Staying on Pointe in School is Hard

There are a lot of college students in the world with a passion for dancing, but juggling the art with academics gets tricky.

By T. Kelis Freeman

Wiacek performs her famous ballet stance, an arabesque, on campus.

When Klaudia Wiacek’s dance studio closed down in the year 2020, she felt like she needed to replace that newfound hole with a different activity. 

She tried focusing on her studies, but it just wasn’t enough. She needed more; she needed to dance.  

“I randomly thought about going back into dancing one day,” said Wiacek. “I am a very creative and artistic person, and I did nothing to show for it.” 

Ballet has always been Wiacek’s passion, and thanks to her supportive parents, her passion seemed like something she could pursue long term. However, as time went by and prices increased, this passion didn’t seem so possible anymore. 

Wiacek’s ballet courses can range from $22 a class, or even $1,200 for 6 months. This is out of her budget, especially since she is currently a college student. 

Currently in her first year at CSI, Wiacek is majoring in English with a minor in psychology. She hopes to become an English professor one day. 

However, there’s always that thought of  “what if” lingering in her mind. 

“I’ve been really busy because of college now,” said Wiacek. “So, I haven’t been dancing as much as I want to.”

Wiacek has been dancing since she was a little girl. 

Ballet has taught her a lot of discipline and determination, which she applies in her studies today. But with every upside, there is a downside. 

Ballet has made Wiacek too hard on herself. Being in the life of dancing, Ms.Wiacek would often compare herself to the other dancers.

She felt as if she wasn’t good enough at times because she wasn’t on their level, technically. 

There are a lot of competitions in dance. Competing often comes with comparing, and with comparing, insecurities are formed.

Wiacek would spend most of her time looking in a mirror. It was during this time where she would criticize herself the most and perceive other ballerinas as “better” than her.

Wiacek would overwork herself day and night to perfect her technique, in any way she could. She would use her television as a barre and practice all sorts of stances. 

Dance practice was so time-consuming that it started to get in the way of school. Wiacek would much rather dance than be at school, because she wanted to be just as good as the other girls in her studio. 

Fortunately for Wiacek, she realized how unhealthy her relationship to dance was becoming and focused her energy on something more stable and less competitive. 

It took Wiacek some time to grow out of the habit of comparing herself to others. She had coping mechanisms such as research projects that made her feel good about herself. 

She found her light and confidence while in college. 

Today, Wiacek talks about how she would absolutely love to get back into dancing, but she thinks it’s best for her mental, physical and emotional health to take another break and focus on her class work for now. 

“My mom was an alumnus for CSI, so I sort of want to follow in her footsteps,” said Wiacek. “But I have always felt free whenever I was dancing, and I really miss that.” 

Although Wiacek didn’t feel much pressure from her family when it came to making life decisions, she still felt lost. Was becoming an English professor her true dream, or should she pursue a career in dancing? 

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