October 13, 2023
5 Lessons from Ballet Class for Uncertain Times
During uncertain and challenging times, you can often find solutions in unlikely places. Coming from a ballet school, this may seem a bit biased, but we believe there are an abundance of life-skills learned at the barre that can help you through difficult moments. Here are 5 lessons from ballet class to help navigate uncertain times:
Every dancer knows that balance is essential. From the early days of training, we learn how to hold ourselves up, shift our weight distribution and stay on balance regardless of the movement we’re executing. Maybe even more impressive is the way ballet dancers use their technique and strength to pull themselves back on balance when they start to fall off. When you find your balance, you feel secure and confident that you can accomplish whatever movement is being asked of you.
Likewise, having the strength and know-how to keep pulling yourself back on balance when life throws you curve balls is invaluable. Balance outside of the studio may be as straightforward as eating right, getting enough sleep, or simply keeping a manageable schedule, but the concept is basically the same. Creating equilibrium in your life will help you feel secure regardless of the situation you may find yourself in.
Routine goes hand in hand with balance and it’s something ballet dancers do incredibly well. We thrive under our daily routines that, although may have some variation, basically haven’t changed for decades. We’re talking about barre of course. There is something comforting in knowing that tendus always follow pliés and the progression of barre work can be amazingly reassuring.
Following a consistent routine can work wonders to help structure your day and give you a sense of control even when the world around you may be chaotic. Set up a daily schedule and try your best to stick to it. You’re likely to find that not only does your routine give you a sense of calm, but you’re also much more productive!
This next lesson is a given – flexibility is a fantastic attribute in ballet and in life. Just as dancers strive to keep their bodies flexible and limber, so must we try to do the same with our ability to handle change and the unexpected. Staying flexible outside the studio basically means staying open-minded and adaptable. Approaching situations with flexibility can help in problem-solving and finding the positive when life becomes challenging.
The secret to turning without getting dizzy is what’s known as “spotting.” You keep your eyes fixed on a spot and as your body spins you whip your head around to find the spot again. This allows dancers to turn with control and precision; ballerinas certainly can’t complete 32 fouettes without it!
Translating this particular lesson is a bit more abstract, but think of spotting as essentially staying focused. It’s keeping your eyes on the prize so to speak, in a way that allows you to move forward. During uncertain times, it can be extremely helpful to keep your spot. When you start to feel like your losing your bearings and are overwhelmed with the weight of the world, zero your focus on a single task – a clear spot – and it may just help you find your way through the tough times.
Perseverance is something dancers have in spades. They have to learn perseverance if they want to progress, and it often shows up in small ways that add up to a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Dancers learn that not every audition will be a success and when they fall, they have to get right back up and keep going because the show must go on!
Perhaps this last lesson is the most valuable for times of uncertainty because dancers know in their bones that with perseverance we can get through the challenging times. If you just persevere, keep your spot and do your best to stay balanced and flexible, things will eventually get better.