I feel like I've lost my love of dance. I dread going to class and rehearsal and I think my director is starting to notice. Does this mean it's time to quit? —Payton
We all go through rough patches. But quitting entirely is a big decision—and one you shouldn't make without getting to the bottom of why you're feeling so uninspired. I had three periods over the course of my career when I considered giving up. I was able to work through them, but it took a lot of soul searching.
Start by assessing your work environment. Do you like the repertoire you're performing and the person you're working for? Do you feel challenged enough? Being underutilized or pigeonholed in the same roles over and over again can be a serious motivation killer. But so can feeling overly comfortable. You may want to talk to your director (schedule a one-on-one meeting) about how you're feeling. Or, consider making a change—a new company environment may be just what you need to rejuvenate your enthusiasm.
Or, maybe there's a larger issue at play. Losing interest or pleasure in activities you once loved can be a sign of depression. I know from experience—in the months after my father died, it took every ounce of willpower to get myself into ballet class. But you don't need to undergo a tragic event to develop depression. If you've been experiencing feelings of hopelessness and anxiety in your daily life, you may want to seek counseling to help understand why.
It's also possible that your priorities have simply changed. A dance career requires an enormous amount of sacrifice and commitment; it's easy to resent ballet if you're restless to experience other things. It may be time to move on—and there's nothing wrong with that.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.