Ballet Can Be Humbling


End of ballet class

(Sorry, photographer not known. If you know who to credit, please let me know!)


Ballet class today…

Awesome Ballet Teacher:  Ballet can be humiliating – no, that’s a bad word. Ballet can be humbling.

Me:  No, you had it right the first time.


Ballet can be humbling. It can be a good thing to be humbled by something greater than yourself though. It reminds us that there are wonderful challenges out there and that as we become part of that something greater, we can know moments of great satisfaction in a humbling experience. We have a tendency to think that being humiliated is what someone else does to us… but it isn’t… only we can put the coat of humiliation on. When I work hard, give my best effort, and stay focused in ballet class I am always humbled but I will not be humiliated. I can fall on my face and I will not be humiliated because I will have fallen while trying, while dancing. But am I humbled? Every single class. And I think it’s a good thing, it’s a good thing to be humbled by something so beautiful, so intricate, so glorious as ballet. It’s just one more reason why ballet is not only good for the body but also good for the mind and soul and here is a thought… perhaps another reason why ballet is also good for the world if it helps to create hard working, disciplined, focused and humble people.

~Let’s dance.


12 thoughts on “Ballet Can Be Humbling

  1. Ballet is indeed humbling! But I agree that this is in no way a negative! The fact that ballet is humbling speaks to its greatness and I’m so glad we each get to be a part of it!

  2. Such a fine sentiment, Lorry. And by the way, it’s just as humbling to teach ballet class as it is to take it. At the end of every class I contemplate all the little failures – how I could have explained this thing better, how I should not have tried to explain that thing at all, why this combination that worked so brilliantly in the car when I was dreaming it up turned out so disastrously in the studio.

    And I contemplate all the little achievements of each student – that one who found his turnout in en dedans pirouette, this one who’s strengthening her beautiful insteps, the other one whose grand jeté is starting to soar – humbled by the talent that emerges in each one.

    That’s why révérence at the end of class means so much: it is a way to acknowledge the enormity of the tradition, and the greatness of all the dancers and teachers who paved the way for us.

    • Thank you, Carla! And thank you for your input from the instructor’s perspective. My own instructor has expressed similar feelings. I think this is one of the reasons that I appreciate studying with him; it isn’t just a workout class that he is leading. My teacher has expressed that he hopes that all his students will dance for the rest of their lives. That’s really beautiful. Being able to share this love of dance and being able to introduce people to the action of dancing is an amazing thing! What a gift and a blessing and yes, how very humbling at the same time.

      Révérence is very special to me too. I am very much reminded in every class that this is an act of inclusion into a great tradition that spans the people and places and time. And so we bend our knee 🙂

  3. Thank you for this post, these are exactly my thoughts! 🙂
    Recently I thought that there is something “religious” not only about révérence, but also about a whole ballet class – you kind of bow before an artform and an ideal of beauty you’ll never attain but you reach for. I like about ballet that you can never become complacent or arrogant. And I like to share this commitment with my fellow dancers.

    • Thank you! I agree, ballet class has a spirituality about it. I know for a lot of people, yoga is very spiritual but it’s never affected me in that way. For me, ballet class is not just a workout for my body and mind but it’s a place where I find a lot of stirring and even healing spiritually. And I think that there is something special about being able to share that with others! ❤

      • Same here – I have done yoga for many years and loved it, and then I discovered ballet and it moved something much deeper in me. I find this to be very healing, too (even if, on a physical level, some say it’s unhealthy…). Good luck and greetings from Germany, Berlin. 🙂

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