Life Lessons from Ballet

I’ve heard many, many stories that feature ballet.  In some, ballet is a cutesy, girlie thing that no one really pays attention to.  I’ve never met anyone with experience with ballet who actually believed that.  In other stories, ballet is hard, hard work, but rewarding.  That version is a bit closer to the truth.

I’m not a professional, but I’ve been doing ballet for most of my life, and and it’s taught me far more than how to pirouette.

Things work better sometimes if everyone works as one.  

In our highly individualistic culture, the idea of blending into the group, just working as part of the team, can seem wrong or strange, but it isn’t.  When a corps de ballet moves like a single individual, it shows a degree of professionalism and discipline few can match, and it looks brilliant.

If you aren’t happy before the solo, you won’t be happy after.  

It’s good to set and pursue goals like performing a solo, but eventually every performance will end and you’ll be back to business as usual.  The trick is to learn to be happy with yourself and what you’re doing no matter where you are onstage.

Push yourself.  You’re capable of more than you think.  

But at the same time don’t be stupid.  Don’t dance on a broken toe or a sprained ankle, and if you have an asthma attack during rehearsal, take a break.

Humans need other humans.  

I’ve never exactly been a social butterfly, but I’ve developed bonds with the other dancers I perform with that are part of the web of important people in my life.  It’s a human thing.  We need each other, even if we don’t always like to admit it.

No one can resist twirling in a tutu.  

If you think you’re an exception, you’re wrong.


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