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100% of my surveyed Instagram followers have experienced symptoms of burnout.

Written By Annika Rudolph

I’ve never been a morning person, but on my first day of AMDA, I was up before my alarm. The logical side of my brain understood that pursuing a BFA wouldn’t be easy, but the city’s energy made me starry-eyed.

Understandably, these daydreams didn’t include a pandemic interrupting my training.

When the world shut down, I was a third semester learning how to waltz and sing duets. Within a couple of hours, the AMDA community had to move six-feet-apart.

When I moved back in with my parents, online school distracted me from the burning

world. My dad helped me convert the basement into a makeshift studio and although I wasn’t on-

campus, I tried my best to honor the rigorous conservatory schedule.

By graduation, I was taking a daily online ballet class, drilling my book, and submitting to

as many virtual open calls as I could. My mantra active steps was born; when disappointment

came my way, I made an effort to pick a simple task that would move my career forward.

Like dwindling smoke after a bonfire, once I moved back to the city, the distraction I had

formed began to drift away. I have never been a fan of labels like “dancer first” or “singer first”,

but I am someone who should be submitting to dance calls. The expense of Manhattan studio

space aside, I no longer had the motivation to spend another hour staring at my computer screen,

attempting to learn a combination that an associate filmed in their kitchen.

WebMD defines burnout as “a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped.”

Not only was I experiencing burnout, but a part of me grieved the loss of my daydream. I

couldn’t stand listening to jaded performers complain about waiting in line at Pearl because it

was something I never had the chance to experience.

100% of my surveyed Instagram followers have experienced symptoms of burnout.

Burnout tends to affect me in waves, but holding on to my active steps has been a cornerstone.

Next time you feel swamped, I encourage you to take your own active steps, which can include:

1. Take a class.

Whether it’s a drop in dance class or a longer series, in my experience, nothing tops the

post-class euphoria.

2. Add audition notices to your web browser’s reading list.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by breakdown platforms, especially on a business day during

an audition season. Try saving a breakdown that interests you to your reading list or bookmarks

folder; this helps weed through the swampiness and organize what deadlines you need to be

preparing for.

3. Watch something incredible.

Sometimes I forget that I live in the theatre capital of the world. If you don’t live in New

York City, find another way to access a performance that inspires you.

4. Spend time outside of theatre with your community.

I’m an advocate for a work/life balance, but am also terrible at following my own advice.

Sometimes, a lunch date with a friend, trip to a museum, or a beach day is as productive as

running the same 16-bar cut for two hours.

Annika Rudolph

Check out Annika on LimeLight!

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