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Simone Goldsmith... Retires

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Simone Goldsmith has announced her intention to retire. According to her partner, she wants to pursue new avenues 'after 20 years of doing the same thing'

I think its a terribly great loss for the company, because she is a unique talent. Her cool blonde looks and amazing line won't be easy to replace... But I'm sure she has many talents yet to be tapped. Her last performance will be in December, I believe! Nicole Rhodes has also announced that she won't be performing for the first half of next year and won't commit to anything more...

I wonder about this pattern - it's almost like dancers are seeing their careers simply as a stepping stone on their way to something else. While I applaud the fact they have long term plans and know they won't be able to dance forever, it seems like dancers are leaving at increasingly young ages. Why is this? Are they starting too young? Are the increased physical demands putting too much stress on the ol' body?

Chatting to corps members, they all talk of what they want to do next (things like being a pilot or engineer)... So maybe its just within the Aussie Ballet culture?

Either way I'll certainly miss Simone!

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Thank you for posting this, Katharyn -- you're right, I think, and I think it's worldwide -- dancers are retiring at a younger and younger age. When I first became interested in dance in the mid-1970s, there was grumbling that Balanchine would "throw out" his ballerinas when they hit about 35; this was too young. The retirement age for women was 45-ish, for men 40-ish. (There were exceptions, of course, and people were also worried that Fonteyn had set a new goal -- dance until you're 60.)

One thing that is happening today, at least in some companies for corps dancers, at least, is a matter of salary. Dancers get raises every year, which means that a 28-year-old dancer who's been with the company for ten years is considerably more expensive than an 18 year old new recruit. And so people are cut for that reason.

Another reason is the switch to athletic ballets, nonnarrative ballets. During the Ballet Russe era, you had roles for character dancers. You don't today. And so anyone much over 30 is disposable. Only a star with a following might hope to hang on for a few more years. When you're facing retirement at 30, then ballet will be a stepping stone in a longer career that will culminate in stock brokering, or something of that sort!

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