Saturday, November 27, 2010

Culture for Perfection

The Beautiful
Ballet is a beautiful strength.  It is an illusion of the impossible and a striving of creating art beauty.  Although I went through much pain and sacrifice, ballet was my passion. It was something that I loved with such fire and zeal that I put every part of my being into this art.  I was never happier than when I was center stage of a ballet.  I was never more relaxed then after a hard dance class.  I was never more calm when I was dancing "adagio" or more stressed than when learning a solo. I was never more motivated than when I was in the middle of dance class. Ballet was a life of emotion and feeling. Above all, being able to share my passion with others was a joy beyond description. The hours upon hours of sweat and study finally coming together was a sure feeling of accomplishment.

The Ugly
However, under the beauty of ballet, there is much dire to be considered. Ballet is a perfection that is strived after.  It must look one way and be done one way.  With that, thin is what is expected. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  I do not necessarily see this as a bad thing, it is just the way that it is and people should accept that.  That pain dancers go through is immense.  I spent numerous nights unable to sleep because every muscle ached so. The dancing 8 hours, six days a week begins to have a toll on your body.  There were times after class I would take off my pointe shoes to find blue toenails and a shoe full of blood.  The rehearsals spent dancing through injuries, and the lack of energy outside of dance. Ballet has a toll. It has a price, and it is this price that ballerina's must be willing to pay.

It seems to me, that above all, ballet is a pursuit of perfection.  Ballet itself is a striving for perfection.  There is only one correct way to dance a ballet combination. Your body must look one way; even your hair must be worn in a tight bun leaving not a strand of hair even a chance to move freely.  Ballet is a world of competition. Competition is what motivates you to become a better dancer.  In ballet, you will never be good enough.  Dancers know that they can always do better.  Striving to create the illiusion that ballet is effortless is exhausting.  The ballet culture is creating the illusion of the impossible: making pain and hard work inivisble. Striving for will never be good enough.  We are creating something to work for that can never really be attained.  By doing this we cause ourselves to be forever discontent and unhappy with ourselves.  This happend to me, it seemed that no matter how good I was becoming, I was still disgusted with my work.  I needed to dance better, more beautiful, and I needed to lose just a few more pounds. 

Another thing the ballet culture does is create an avenue for conformism.  The identity of a dancer is created by conforming to what a ballerina does and is; body and soul.  It has to be true of each individual, but each individual who is truly a ballerina partakes in thes ballet culture.  Girls conform to what the ballet culture says their bodies should be.  Ballet culture seems to define perfection as its lead role.  The hours upon hours of sweat and tears that I and many other girls poured into dancing the beautiful art of ballet.  The hours I spent after class working on the one move I couldn't get. It is a process that never ends, you will never be good enough, you can always do better.

I thrived off this, always trying to become better and more "perfect".  It motivatied me and its only meant that I could spend more time doing the thing that I loved.  However, it is something that I believe distorts our society today. We are never stisfied, and always need to be better and do better.  We want to be the best or do the best.  We are a society that seems to be striving after perfection.  While striving after perfection, we will never be satisfied.  I believe this leads to a very unhappy life.  We should alwyas strive to do well in all we do, but trying to conform to perfection will never happen and will only lead to disappointment and constant stress.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Broken Dreams

I often am told that I am a very happy person.
My smile is often complimented.
People who are first getting to know me often remark about how I laugh so often.
I am often told that I encouraging, positive, cheerful, and uplifting.

Oh friend if you only knew.
My life is a story, of broken dreams.

When I was a little girl, I loved life so very much. I ran around with a smile on my face, laughing and singing at almost every waking moment.  I breathed joy and loved to help people in every way that my little, childish mind could imagine.  I cannot explain the joy that my life contained as a young girl, it wasn't normal. I realize that now as I look back in time. I loved Jesus, even as a child. I would sing to Him and pray multiple times throughout the day, just because I wanted to talk to my Friend. I do not know how I understood this as a child as young as 5 or 6, but I did.

I danced.
Dancing was my passion. To this day, I am happiest dancing. It exudes something inside of me that is unexplainable. I lived and breathed dancing. For over 13 years, I studied ballet. Starting at the age of 11, ballet became more than a serious hobby to me. It became my life, I was going to become a prima ballerina. Every moment I spent dancing was for a reason, I wanted to dance professionally.  I breathed dance. Dance flowed through my blood. Never was it a chore, even in the blood, sweat and tears. The hours upon hours of study in the studio and at home were moments of joy. 

The moment came.
My opportunity to dance in companies in New York were at my footstep. All I needed to do was commit.

I prayed. I prayed that what I was doing with my life was what God wanted me to be doing. I wanted to do His will, and honor Him in everything that I did. Because I love Him. Everytime I prayed, He answered. Ballet had always been something I brought to Christ. I didn't want to have anything in my life be an idol.
Thoughout all those years, God had blessed me with "yes" in ballet.

Now these moments. To choose my ultimate path in life.
God answered no.
I had prayed. Please slam the door in my face if ballet is a no.
The door was slammed. Twice.

My passion. Was taken away.
To this day, I do not really know the full reason why.
I have grown so much as a person.
I feel God tugging me a certain way in life now, that would have never been possible if I was currently a ballerina in NY. 
To have a love, a passion, something that you breathed pulled out of your life.
It hurts.

When we are broken. We cling to the Healer.
When we fall, we look up.

I struggled, I will not lie. It hurt.  It brought me to a closer love with Christ.
These last few years have been a journey. My own journey on the path to complete contentment in Christ.
Contentment, peace, and love.

So yes, the joy you see in me today is real.
It hasn't always been there. It is not  my joy and happiness.
It is completely Christ in me.