A ballet dancer’s office may be a studio or a stage, and they may deal with pointe shoes and choreography rather than computers and paperwork, but three of our dancers have something in common with thousands of commuters across Australia – they ride bikes to work.
There are many worthy practical incentives for commuting by bike: to stay fit, to avoid traffic, and to reduce your carbon footprint. But many bike riders maintain that the prevailing reason they keep riding is for its liberating and sometimes meditative effect.
Madeleine Eastoe says: “Riding in gives me the feeling of freedom before tackling a physical day’s work.” Dimity Azoury agrees, and adds “It’s a great time for warming up, thinking about nothing, winding down after a show and singing!”
For Rudy Hawkes, riding to work is simply the opportunity to indulge in a passion: “I am obsessed with bikes and any chance to ride is time well spent.”
There’s much to be said for the psychological benefits of commuting to and from work in a manner that promotes general well-being in such a basic way. It makes one ponder why everyone for whom riding a bike is a feasible option doesn’t do it – even if simply to avoid rising public transport fares, crabby bus drivers or worse still, road rage-ridden drivers?
The Greening The Australian Ballet Committee is working towards making our company a green leader in the arts. Just a few of our successes include an improved waste management system, water-saving appliances and energy-efficient lighting at The Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre, and not only printing cast sheets on 100% recycled paper but also reducing their output by encouraging patrons to share them.
We’ll be participating in Ride2Work Day on Wednesday October 17. It’s a year-round program that actively encourages thousands of Australians thinking of commuting by bicycle to give it a try. By sharing their knowledge and experience, existing riders like Madeleine, Dimity and Rudy can support and encourage first-time riders.
If you’re considering joining this commuting revolution and are still a bit reluctant about the physical challenge, maybe our biking ballet dancers, with a day full of rehearsals or sometimes even two shows ahead of them, might serve as inspiration. But really, everyone needs a daily dose of the simplest and oft-forgotten pleasure of time to yourself, at your own pace, with only two wheels between you and the world at your feet.