Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just Dance

            Few things have the shaped me into the person I am like seven years of ballet has, both in a literal and metaphorical sense. Ballet has, in a few years, instilled rectitude in both posture and work ethic like nothing else has ever been able to for me. It has taught me in the words of Agnes De Mille “Ballet …never becomes easy; it becomes possible.” And further more possibly possible, until saved into my muscle memory to be recalled at a second’s notice, be it on stage or just a simple exercise across the floor.
            It has taught me that my best can always be better, that there will always be room for improvement, due to the unnatural lines the body seems to, to the outside eye, accomplish with relative ease. But in truth requires immense strength and practice. It has taught me that if I want something, such as turnout, I had to work for it. Praying and wishing just does not really work with ballet, of course you can pray or wish for a good show, but for better technique takes work. To get my turnout took hours of stretching and pushing myself to near breaking point so that today I can turnout almost past 180 degrease.
            It taught me that love-hate relationships are found everywhere. For instance the love-hate relationship with my pointe shoes, I loved the way my feet looked when wrapped in the pink satin and wood, but hated the torturous pain I surrendered my arches to early every Saturday morning. Or with performing, I loved the feeling of displaying my talent, of making people laugh or cry or smile, but hated the days and nights yielded to the purpose of rehearsals and run-throughs.

            It taught me that self expression is just as important as the ability to walk, or speak. It taught me that you must allow yourself to fall into the music whole heartedly, and without a doubt that you might be wrong. That you should live every second as if unsure the next one will come. It has taught me that if you can walk you can dance, and if you can run you can leap. That if you can turn, you can turn in rapid succession, moving swiftly across the floor in those awful things known as pique turns.

It taught me, oddly enough, French, anatomy, geometry, physics and even algebra. It taught me the powers of two upwards of 8, such that music is counted in eights, so that if I’m good, I’ll only have to do eight maybe sixteen Relevés(the rising sharply of the foot such that the toes end up closer to each other), if I’m bad thirty-two- sometimes sixty-four of those things, and if I’m really bad 128 of them. This showing it taught me how to respect a teacher, and how to have a positive attitude in class and towards assignments, because if you complain you end up with more work.

            Ballet taught me most of all how to dance, how to hold myself, how to take pride in my work and myself. It taught me confidence, self respect and many other things that would take far too long to list every single one of them. And so I say, in true Ga-Gaesque style: Just dance!

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