We have two programs at Integral Ballet. We have a school and we have a company. AND I now have the response to my teacher's condescension.
The school requires simulated discipline - working hard day in and day out, the drudgery of routine work. The company requires real discipline -which is not working hard at something day in and day out. It is not the drudgery of routine work. Real discipline is what happens on the days that it’s uncomfortable, the days that it feels impossible, the days that are downright painful. That’s when you have a chance at becoming really disciplined.
The school is a transformational space to learn about what would be required in the real world. The company reflects what is required in the real world.
The school simulates discipline and accountability as a learning tool. The company requires actual accountability.
The school requires good listening. The company requires a burning desire to hear what's being said because it just might make your arabesque better.
Students of the school miss class for special occasions, family commitments, illnesses, etc. Members of the company miss special occasions, family commitments and ignore illnesses for class.
I frequently encourage my students of the school to work hard. I find myself encouraging members of the company to take it easy so as not to overdo it.
In the school, I am interested in providing students with a strong ballet background and inspiring them to appreciate the classical arts. In the company, I am not interested in what you can do when you feel well, when you feel 'inspired', when you feel strong. I am interested in what you can do when your feet are a bloody mess of blisters and scabs, when your inflamed muscles are acting up, when you're stomach hurts and when you have several hours of new choreography to memorize and clean for next week's rehearsal.
In the school, I am interested in the personal well-being of each and every student. In the company, I expect that the best interest of the productions are put ahead of each individual dancer's needs, by each individual dancer.
In the school, I grant leniency on lateness and absences because life happens. In the company, I never grant leniencies on lateness or absences because ballet is life.
In the school, I recognize that the burden of working around absenteeism, disciplinary issues, socializing and all other distractions from the actual learning of ballet fall on me. In the company, there is no such thing.
My students of the school often meet my expectations. The members of the company always exceed my expectations.
Not every child belongs in the company. But you can't miss the ones that do.
To the cast of West Side Story: congratulations on another outstanding production and merde at Friday's performance.