January 28, 2012

Dance Lessons

This semester I enrolled in Ballet III. I've miss dance terribly, and quitting is one of my few regrets up to this point in life. Granted, I never really found a studio I connected with in Colorado - making quitting that much easier - but I miss being toned and incredibly attuned to my body. There is also something incredibly reassuring and relaxing about the respectful discipline of ballet class. When I found out two of my KD sisters have been taking ballet every semester, I decided I would give it a go. It had been about three full years since I had last danced, so needless to say I was really nervous. I've been to three classes now, and I'm so glad to be back. I'm definitely behind, but not nearly as far as I expected to be.

Being back in the studio, I have begun to (re)realize how much Ballet has taught me about life.

1. Carry yourself with poise.
In ballet, you always should keep your head up and shoulders back. It gives off an air of confidence that allows some leeway for mistakes. Enchanting the audience extends beyond the stage. If you carry yourself well, people are more likely to listen to and respect you. Presence sets the tone, before you make a single move or say a single word.

2. Listen to every correction as if it was your own.
My ballet teacher growing up, Candalee, always told her students to listen when she corrected other dancers to make sure you aren't making the same mistake. If you take tips and critiques as your own, there is no where to go but up. It encourages awareness and staves off complacancy.

3. Always assume someone is watching you.
Whenever we practiced for shows, Candalee would remind us that even if you aren't center stage dancing the lead role, someone in the audience is looking at you. If you dance like you are the star, you can honestly say you performed your best. Looking back, that outlook taught me not to free-ride, and to always give my best effort.

4. Lead by example.
This one is simple: You will get much better results if you can demonstrate what it is you are asking for.

5. Slacking hurts no one as much as it hurts you.
Slacking is tempting. It lightens the load at that precise moment, but makes eventual improvement that much slower. This is something I struggle with.

6. Discipline and respect are important for improvement and efficiency.
If you fight criticism or discount the wisdom of those trying to instruct you, improvement will be much slower and much less rewarding. Even if you disagree with a suggestion, sometimes it is better to let it go and cooperate, rather than be difficult.

7. If you make a mistake, keep going.
The mistake is done. It's made. Be graceful, and keep going.