You never stop learning. While a dancer’s training shapes her career, the most successful know it only lays the foundation. More work lies ahead. For some dancers, like New York City Ballet’s Wendy Whelan, below, embracing that challenge yields real gratification. See “A Day In Her Pointe Shoes,” page 46.
Our cover ballerina, Miami City Ballet’s Patricia Delgado, learned early at the company school that she had hurdles to overcome. She put her heart into vanquishing them. “To become a professional dancer, you must make sacrifices. I do not have ideal feet,” she says. “I spent hours with my teachers learning how to work in my pointe shoes.” Delgado offers some words of encouragement to dancers in training:
• “You can conquer a lot of physical limitations with hard work and discipline. So don’t let yourself get discouraged or intimidated by what you do or don’t have naturally. Focus on what you can control, like your work ethic.”
• “Let your passion for the art form drive you.”
• “Don’t try to copy or compare yourself to other dancers. Learn from them, but remember to be proud of your unique qualities.”
You’ll find more good advice throughout our training issue. “Take Your Tendus Overseas,” page 33, looks at the pluses—and minuses—of going abroad to study ballet. Not sure you’re ready for the commitment of a preprofessional program? “Step Up Your Training,” page 39, explores the sometimes abrupt adjustment that faces dancers who take the plunge. And San Francisco Ballet principal Sarah Van Patten remembers her own tough training decisions in “Looking Back,” page 44.
Realizing that the more you learn, the more you can learn will open doors—and worlds—for you. None of the dancers in this issue regretted the chances they took, whatever the result. So set yourself a challenge, technical or artistic, this year. The outcome may surprise you.