What do dancers teach us about relaxation

People who are nearing retirement face many challenges, from clean money to the big question of how to make the most of the chapter of life. But think about comparing those similar problems even though you are in your 30s or 40s.

That’s the end of the dancer.

Most of the dancers have a short career on the stage, which usually starts in their youth and lasts for two years. As with most athletes, their bodies are not suitable for performance after a period of time. When that time comes, it can become a reality.

“I thought I wasn’t an angel,” said Steven Caras, a former New York City dancer who retired in 1983.

But if nothing else, the dancers can change. Many continue to pursue dual careers – some living in the dance world as a teacher or conductor, and others choosing the latest careers from social work to medicine. medicine. Part of it was driven by virtue: Unlike many athletes, ballet dancers don’t have a high salary – the average salary is $ 69,000, according to one report – so they don’t have a high salary. they can only stop work when they leave the field.

Caras is a living demonstration of what a dancer can do after retiring from work: She has worked in a variety of roles with nonprofit cultural groups, including ballet groups, even though she has lost She was a popular photographer and an expert in dance. (Indeed, his life after dance is the subject of an Emmy Award -winning documentary, “Steven Caras: See Them Dance.”)

We spoke again with some of the most retired New York City Ballet dancers, as well as other professionals on the stage, to see the lessons they learned from leaving a dream career at a young age. . And just as importantly: what do those lessons mean to those of us who are considering retirement – or at least the next chapter – in old age.

Prepare in advance for what is to come

In a way, dancers need to start thinking about taking a break soon when they start their career, said many at the school. That’s the real way to prove the work – and even more importantly – the life after the dance. “I’ve worked hard to get into the world of dance and I want the same thing as when I left,” said Gonzalo Garcia, a member of the New York City Ballet who left this year at the age of 42. .

For Garcia, the next step is to hire the company’s art staff as a repertory director, helping with the preparation work for the field. She prepared to go there through years of teaching and learning, and she did the same with her dance. The point is, he and others say, plant the seeds of your next move before you have to make that move.

Gonzalo Garcia plays Balanchine’s ‘Apollo’ with the New York City Ballet

Paul Kolnik

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Teresa Reichlen has danced to prominent roles in acts ranging from “Swan Lake” to Balanchine’s “Jewels” during her many years with the New York City Ballet. But when she retired this year at the age of 37, she decided to do something different: run a New York City movie theater with her husband Scott Ogden, the business’s founder. .

Reichlen said he was ready for the change, as he moved to a school that did not rely on working at night. “I like 9 to 5,” he said. And she has improved her driving skills by taking non -dance programs in recent years – most importantly, raising money to support non -dance dancers in the country. period of illness. The experience also taught her that she could find joy in performing outside of the dance world.

“I realized I could use my mind in a different way,” Reichlen said.

Make sure your skills apply elsewhere

On the other hand, it seems like the best way to prepare for a career is to dance. But skills are about what can change many schools, say dance experts. “You’ve cleaned up the skills of leadership, teamwork and oversight,” said Patricia (Patch) Schwadron, executive director with the Actors Fund, a nonprofit that works with with artists, with dancers, to help them plan professional changes.

Use a variety of resources

Speaking of the Actors Fund, it offers lectures and seminars aplenty to dancers who are starting to retire, as well as one -on -one instruction. It also provides lessons for dancers who are looking to further their education.

Dance groups also do their part. At the New York City Ballet, Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford, who is a veteran dancer with the group, talks to members of the industry about the group’s non -performing ways so they can gain the valuable knowledge they can prepare them for their future careers. “We’re just trying to find as many opportunities as we can to compete with them,” he said.

Not all job search opportunities are the same for every site. But dance professionals make sure you seek out the transformation tips you can get.

New York City Ballet dancer Steven Caras previously left the band and went into careers in the nonprofit world and as a well -known ballet dancer.

Eduardo Schneider

Accept the realities

No one complains about the fact that retirement is hard – and even more so if your job is about hearing people enjoy your work every night. The key to moving forward is to understand that you will need time to adjust, say the dancers. “You have to have a sad time. There’s nothing better than being a dancer,” said Patricia Schwadron.

See that you can come back – in a way

Just because the dancer is “resting,” it doesn’t mean to always stop dancing. A lot of people come back to the field for pieces sometimes. Teresa Reichlen disagreed, although she said she needed “a little space” before she could think of any kind of action.

Likewise, Gonzalo Garcia said he intends to continue working “whenever I have the opportunity.” As he concludes, “Once a dancer always a dancer.”


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