The future of an ex dancer is a blurry one. We slowly stop using the muscles that pushed the skeleton to deform itself, and when we stop using them the way we trained them to work, they atrophy, and the bones no longer have the support to hold the deformity. People see dancers as dreamers, whereas dance is far from a dream. The pain I felt while training as a dancer will never compare to anything. The feeling of my shins bending underneath me with every step, while the calf muscle tore away from the bone. The inflammation in my wrists that would feel like a broken bone with every door I pushed open. The small tendon that I snapped at the top of my hamstring, which although wasn’t painful, gave me a bizarre sensation of something not quite being attached properly in my leg. All these things shape us as adults. Standing in front of a mirror through your formative years, studying yourself, and only looking for flaws. The praise is useless, it’s the things that need correcting that need your attention, and this notion doesn’t stop at your technique, but also into your physical aesthetic. They say that once you’re a dancer, you never stop being a dancer, I agree. Although I may not dance anymore, I have an affinity with my body that someone who has never trained or danced professionally will never have. I know the difference between good pain and bad pain. I know the warning signs that my body gives me if there is a problem, it’s an intuition that only a dancer will understand. The small amount of time a dancer spends enjoying their craft, can be anywhere between 30 seconds, to 2 hours, but the time sculpturing the body to be able to cope with enjoying these moments is arduous, expensive, and exhausting. Where do I see myself in my own future as an ex dancer? I see my spine collapsing, and the lumbar lordosis that developed while I was in training is only becoming weaker with age. The bones that I pushed so harshly to create such beautiful lines do not have the muscle strength to hold themselves anymore. I miss the art of dance. I miss the connection of my body to the music, and the feeling of freedom when you disappear into the dance, because you really do, disappear. It’s as if nothing else exists, and we are truly at one with our body and the music. Dancers are a rare breed, we have a connection to our bodies, and to music, that is incomparable. I am grateful to be a dancer, in my past, present, and future, but I think it’s time to start looking after the body that I abused so badly in the name of art.