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Lessons from Dance

I believe that dance and music are two of the greatest gifts ever given to the world. Surprisingly, this wasn’t always my mindset. At first, I was against ever taking ballet classes because I believed the misconception that only little girls in tutu’s did ballet. I remember a close friend consistently telling me this wasn’t the case, though I chose not to believe her at first.

I am so glad my friend never stopped advocating for me to participate. I wouldn’t be where I am today without having discovered dance for myself. It radically changed who I am for the better and taught me valuable lessons that I will carry with me the rest of my life.

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1.) Ballet taught me what hard work really means

  • My muscles were always sore. I had to stretch every day to avoid injury. Blisters and bruises came out of no where after each class. I loved every element of my ballet body because I could simply look at myself and notice the results of hard work. Every sore muscle meant I was getting better and training properly. Stretching meant more flexibility which would result in a better performance and blisters meant I had pushed myself during class. If I could work hard and make it through a couple hours dancing with Ms.Mori at my last and favorite dance studio, I could work hard at everything outside of the studio too.

2.) Dance taught me to set attainable goals

  • In ballet you always want to become better, more flexible, stronger and leaner.¬†There was always something to work towards in dance! Whether it was for you personally as a dancer, for an audition, recital or performance, something could always be improved upon. I remember one of my goals was to be able to do a double¬†pirouette during a grand allegro combination. This was very difficult for my brain and body coordination! Even my teacher around week 3 seemed to doubt my ability. I was so proud the day I finally mastered this part. Now, it wasn’t Misty Copeland standards, but I had accomplished one of my goals which is what I had set out to do.

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3.) Ballet taught me to be passionate

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.”

  • I never had a true, irrevocable passion before dancing. Ballet is the one thing that made me feel alive for the first time in my life. Through-out different studios and classes, one thing between committed dancers remained the same, our passion. We became passionate about our art form through the enduring love we saw in our teachers eyes when they taught us to dance.

4.) Dance taught me to accept criticism

  • How will we learn if we never even know? Constructive criticism is what makes us better, stronger and more capable. I loved my last ballet teacher because she wanted each of us to reach our best potential. I was pushed every single class and had to build upon each critique so that I could perform at my best.

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5.) Ballet taught me that there will always be someone better

  • No matter how hard you work or how many classes you take, someone will always be better, prettier, or skinnier. It’s how the ballet world works. This was one of my biggest mistakes and I wish I hadn’t let it ruin my confidence. Instead, the competition should be a mirror to the work you have to put in if you want to make it in the dance industry. Be the best ballerina you can be and let that shine for others to see. It’s better than being a copy of another dancer.

6.) Dance taught me that my body needs food

  • I developed an eating disorder during my time dancing. It was because of this life predicament that I learned to value fitness and physical education. My hard working, calorie burning, ballet body needed energy from food so that I could be the best version of myself that I could be. I chose to not pay attention to this fact and it caused me a lot of heartache as a result. I wish I had learned to eat the necessary quantities of the right kinds of foods during this season of my life.

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7.) Ballet taught me to be confident

  • I was shaking before my first dance recital. I was nervous about the faces in the crowd, mainly complete strangers, watching and judging my first performance. When I went onto the stage, I was sweating and breathing heavily. The lights were insanely bright too! Something happened though. When the music started, I instantly became confident in myself. My fears went away. I was dancing and nothing else mattered. I wasn’t thinking anymore. I was simply dancing and feeling confident of all the hard work and hours of practice my class had put in. Confidence shines on a stage and I learned that with every rehearsal and audition.

8.) Dance taught me to find beauty in the smallest of things

  • Dance studios have mirrors that can reveal everything about yourself. You can see every hair, pore and muscle. It’s very intimidating at times! I remember the day that changed for me. A girl at my studio told me, “You are a beautiful dancer and you always have your hair in a perfect ballet bun.” Others agreed with her. When class started it was the first time I ever thought of myself as a beautiful dancer with a perfect bun at the top of my head. . Since then, I’ve realized that sometimes the little things that we gloss over are the big things that others notice about ourselves. There is beauty in every pore and muscle a dance mirror shows. There is beauty in every grand allegro mistake and every bleeding blister. They’re small to the eye but beautiful to the heart.

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Those are my favorite life lessons that I learned through-out my years of dance, specifically ballet training. Dance equipped me for life outside the studio. I am forever grateful for the greatest art form and gift given to this world. I wouldn’t be the same person without these experiences. <3

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