It may come as a surprise to some of you to hear that I’m a dancer – especially those of you who have experienced my clumsy side: I can walk into walls, fall down stairs, and stumble on a perfectly flat sidewalk with the best of them.-
But in between my moments of natural born klutziness, occasionally people will, out of the blue, ask me if I dance.
Why? What is it that makes a dancer recognizable sans leotard and leather shoes?
I think it’s something that is rarely taught outside of the dance world anymore. But something that used to be the social norm for women.
It’s grace. – Not grace: the virtue, but grace: the posture.
There is just something about the controlled grace of classical dance… the illusion that something is weightless and effortless (when really every muscle in your body is screaming in contraction) – that makes you feel like you are something other than human… a bird, maybe? Something that is free – that can fly – that floats above the ground, and lands with but a whisper.
I think it’s so cool that dancers can hurl their body weight into the air, contort it into a beautiful vignette in the space of two seconds, and then absorb the entire shock of the landing in their legs so that you don’t hear a thing. It’s all about control – and freedom. Two opposing forces in perfect harmony. I think that’s what grace is.
I also think it’s very much a state of mind.
You must feel graceful, think graceful thoughts, embrace your femininity, carry yourself with poise, push yourself to your outer limits, and believe that you can actually reach those outer limits — in order to carry yourself gracefully into the world.
But they are lies.
Sure, dance can teach you a long-necked posture, pointed toes, femininity, poise, and how to have delicate hands, but it’s up to you to make peace with yourself. To be grateful for who you are… it will show.
You are a beautiful creature. Perfectly designed by God. You are a lady! One with gifts, talents, personality, and heart. You can do whatever you set your mind to, so stand tall – chin up! Walk with confidence.
But temper that confidence with winsome gentleness and warmth. Yes, you are strong, but not so strong that you don’t need others. Don’t be afraid to let people see your heart and care for you when it hurts. Yes, you are confident, but not so confident that you become unapproachable. Grace.
Control — yet freedom.
Freedom to be who you are, yet control to be the best YOU you can be.
Summer plans? Why not spend some time discovering your inner grace? Many studios/rec centers offer adult ballet lessons for the upcoming semester. Feel like flying?