In a world that is often filled with chaos and uncertainty, ballet class brings structure and accountability into life. More often than not, a child who has grown up with ballet establishes the key principles in her value system that lead to success; much of that begins with discipline in her foundation.
Discipline, as defined, “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior” may sound rigid or off-putting. However, I’ve always been a firm believer that one must learn the rules, before she can break them, and this I believe to be very true in the dance setting.
When a teacher leads a class, the tone is set by her. The way she speaks, the way she interacts, the way she inspires. Every moment that is spent in front of a room of students is an opportunity to help them learn to think, grow and thrive. Discipline in the weekly classroom, where expectations are set and demanded, will later, transfer into individuals who are capable of being self-disciplined in their choices outside of the classroom. Discipline is taught. Discipline is setting the example.
More and more children are being encouraged to feel and think outside of the box. To be empowered by their own greatness. The truth is, many of us grew up with empowerment because we had teachers who demanded we work hard in a very disciplined environment, ballet class.
I believe in accountability. It makes students learn that their outcomes are a result of their actions. Not everyone is capable of hard work equating to a professional ballet career, but everyone is capable of hard work making them better. I believe in structure. Especially when young, children need consistency. As a child, showing up to a class where a devoted individual awaits to help you learn and grow, is a gift. I believe in discipline. The world is filled with rules. Learning early in a class setting by way of an art that has been formulated around cognitive and physical rules is indeed, empowering.
In life, as adults, we often goal set. When we reach an accomplishment, it feels great. When we meet one goal, we set another. That is the ballet classroom. That is exactly what ballet does. It’s little daily goals that one constantly strives toward. That is discipline. It wouldn’t be possible to set a goal and meet it without having to discipline oneself in such a way to make the goal attainable.
Then, when it comes time to think outside the box, to achieve one’s own greatness, to think, create and form original ideas and opinions, to create art; one can move forward with confidence, because she put in the work.
I believe in discipline for children and all that it has to offer. I know that the benefits of ballet go far beyond the physical and the cognitive. When I teach, I keep these things in mind. It’s the daily simple tasks of greeting your teacher when you enter a room, being respectful of classmates as they take their turn across the floor, being mindful of your body language. These are the gifts of ballet that will serve one well for the rest of her life.