Throughout my 16 years of life, I have encountered many opportunities to do a wide range of activities such as hula/tahitian dancing, cheerleading, learning how to play the piano and guitar, swimming, volleyball, basketball, soccer, art lessons, and classical ballet.
Out of the many wonderful activities I was able to experience, the activity that has had the most impact or influence on me is ballet.
Classical ballet has influenced my life dramatically for the past 14 years and has taught me a lot. I started ballet when I was 2. The reason I began ballet was not simple; such as the typical reason of wanting to start learning how to do it, but rather a reason of fixing the shape of my legs. I was not capable of riding a bike or playing any sports due to the shape of my legs until I met ballet. As I got to know ballet in depth, my lifestyle began to change.
By dancing and training for a few years, I was able to discover many aspects of the dance as well as knowledge that can be utilized in our everyday life. One of the major key factors of ballet is dedication. This goes to doing anything, but especially in ballet. Improvement is always important in dance as you learn new skills every lesson, without dedication, you will not be able to make these improvements. Just like the theoretical discipline in Aristotle’s 3 telos, dedication is the core and foundation of being able to do well in ballet. Then, comes the other factors that completes the process of the dance.It is also essential that you have the ability to focus, concentrate, understand the movement, develop techniques, be flexible, give the right force when dancing, control your energy, be respectful, and most of all have discipline. There are many more components that affect ballet, but these are some of the prime and major elements when dancing ballet.
Ballet is a type of dance that looks very easy when other dancers perform, but when you actually try to do it, it is extremely difficult as it is a type of dance that requires a lot of self control, hard-work, patience, energy and discipline. For example, depending on how much energy you put in, the amount of turns you are able to accomplish will be different. Your end result will differ by how much energy you decide to put in when you dance.
In addition, skipping classes drastically change the way you dance as when you do not train for a while, your body adjusts back to its normal state little by little, as the muscles in your body contract, shrinking or changing back to what it was originally, making it extremely difficult to self-control. Not only is self-control about how you use your energy while dancing, but also how much you eat, how much water you drink, how much you stretch, how much you focus, and many more. These are all major factors that affect how well you dance that day.
Through lots and lots of practice, you will be able to gain the practical knowledge or the basic dance steps, ability and skill in ballet. Mentioned earlier, it is crucial to be committed and forbear when doing ballet. Ballet is not the type of dance that you can master quickly, but rather a dance that takes a long time to master and perfect. You may wonder why it takes a long time to master the ability to dance “proper” ballet, but the reason behind this is because there is a specific muscle that you must put energy into to create a specific form of position. In addition, depending on how much energy you add into your muscles, your form will alter significantly. In order to get the hang of how to use your muscles properly, it takes a very long time.
Adding on, ballet also teaches you knowledge by acquaintance. For example, in August this year, I was able to have the opportunity of performing in a performance consisting of more than 30 dancers. In order to produce the production, it was essential to have teamwork or the ability to work with others. In addition, each dancer had their own responsibilities: keeping track of the schedule as there was a specific day and time for rehearsals, bringing a dance kit on time ready for that day, remembering the dance steps, matching the dance steps to the rhythm and beat of the music, being accurate, and etc.. Another factor that I had forgotten to mention earlier is to be open minded as teachers give excellent advice to help you improve. They will give you shared knowledge as well as their personal knowledge. For example, the teacher may tell you to bend your knees before turning a pirouette which is something you must do when turning a pirouette to gain power and may be a fact through different testimonials (shared knowledge). Then, she may instruct you to put in a specific amount of energy giving you examples of what the energy is like, which would be the type of energy that may work best for her (personal knowledge). Then, you must take in the advice given and build on your own personal knowledge to adept and improve.
Throughout the 14 years of my dance career, I have been able to gain an understanding of both; practical knowledge and knowledge by acquaintance. Ballet has taught me to keep a stoic lifestyle and to self control. When I first began to learn ballet, I had gone through a lot of physical and mental pain as I was not flexible and I was not able to use the correct muscles when dancing. However, over time, I was able to adjust and bare the pain – this experience helps me get through some of the worst days of my life and reminds me each day that it is important to accomplish or undergo things that make us suffer as it gives us a lesson in life.