunity avails itself, you still even want to pursue it.
I’d like to start being honest with my students about this right now. I’d like for them to stop being intimidated by the wrong idea, the idea that getting into a company is impossible because there is always someone better, stronger, thinner, with fancier leotards. The chances of getting chosen to dance are not slim. Regarding a career in dance, the chances that you keep choosing it pose a much greater risk.
So ladies and (well really just ladies, this is typically a different process for men), if YOU are the most impactful variable in this equation, that means YOU can determine your chances. YOU can choose to stick it out or YOU can choose to forgive yourself if you decide to do something else.
The truth is that when you pursue a career in dance, or really in anything, you are not going to experience a magical poof of fairy dust that transforms your life suddenly so you can thereafter sit around and say 'I made it'. It will be the natural next step and you'll realize you were never so far off in the first place.