BPB Week 5, Day 20: A Bit of Body and Belief

I doubt myself sometimes. I’m human, sue me. And sometimes during ballet class, almost always at barre, I do start to doubt myself. Ballet is hard, and then you look at yourself in the mirror and all your frustrations are right there in your body staring back at you. You work so hard, and your body just isn’t doing what you want it to, it just doesn’t look right.

But I was uplifted today at the end of barre. We were stretching after grande battements, and the ballet master comes over and gives me a correction, fixing my back in my battements to the back. And then she says that I have, “the perfect little classical tutu body”. She told me that the most pure classical line I could make looks best on me. And then she turned to who could be considered a principal lady in our company and says the same thing, to which she agrees.

My thoughts? Happy, a bit embarrassed, but mostly happy. Needless to say my spirits were raised for the rest of the day.

Of course, I did rationalize a bit. She must have been talking about my proportions and general look, because right now my body is not quite how I want it to be. That being said, body types go in and out of fashion and now, with so many diverse companies and successful dancers, body types are really quite subjective as to what is ideal. I suppose I was being compared to the ballerinas of the past, and they really did keep to a very pure line, without all the crazy extras and affectations of dancers today.

And considering that my body doesn’t like to do the crazy bendy things that some dancers can do, and that I’m not super tall or skinny like some find fashionable, I have to say that the comparison isn’t bad. As much as I look at the fashion of some ballerinas today and wish I looked more like them, I think in the past few months I’ve started to finally make peace with my body. As one of my fellow company members said the other day, “you’re a ballet nerd, aren’t you?” I am. I love my pointe shoes, I love the classic ballets over contemporary (though contemporary can be fun too). So you know what? I have a, “little classical tutu body”. And it suits me. I like it.

Sometimes, to believe in ourselves sometimes we need someone else to believe in us first. This ballet master told me the third day of company, “You have the most lovely expression when you dance. Don’t ever lose it.” This ballet master wasn’t the the first to believe in me, thankfully my other teachers saw something good in me as well. They helped believe in me even when I quietly despaired that I might not be good enough. And hopefully when I one day realize that I don’t have to be perfect, I can be good.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be


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