7 Ways NYC Ballerinas Deal With Stress, Competition, and Rejection

Audrey Noble

To compare one job to another in terms of stress, competition, and rejection is all really relative; there are valid arguments that standards, no matter how different, are high across all industries. But there is a sense these things are magnified in the world of ballet.

We can partially blame this on pop culture tropes that we've seen over and over again: The pitting of two dancers who are vying for the same part against each other and the overachieving, too-dedicated dancer who will do anything to achieve his or her dream no matter the cost are common TV and movie plots. The numbers on dancers also don't really help. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, there are 10,060 professional dancers in the United States as of 2016; 4220 of those are in performing art companies. Such limited spots automatically make the competition more intense.

But while it makes for a great drama to fantasise a cutthroat world where dancers are constantly sabotaging each other's chances just to get the top spot, in reality, it couldn't be further from the truth. We spoke with New York City Ballet corps dancer Kristen Segin and soloist Brittany Pollack about how they deal with stress, competition, and rejection in such high-pressure situations. Scroll down to see what they had to say.  

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