We all joke about being "old" and "washed up" in our dance careers as soon as we turn twenty-seven. As ridiculous as this sounds, there is some truth to the struggle we feel in our bodies as we transition into our thirties and forties (and so on!). But that doesn't mean we are washed up and destined for a decline.
But here's the key -- if we are going to have longevity in our dance careers, we have to allow our bodies to adapt and adjust.
The reason most dancers have short careers is that they expect the same out of their bodies as when they were 18 years old. True, dancers can look younger than the average person and take great care of their bodies. But their bodies also endure incredible amounts of stress...much more than the average person. Combine that with the one thing you can never escape -- Father Time -- and you have a recipe for disaster.
Even if you take the best care of your body, eat all the right foods, are meticulous about recovery modalities and de-stressing procedures...time will still catch you. If you deny this fact and expect your body to look and feel like it did in your twenties...and if you expect the same tricks you used to stay on top of your game in your twenties to work in your thirties and forties...of course you are going to get frustrated and quit.
You have to recognize & respect that your body changes with time. Even with the best training. Even with the best nutrition. Even with the best coaches & guidance. You can't outrun natural aging. It's a harsh reality we all must accept.
Here's the silver lining though:
Once you accept this reality, then you have a real fighting chance of not only staying in the game for the long run...but allowing your art to evolve to a different level. Sure, your body may not be able to do the same bombastic tricks it used to at the start of your career. But it's guaranteed there are nuances in the way you move and the richness you bring to your craft that are only possible from putting in the time over decades of work.
I'm stubborn. And I'm a fighter & a workhorse. But even I have to realize that you can't fight certain things. You can only learn how to adapt. Work in a new way. Train different. Appreciate a deeper level of existing and working. That's what allows you to bring a deeper level of experience to the dance world. And that deserves to be respected.
That's what gives you longevity in your dance career...not denying the inevitable aging and effects of time on your body...but adapting to them. Figure out what your body currently needs to feel optimal. Don't stay stuck in a past version of yourself. Get curious about your evolution, both in terms of your body and career. I'm still learning and experimenting every day with what my body needs in this current moment in time...and that's what allows me to stay in this game for the long run.
Don't fight your age; work with it. That's your career longevity right there.