This morning we had a cover shoot with one of my all-time favorite dancers who's a principal at a top company. She's reached a level of success that most dancers only dream of. Yet she told me that when she was young, she never thought she'd get hired as a dancer. There was always someone better. There was always something she needed to improve.
It made me think, If even a dancer of this caliber had doubts about "making it," how many ever really know they have what it takes? Pointe gets letters from students all the time asking, "Will I really be able to make a career out of my passion?"
Ballet is an uncertain field where every director has different tastes and the competition for jobs is insane. Students devote their lives to the art without ever really knowing if all those hours in the studio will pay off. So many sacrifice so much—a social life, their feet, going to a normal school, living with their families—all in pursuit of a dream that may never come. It's one of the inspiring things about our world, as well as one of the most heart breaking.
Whenever you have an off day or are feeling afraid or unsure, remember this: Most of your idols were once in the same shoes you're in now. I bet just about every one of them questioned their future in ballet at one point.
There are no guarantees in life, and even fewer in ballet, but if you approach the challenge with the right attitude and give it everything you've got, it can only help to make you an even better dancer.