Pain And Elation – The New York City Ballet

Warning! This is a non-perfume related post. But if you are interested in art, beauty and masochism, read on…

I used to do ballet when I was young, albeit due to circumstances at a very low-key level. I lived far from the big city of Vienna and training three times a week had to be enough (I was actually very lucky to get that much in our small town). It was enough for me and my life, since I had many other interests, but it was never to be enough to start off a career.


But nonetheless, being a ballerina was a dream, although it was quite clear it would always remain an unobtainable one. I vividly remember the scent of sweat mingled with colophonium, the tinkling of the piano and the strident voice of the Maitre de Ballet.

Sometimes, in rare blessed nights, I still dance in my dreams. I float weightlessly, feeling nothing but elation, forgetting all about the blisters and the strains and the cramps. It is just me and the music and perfect harmony of both.

Upon awakening I feel crushed by the actual heaviness of my body, the inexorable pull of gravity that I defied so easily in my sleep just moments ago. Waking up is like emerging from deep underwater, feeling unfamiliar with my weight, having to adjust again.

I got all nostalgic yesterday when I happened upon this excellent web series produced and related by Sarah Jessica Parker on AOL. Hop on over to view the 12 episode series called city.ballet. The show features the New York City ballet and its dancers, from apprentice to seasoned principal dancer.

If I could have anything in the world, if the much-cited fairy came along, I would love to choose another life as a dancer in New York City with one of the greatest companies in the world.

shoes ballet point

What is your unrealized dream in life? Is it too late for you or could you still have a go at realizing your dream?

Images via wikimedia.commons

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30 Responses to Pain And Elation – The New York City Ballet

  1. Lady Jane Grey says:

    New surprises every day – first the US ambassador, then ballet…

  2. Tara says:

    Waking up from those weightless ballet dreams sounds so sad. That series must have made you feel very wistful. Beautiful pics. Do you have any of yourself while dancing?

    I also have unfulfilled dreams but I never had the slightest idea of what I wanted to do with my life as far as a career or vocation is concerned. I consider myself lucky that I fell into a job that seems to suit me perfectly.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is lucky indeed, I’m glad for you.

      Waking up is not really sad, the lovely glow from the dreams stays in for a while. 🙂
      Did you watch some episodes of city.ballet?

  3. Jackie b says:

    What great dreams…I can totally relate, having been a dancer all my life (now I teach) I still dream about doing 12 pirouettes on pointe or performing Odette off the cuff with no rehearsal!!!!
    But I think if you can imagine it, you can do it.
    Off to look at those videos, thank you for the link!

  4. arline says:

    I want to offer you some encouragement, and inspire you to rekindle the dancer in your body. Find some classes where you live if you can, and start flowing, and moving within your body. We never EVER get to an age where the expression of our body cant be fulfilled in some way.

    I wan t to point out, that you have found a way to express your beauty and creativity in words, through fragrance. Your charisma has attracted you many readers, who look forward to your offerings.

    Sometimes our dreams morph into things we don’t expect, which is why we must stay open to all possibilities.

    I know writing is not the same as being on stage, but as a lover of movement, I realize that what my soul wants deeply is to move and flow creatively. It also loves the challenge of learning new movements, and I believe that will always be the case, no matter how long I am in this world. As a yoga teacher I see many people do things that they never thought possible, and I have students in their 70’s.

    My style is creative and flowing, so it feels like dance. I am a wanna be dancer at some level, so I think that is why I have such a creative and flowing practice.

    I think the important thing to remember is, to always approach life and choices in life with an open and creative mind. Never regret past choices, they were perfect for the time, and opened many doors. Choose things that nourish the spirit, and do everything with as much love and joy as possible.

    Happy thanksgiving


  5. laniersmith says:

    I loved this post. We all have those dreams and I treasure them when they happen to me. I look upon them at my “other life” my internal life where when my eyes close I can be anything or anyone I want to be. The funny thing is, that sometimes when I am drifting off to sleep I can hear an orchestra tuning up for a performance. Those are the nights when my dream is an M.G.M. musical.
    When I was a little boy I wanted to grow up to look like Tyrone Power and dance like Fred Astaire. I wanted to be a movie star!

    • Olfactoria says:

      You know, Lanier, in my mind you are a movie star! All your wonderful Hollywood stories on the blog have created an image of you in my mind that is not at all far from Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Gene Kelly all at once.

  6. ariane says:

    Thank you so much for this!I watched a few of the videos,they are so well done,I am full of admiration for dancers,I am a classical singer myself and have always felt quite lazy next to them!It is a bit shocking,the kind of pressure they face,it seems so cruel,and I wonder how they manage to still express themselves,how can they grow,if every step they take is scrutinized and judged?All the dancers i have met have something special,and I have an aunt who is an examiner and at 74 still a wonderful dancer,she has so much energy!
    I was touched by what you said about your dreams,I hope you find a way of dancing,when I don’t dance for a while,something is not right!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m glad you watched a few of the videos. I think could not stand the constant pressure either, it must be a such a powerful need to dance to be able to withstand all the stress that surrounds it.
      As a singer you know a lot about discipline too, I’m sure. 🙂

  7. ringthing says:

    I enjoyed reading this, Birgit, and I will watch some of city.ballet later, while my husband watches football. Being a total klutz myself, I have the utmost admiration for those able to do something so difficult physically. As to unfulfilled dreams, it’s hard to say; life could have gone in many different ways but then I wouldn’t have the life I have now. It’s all lived one day at a time, after all. Thanks for the lovely post!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Anita! Let me know how you liked the videos!
      You are absolutely right, life is a constant stream of choices and all of them shape us, and by choosing one thing by necessity you lose ten others, but that is the way it is…

  8. poodle says:

    My life has been a series of unfulfilled and broken dreams. I was never a good ballerina prospect though. I bet if you took up some other type of dance you could still live out a different version of your dream. Maybe not a ballerina, but you could still be a dancer.

  9. Ines says:

    I was never into ballet but I would have loved to be a dancer. Dancing as an art form never ceased to surprise me and being able to get your body to do all your mind conceives must be an incredible experience. Exhilarating!
    That said, my unrealized dream (beside never being able to dance like that) is not being a photo model. I know, it’s shallow and stupid and shows how influenced I am by the thin trends of our modern world.
    But in my defense, I obviously never wanted it enough because I never felt the need to lose weight and try. 😉

  10. Love of ballet is easy to understand. Like you, I wanted something that did not work out. I was
    a local piano prodigy and longed for a career in music. I was never able to become a professional, but I did get to study with Yehuda Guttman, an Israeli genius who lived in Key West. He taught me a great deal, and he also appreciated beautiful fragrances. Ballet, music, fragrance, it’s all related.

  11. Tora says:

    When I read this, I immediately thought of that expression..’dance like no one is watching’. So dance is the thing you must do to make your heart glad. My missed opportunity/dream was to be a rancher with a heard of Appaloosas, Pintos, Arabians, Quarter Horses, Lippizaners, and Palominos. I would ride them and groom them and baby them to their heart’s content. I would also have a passel of dogs to run the range with me. My ranch would either be in the Teton Valley or in Patagonia Arizona. In my next life……

  12. Natalie says:

    I watched all of city.ballet today. Thank you for sharing this. It’s always nice to see a well done ballet documentary.

  13. Vanessa says:

    I can just picture you as a dancer – you have such natural grace and elegance, and your hair is up in a bun a lot of the time, so you are ready to go! Victoria of BdJ is another one – she didn’t give me any tips on dancing, but showed me an inner thigh-improving lunge that I am ashamed to say I have not practised since.

  14. Jordan River says:

    “I still dance in my dreams”

    Beautiful. I wish you many dream encores.

    We are dancing on a star, don’t tell when the party’s over.
    Billy Ray Martin

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