A Peek into the Life of a Professional Ballerina

Ballet is a graceful art which is beautified by the ballerina’s seemingly effortless moves. Many people have been captivated by the agility and skill that ballerinas possess, and so much so that they are inspired to become ballerinas themselves. This is exactly what happened to Maria Hirsch when she was 7 years old. “My aunt took me to watch a ballet performance because she had a friend dancing in the production. I was mesmerized with the lights, make up, costumes and most importantly the pointe shoes.  After the performance, she took me backstage and that completed my fascination. The dressing rooms, hair spray, showers, all the energy backstage and the entire world that opened before me was a revelation. I knew immediately what I wanted do for the rest of my life. My mother and father enrolled me a month later in the same company, and to this day I have never quit.”

Maria instantly fell in love with the world of ballet, but in order to become a part of it she had to contribute a lot of hard work and dedication. “I was a very shy little girl but for some reason, I found “me” in the ballet studio at the barre, sweating and spending endless hours of hard work. I loved the challenge immediately.”  Fortunately, for Maria the challenge of ballet encouraged her and gave her something to work hard for.  It’s important to know that the competition is intense and that people can succumb to the pressure. She mentioned that a dancer needs to have strong self-confidence; if not the competition in this industry will bring a dancer to quit. However, once a dancer can overcome the challenges presented to them, they gain high self-esteem and become an amazing ballerina.

She also described her daughter’s interest in ballet and how she sees the same passion for ballet as she has. “She started taking ballet at the age of 5, with me.  At that early age I saw the same drive and spirit I discovered that day when I was 7. To make a long story short, in January 2011 she joined the Atlanta Ballet. She just turned 19 years old and is on her way to the beginning of a very beautiful professional career. “

Dancing professionally as a ballerina can provide you with remarkable experiences such as traveling to places you would never go otherwise and dancing with other incredibly talented ballerinas. The pay range depends on the type of dancer you are, the company you belong to and your position in the company. You can certainly make a living as a ballerina, but this career is short and therefore a dancer must have an education to fall back into when you reach that “pointe.”

If you or someone you know has been inspired to pursue professional ballerina status, Maria Hirsch is the one to talk to.  Visit her at the CSU Dance Conservatory at the Rankin Arts Center or view the programs offered at www.columbusstate.edu/ballet.

-Kindra Hunter

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