1. Your body always follows your eyes.
In dance, we use our spot and focus to help us in many ways. When you are turning, you use your spot to avoid getting dizzy. Not only does spotting prevent you from toppling over as you do piqué turns across the floor, it also helps you travel towards your destination. You’ve probably been in class and witnessed one of your friends veer so far off track that she almost crashed into the dancer next to her. Keeping your eyes focused on the exact spot where you want to end up is the key to traveling from point A to point B without getting dizzy, falling over or taking half of class down with you.
Your journey through life works the exact same way as above — your body follows your eyes. Don’t get hung up on things in the past, you’re not heading that direction. Don’t get distracted by the other people next to you, they are not you. You have a path and a journey that is all yours. Stay focused on where you want to go and the life you would like to live along the way. Just like dance, if you don’t use your spot, you’ll wind up dizzy, confused and a little lost.
2. To go up, you must first go down.
As a dancer, you understand the importance of plié. Your plié is the foundation of all your turns and jumps. It is physically impossible to jump through the air without first doing a plié. Your knees must bend and your body must lower so that you can use the momentum (and all of your technique) to carry out an awe-inspiring leap that will move your audience to tears. There is a reason why plié was the very first move you learned in ballet class — you simply cannot dance without it.
The difficult times in your life, the disappointments and the hardships are the pliés of life. Unfortunately, life is not one everlasting grand jeté. There will be times in your life when you feel down or a little lost. Challenging moments are totally normal and are actually part of the process of discovering who you are and what you’re truly made of. The next time life knocks you down, remind yourself that these moments are your plié. Use them as your springboard to soar to new heights. You can’t do a grand jeté without the plié, just like you can’t become stronger and wiser without facing a challenge or two along the way. Focus on the direction you want to leap, and use your plié to reach a whole new level in life.
Your center is where your movement originates. All of the muscles you use to dance are connected to the muscles that we refer to as your center or your core. Proper alignment and support of your spinal column are also vital to your progress and safety. To reach your full potential as a dancer, the placement and strength of your core muscles are key.
In your life, your “center” are the people and relationships you value most. Whether it is your biological family or friends who feel like family, these people are your support system and will help you navigate through this crazy thing called life. Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and this wild ride is much easier (and much more fun) if you experience it with the ones you love. Your relationship with yourself also plays a vital role in this balance. Hold on tight to the real you and to those who will stick by your side through thick and thin.
Pushing through the floor is an extremely important part of dancing. We’ve all been in class when someone puts 150% effort into a grand battement, and just as her right foot flies through the air with so much force you wonder if she is going to kick herself in the face, her left foot slips out from under her and BOOM, she’s flat on the floor. While dancing, it is essential to remain grounded for greater stability with your movement.
Staying grounded outside of dance is equally important. With the chaos of our busy lives: friends, family, boys, dance, school, Instagram, Snapchat, cute dog filters etc. it is really easy to get swept away and lose sight of what really matters. Life is moving at speeds much quicker than ever before, so it’s extra important (and challenging) to slow down and make time for the people who matter most. Before you send that next snap, make plans for an afternoon adventure with someone you love or take a moment to identify something you are grateful for — I promise, you can find at least one thing?
5. Effort behind the scenes pays off in the end.
Although the audience doesn’t see the long hours, late nights, bruises, sore muscles, sweat and sometimes even tears that you put into preparing for a performance, the hard work does show while you are on stage. You have witnessed this as you’ve observed your teammates or other dancers at your studio. You can see the difference in a solo that is well-rehearsed versus a dance that is totally unprepared. Despite that the audience may never see all that goes on behind the scenes, it is clear during the performance who has worked and who has not.
This same principle holds true in your life outside of dance. Although your friend may not always see the effort you make to spend time with her on the weekend, or a teacher doesn’t witness your 1AM pre-calc study sessions, in the long run, hard work is always revealed. It may take some time, but the people who are meant to notice will eventually take note and acknowledge your efforts. Keep up your hard work, it will all pay off in the end.
by: liz camacho
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