Myths can be a great thing when we're talking about Marvel movies (specifically I'd like to talk about Thor... anyone else? Thor? Here's looking at YOU, Chris Hemsworth), but not so great when we're talking about other things, like ballet, or dance, or whatever business or art you're in or pursue.
Today I'm busting 5 myths about ballet that just don't apply to my studio. This isn't a one-size-fits-all fact checker; some of the things I'll be talking about may have their place in other dance studios, but these are things I've based my business and teaching philosophy on, so if you're into dance as a way to teach confident, healthy and generous souls, read on my friend!
1. You're Born With It, Or Not
Yes, some of us are gifted with wonderful turnout, natural flexibility, and the high arches that make dance a wee less challenging than for your average Joe, but average Joe has just as much of a right to boogie as anyone else. I believe that anybody who has a body can (and should) find joy in music and movement, and can experience all the joys (and challenges) that learning this art form can bring.
2. You Have To Have 'The Body'
Fabulously talented dancers like Lizzy Howell and Erik Cavanaugh are helping to bust this myth, and I'm doing my part with my class about incorporating body positivity in to dance classrooms, and this is a tough one to break since there's such a strong stereotype associated with ballerinas and being thin, but my philosophy is more 'come as you are' as opposed to 'come only if you're a size 2'.
3. No Pain, No Gain
Every once in awhile a picture will surface on the internet with some severe, cane toting ballet mistress holding a young dancer down in the splits while her face contorts with pain. And when this happens, I die a little inside. Pain does not = gain. Yes, ballet technique is difficult and takes a lot of practice and hard work, but I'll never push a student to the point of pain, or suggest that she's not making progress if she's not hurting. Let's borrow Thor's hammer to obliterate this one.
4. Ballet Is For Girls
I'm just gonna leave this here. 'Nough said.
5. You'll Do Everything With Grace
If there was a Tripping Over Your Own Feet Anonymous club I'd be in it. I'm super graceful on the dance floor, and I do have great posture, but having a ballet background isn't a shield against never slipping up, tripping up, or making a goof of yourself. But I do firmly believe that dance is a great teacher of inner grace - of teaching respect, gratitude, and kindness, and I'd take that shade of grace over looking poised on the outside any day.