Ballet is known to teach discipline. Some people say that ballet is a lifestyle: Dancers have to constantly stay in shape, the ballet technique is demanding and has different requirements, the quasi-military aspect of certain corps de ballet parts in classical ballets…. It would be easy to understand why ballet requires strong discipline and commitment.
As I move forward in my dancing career, I realise more and more how important the role that discipline plays in our daily routine. So I thought it might be interesting to share some of my views on this topic here.
No, never, you’re never going to feel like it. However, in ballet, what we don’t feel like doing leads us to success, most of the time. You’ll never feel like closing that perfect 5th position at the barre, finishing the exercises properly, lifting that arabesque leg in a fondu, starting from the heel in a dégagé devant, doing those boring pilates core work daily, going to the gym, or getting out of bed at 7am for ballet class when your body is sore and stiff everywhere……. (dancers would move on with this list easily)
Thus, while dancing, self motivation and discipline are required to remind ourselves of all the correct ways of doing every step. For me, the enjoyment of ballet not only comes from the sensation of freedom that dancing offers, but also from the satisfaction that I know I’ve done the steps correctly and that it is nicely academic and clean, and that my muscle memories will not pick up bad habits.
This is particularly true when we’re no longer a student and in a company. Indeed, no one’s coming to put you out of bed, no one’s coming to ask you to do warm-up, no one’s coming to take care of your body (physiotherapists? yes, but no one’s coming to make appointments with the physios for you!).
Most of the time, we know what to do, we have the solutions to our problems. What stops us from doing what we have to do may be fear or lack of motivation. Subconsciously, we’d wait for someone to come and tell us what to do, we’d wait for the opportunity, the right time to do it…. etc. But no one’s coming, the opportunity might come but we couldn’t seize it properly because we’re not prepared for it.
There’s nevertheless a downside to doing the right thing all the time. If the final outcome is unfavourable, the more effort you put into it, the greater the disappointment and the feeling of defeat. In this case, as I myself have once experienced, it uses up all the willpower and the expected reward didn’t come. This makes us lose faith and may lead to a “burn-out”.
Thus, I think it is especially important to keep believing that every effort counts, no matter how small, that it moves you closer to your goal. And more generally, to have faith in Life~
This is how ballet inspires me. I am sure that these ideas would apply in any profession, in every part of life.