Seven o’clock and the alarm goes off. It’s time to shower and stretch out my sore muscles in preparation for class. I slip up my tights and leotard, and hairspray and pin my bun securely on my head. I throw on a pair of trashbag shorts (common dance shorts to keep muscles warm) and I grab an apple to go. Now on the bus, it’s eight thirty and I am listening to the ballet I am will be rehearsing later and warming up my stiff, sore, and blistered feet.
Nine o’clock and I have already stretch before entering the studio and I continue to stretch as dancers get situated and the dance director and pianist arrive. Now 9:05, I am mentally and physically prepared for my day. My ballet class begins with pliés (bending of the legs) and ends with grand alegro (large jumps).
Eleven o’clock and I have burned about 800-900 calories. My hands are shaking as I tape my toes and slip on my pointe shoes. I prop myself up on my toes to adjust my shoes and I am ready for pointe class. My toes are killing me from rehearsal the night before, but I have to set my pain aside and persist otherwise, I will be judged for not being strong enough or dancing poorly. By noon, I have to gather my belongings and switch studios for another half hour of pointe partnering. During this half hour, I am self-conscious about being too fat for the boys to lift even though I am only 98 pounds.
Twelve thirty and my feet are pulsing with pain. My blisters from last night as reopened and I have just enough time to put cream on it before my next class. For lunch, I eat a medium sized salad with nuts, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Then, I chat with friends and mess around in the empty studios followed by stretching before class.
Two o’clock and it’s time for my afternoon class. I am energized and my body is feeling good; however, I get yelled at by my teacher for messing up a combination and suddenly I feel like trash.
Four o’clock and I cringe slipping on my pointe shoes once again because my open blisters are not yet healed. By the end of class, I have to force myself to keep going even though my body is starting to shut down from pain and exhaustion.
Five o’clock and I am starting to feel really hungry. Quickly, I eat a protein bar, before rehearsal starts. I want to take off my pointe shoes because my feet are killing me, but I know that taking them off for just two minutes will be more painful in the long run.
Six thirty and I have burned nearly 2,500 calories. For dinner, I eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables with chicken, and maybe a muffin if I’m feeling skinny.
Seven o’clock and I have another hour of rehearsal. By this point, one of my blisters has bled through my pointe shoe, but sitting down is not an option.
Eight o’clock and I am on my way home. My body is shaking from exhaustion and my feet, red as a tomato. Home, my feet sting as I dip them in a bucket of water and Epsom salt, to speed up the healing process. And before I know it, I have to start all over the next day.
This has been my summer intensive routine for the past six years and the reality for 90% of all professional ballet dancers around the world. This is the performing art that many are too ignorant to consider a sport.
[Fall 2016- Senior Year]