"If you’re not pushing yourself to be uncomfortable in order to improve you’re just a human doing ballet, and that doesn’t make you a dancer."
I’ll be very honest – my favorite part of ballet class was when it was over and I could take off those torture-contraptions called pointe shoes, put on my puffy socks and sweat pants, go home to take a nice hot shower and lay down in bed in a relaxed and tiger-balmed glory.
But dancers aren’t normal. The truth is, I wouldn’t have loved the puffy socks and sweat pants if I hadn’t worked my butt off for three hours before that. There’d be no tiger-balmed glory – nothing to relax from. I didn’t gravitate towards comfort; dancers don’t gravitate towards comfort. Or at least, they shouldn’t.
Let me make a disclaimer to my students- I promise I’m not going to hurt you; hurt and discomfort are very different things - but I will make you very uncomfortable. That’s my job; I’m your teacher.
It’s ok to be uncomfortable. In fact, you need to be uncomfortable– and not just at the barre- but in your life. You need to push your boundaries to grow, to get stronger, to get wiser, to get better. Go out into the world and get yourself uncomfortable (not hurt) – then you know you’re getting somewhere.
And while we’re on the topic, it’s not enough to learn how to tolerate discomfort – you have to learn how to go out and get it. You have to seek it. You have to be the last one to lower your relevé at the end of a long frappé combination not despite the discomfort but because of it. You have to lift your developé higher than you did yesterday, not despite the discomfort but because of it. You have to nail those Kitri pirouettes, not despite the discomfort but because of it. You get the idea.
The work is what makes it beautiful. If you’re not pushing yourself to be uncomfortable in order to improve you’re just a human doing ballet, and that doesn’t make you a dancer.