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.

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