Two Lessons from a Ballerina

I learn something profound from my ballerina friend who studied under one of the best instructors in the world. She tells me of two rules in ballet that made me think about living life more beautifully.

First, when the ballerina walked on the stage, the instructor told her to present herself as if a beautiful jewel sat on a necklace around her neck. She was to walk as if wanting to draw attention to that rare jewel alone. As she told me this, I squared my shoulders, lengthened my neck, and tilted up my chin. I discovered a fresh confidence in my gait. What a difference it made in my posture just imaging the idea of presenting myself this way–with strength and beauty like this! Consider the rare jewel around your neck today.

Secondly, I’m told that when a ballerina looks at her extended hand, she must imagine she’s gazing upon a magnificent, beautiful piece of art or some truly astonishing thing. That look on her face will direct the audience to also gaze with wonder. The ballerina in this way instructs the audience how to marvel. She marvels at what we will then marvel over. I immediately think of how I gaze upon those around me–children, my students, my husband, even strangers, and yes, even myself. What if I saw these as the truly magnificent beings they are? And what if my gaze then instructed others how to see others–especially the overlooked and ignored?

Those two lessons related to posture and confidence as well gazing in a way that reveals marveling changed how I moved through my day today.

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