This is really cool!
Ballet has been more than just a physical, mental activity for me.
It’s evolved into as much a spiritual journey for me as well. It’s really become a major part of my Christian faith. There are times when I dance when it truly becomes a form of worship, a celebration of thanks to the Creator for the mind, body and soul He gave me.
There are times in class when I feel He is the audience. When I do something amazing, I hope it is for His pleasure. I told a friend in class who is also a person of faith that when I stumble around (as I often do), I’m sure I made Jesus laugh.
Through the adagio partnering (pas de deux) classes I took a couple of years ago, I think I learned more about how I want my faith to be in God more than any activity I’ve ever tried.
Just a few things I learned and how they can be applied in my relationship with God.
1. I want a ballerina’s faith: I know that may seen like an odd thing for a guy to say. But when it comes to trust, a ballerina’s faith is fierce. Don’t let the tutu and tiara fool you. Think about this: You’re dancing full out on the stage. You are supposed to end it with a high leap into the arms of your partner … who is behind you … who you cannot see … and trust he will catch you.
Or letting someone pick you up by the thighs and lift you over their head while you try to maintain the perfect line … and having complete faith that your partner’s arms and shoulders won’t give way and sending you crashing to the ground and a serious injury.
Or let someone sling your body around, your head coming very close to the stage, and relying on your partner not to you slip through his fingers.
That’s a let go and let God kind of faith, putting your trust in the hands of a partner that is strong and steady.
I once had that kind of faith when it comes to my relationship with God. I can’t really say that now. But it is a fierce faith that I’d love to have.
2. There is no personal space: Not in a partnering class. Not in our relationship with God.
In a pas de deux class, you are holding, or being held, sometimes by complete strangers, in places that are normally only touched by a most intimate partner. Despite the sanitizer you might put on before class, you are going touch sweat. You’re so close you are going to know whether or not they used deodorant, or perfume
In ballet, you are a lot closer to your partner than you would ever come in just about any other form of dance. If you are taking a partnering class for the first time, your definitely out of your comfort zone.
As a Christian, I truly believe there is no personal space we can keep from God in much the same way. And there are times when I’m completely out of my comfort zone knowing that.
3. You must move in unison: In a pas de deux class or on stage, you’ve got to be in complete step with your partner. If you’re doing a ton be pas de bouree glissade combination that requires your partner to leap and you catch her, one split second off could leave her crashing to the ground.
That happened to me once, with my partner’s mother watching. Fortunately she didn’t get hurt, and I apologized over and over. You get the idea.
As a Christian, you accomplish little if you’re not moving in God’s direction. The same with working with others in a church. If you’re moving in opposite directions and not in unison, you are heading for disaster.
4. Keeping focus: In my one and only pas de deux, my partner (who is also one of my teachers) told me to keep my eyes focused on her, her eyes.
“It sells the audience to the fact that you are completely in love with me,” she said.
If we stay focused on our relationship with God, it sells others on the fact that we really do love Him and are sincere about our faith.
But also keeping focus on your partner makes sure you know where you need to be when you need to be there. If you take your eyes off of her, disaster can happen on stage.
It’s sort of like when Peter sees Jesus walking on water. It took a lot of faith for Peter to get out of the boat to join Him. When he had his eyes on Jesus, he did fine. When took his eyes off the Lord and saw the waves, he began to sink.
Just like you have to stay focused on your partner in class or on stage, as a Christian, you have to stay focused on God to be truly successful in your faith.
Sorry, didn’t mean to wax a little spiritual today.
His ballet “Who Cares” set to Gershwin. The man is a true genius.
One of my favorite pas de deux’s. Couple of young friends of mine who danced with our company a couple of years ago did the pas, and it totally rocked!
I’ve kind of, sort of mentioned in a previous post what my dance goals were for 2013. Truth is I do seek a breakthrough. The main goal, of course, is consistency with my pirouettes. I want to be able to do doubles when I’m called to do so. I want that triple. I will learn to really spot.
I want to be able to consistently beat my jetes, assemblees, Cabrioles (I can do front at times, back, not so much). I want better footwork on my jetes and tours en’lair. I want better leg work on my sissonnes, glissades. It another words, real breakthroughs with technique.
I also want to improve both movement and music quality. For that reason, I do hip-hop on Saturday mornings and (cue the laughter) and taking latin dance as an elective at school on Fridays. I’m also taking that class to help me become more comfortable working with a partner (and helping with overall footwork).
Our school has had an in-studio student choreography showcase at the end of the school year the last two years. I did my first (and only) pas de deux during the first one. I want to do another if I can talk my previous partner (a teacher, but also a fellow adult dancer) into doing one with me.
But I also want to do a solo (yes, scary) either to a ballet variation or to hip-hop. I’m going to ask my hip-hop teacher if he’ll help me (he’s also our top male with the ballet company) on that little project. I have an incredible lack of confidence as a dancer, and doing a solo would go a long way to improve in that area.
I also want to improve in the end of the year school show hip-hop dance. I felt I failed miserably in the attempt last year.
Those are my goals. I’ve also set yet another goal to lose weight. I’m a few pounds heavier than I need to be, and I feel that’s also hindering me from reaching some of my dance goals.