Ballet is in many ways reflective to how we live life on a daily basis. Where on the outside it may appear perfect at first glance, there are many precise details to getting it just right. As a professional ballet dancer, I have come across unique similarities to how ballet and life overlap. Follow below for more info:
Competition is strictly your illusion
There is competition in any and every area of your life if you think about it. While some people laugh it off, others become aggressively investing in the “winning” aspect of it. Happiness will not get involved with obsessive competition because that is where weakness prevails. In ballet and in life there are always people that seem better than you in different areas of competence. During ballet auditions, everyone is vying for a limited spot in the company. In life, sometimes we feel the same: That one job offering, that one major that we need to pass in order to get to the top; these are our perception of idealistic happiness that desires to take over. However, if we let that psychological drama get to us, we start to lose focus, misplace our power into something fictitiously addicting, and forget to enjoy the moment and simply do our best then and there. We miss the opportunity to grow with our potential. Because no matter how you see it, whether you want to succeed in one thing or the other, life is not to be looked at solely as a competition, because then you will lose the very essence of the beauty in your journey. This is the precious truth that manifests itself in both the artistic world i.e. ballet and in your everyday life.
Life is all about balance and stability
In ballet we spend the majority of our workout time at the barre warming up and stretching our bodies to create that beautiful balance when we are on Pointe in the center. We strive to perfect the same steps and coordinate our arms and legs with our whole body in an effort to be more stable, more graceful, and more in control of our center. This easily translates to centering our lives. In life, we need to have a routine, a slight schedule where we try to get better as us. Thus, we begin to get better at organizing, at making positive and productive goals, etc. When we have that balance and stability in life, we can move along gracefully with a steady heart.
Ballet like life teaches us the beauty of expression
There may be 20 dancers in a single class, yet each individual moves beautifully different than the other. Here is the freedom. Like life, we need to follow rules, to be mannered, and to act kind. With that, we can mix it up with a dash of our unique expression. Expressing ourselves is as easy as writing down how we feel and talking about it freely without preconceived restrictions. In ballet, without that secret ingredient of expression, there would be no excitement or interest in watching a ballet performance.
Showing up is half the work
Through practicing the same things each day, we get stronger. In ballet, like life, just showing up at school or work is half the success. Being there and truly being present gives you a special kind of gift of enjoying the moment. Nothing can be purer. Each day you just show up and give yourself that equal effort. Every day may not be ideal but each day is a new day to be something better, to work equally hard.
Connect your mind and body as one
Ballet is a classical form of art that incorporates the idea of a strong mind-body connection. When you are dancing, there is music, there is movement, and there is momentum through it all. We need to open our eyes and ears to become one with our steps and the music. We need to steady our breathing and take a calm pace to get through each challenging variation. Through each hard step, like life, we must take it one step at a time and not rush through it. There are different orders of combinations, just like there are different feelings and different kinds of people we interact with. With each combination, we must try it, not judge it or over analyze. We need to connect as one and keep growing and learning along the way.