Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ideal Dancer's Body: Perfect

I have a ballet teacher, whom I absolutely love, who always says something like: "All you every have to be is...perfect. I'm only asking you to be perfect. But by perfect, we don't mean the model of perfection. It's impossible to determine what that is, because every dancer is different. What I mean is be perfect for your own body."

I can't say that I agree with anything more.

This topic is on my mind because my university dance department puts all of the auditions for fall choreography in the first week and a half of the semester (death), and when do we think about being perfect more than when people are watching and judging us? Auditioning is one of the most self-conscious times for a dancer, because not only are you worried about what you look like, but you're worried about what you look like to people who may have a large impact on your future.

I've learned, though, that bodies come in all shapes and forms, and that your body doesn't determine your ability or limit your expression. Some of the most fabulous dancers I know have 'abnormal' or 'not ideal' body types - short (5' & under), large, gangly, disproportional (apple or pear-shaped), pigeon-toed. I knew that I wanted to be a part of the dance department I am currently attending when I saw a girl about 5' tall do a chasse that was twice as big as any other girl or boy in the class. I wanted to be daring and push the boundaries of what is "accepted."

Really, the secret is not to think about your body. If you think that your body was born too inflexible or fat or short, you'll never be able to work past what others deem is "possible." I didn't know it was possible for a large girl to land a leap without so much as a small tapping sound, but I've seen it. It really is much easier to do something that's impossible if you don't know it's impossible.

So go out, be daring. Fall down, risk being laughed at, because if you don't take risks, you'll never get better, you'll never dance to the full perfection that your body can achieve. And that would be a shame!

No comments:

Post a Comment