Unless you’re a professional dancer with an incredibly grueling schedule, teachers often advise not taking any real time off from ballet, because for every week off, you will need two to get back what you lost. Or so I’ve heard. The general idea, I guess, is that anything that takes time away from working, working, working on your dancing is bad. Having just come back from two weeks away, though, I can say that time off has been hugely beneficial to me as a dancer.
I have to admit that before I took a little time off, I was in a rut with ballet—I was taking class regularly, but I was losing my spark, and going to class often seemed like a chore, rather than the joy and privilege it is. I felt tired and a little depressed, and became too fixated with more superficial things like how my body looked in the mirror, rather than relaxing and having fun with the movement. Still in that mindset, I went away on vacation two weeks ago, and didn’t dance until the second week after I came back. I didn’t know how much I had needed to take a mental and physical break from ballet until I got back to class and realized how refreshed and energetic I felt. I welcomed a renewed love of dancing that could only have been motivated by some time away to let me miss it.
I would never stop dancing unless I had to, but I do know how easy it is to get burned out. If you start feeling that way, my advice is to take a step back and give yourself some breathing room. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll start to miss ballet, and how much fun it will be to come back.