Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for Ballet

This week, the week before Thanksgiving, I asked the girls what they were thankful for. Some classes I asked for anything, some classes I had fun asking what specific ballet movement they were thankful for. But for Ballet III, I decided to do something different, and ask what aspect of ballet they were thankful for. Their thoughtful replies encouraged me.

"I'm thankful for a time to be with friends."

It's been fun to see many friendships develop as a result of ballet classes. Some people join because their friends are taking (and then stay because they enjoy it so much!), but many become friends through the class. I don't allow much talking in class, but they take advantage of time before and after. There's also something special that happens when you dance with someone, especially for a few years. As you learn to move together, to move as one person, you get attuned to the other members of the class, as you match your movements to theirs. This draws you together in a special bond of friendship as well.

The Godly, encouraging friendships developing between the girls of The King's Praise Ballet are beautiful. To see them encourage and support each other in and out of class is truly a blessing.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to praise God with dance."

My students usually start taking classes because they want to learn to dance - a logical reason. However, especially in the older ones, I've seen the reason that we dance - to praise God - truly taking root in their hearts. It comes out in their movement. They're not just going through the motions of ballet. Their hearts are using the movement to bring Him praise, and there's a noticeable difference. God is raising up worshipers of Him in girls from 4 to 17. It's a beautiful thing.

"I'm thankful for the way we get to move to the music."

It's such fun to listen to a song and get the movements to match the music. The way the two intertwine and complement each other is a lovely thing. As the girls progress, their musicality also develops, and I can see them listening and fitting the movements to match each different beat or music style. It's rewarding to see them truly dancing!

"I'm thankful that your focus for us is not to glorify our bodies, but to glorify God."

The world of dance can be a difficult one for young ladies. You spend hours watching yourself in the mirror, trying to correct all of your mistakes, and it's very easy to get self-focused. The amount of eating disorders among dancers is also sobering, as they strive to have the perfect body and compare themselves to each other.

But our focus is to praise God with dance - not push everyone to have the perfect, same size body. The girls I teach are all shapes and sizes, and yet they learn to move together, and the diversity is beautiful.

It was rewarding to see this student (who has taken from me for 4 years now!) recognize this. Her heart is fixed on glorifying God through dance, and that comes out in the way that she dances.

"I'm thankful that we get to move in a way that most people don't."

Ballet isn't natural - I tell my students that a lot. The way we hold our back and head, and turnout our legs isn't something people just naturally do. But, as you master the art, it's fun and rewarding. It's hard, but it's exhilarating. As dancers, we get to experience movement in a way that the majority of people never experience.

"I'm thankful for you - a kind teacher!"

That, of course, warmed my heart. :) I strive to teach in a positive way - not yelling or threatening or pushing, but gently encouraging the girls to do their personal best for God's glory. They respond to this encouragement, pressing on even when it's hard. It's rewarding to see them progress, and to see their absolute joy in it.

It's a blessing to not just count them as students, but as friends. They have respect for me, but they aren't afraid of me. Their hugs, smiles, cards, words of encouragement, and the way they dance for the Lord are all very rewarding for me.

Thank you, Lord, for this art of ballet, for allowing me to dance for You, and to pass that joy on to so many girls.


  1. We parents are very thankful for you as well, Miss Anna! We are thankful for an opportunity for our girls to learn to dance and be poised without the worldliness and to learn that their beauty can and does glorify God; we are thankful for all you do to make everything run smoothly not just for yourself, but for every student and their families; we are thankful for the opportunities to have our children and families involved in these ministries. Thanks for all you do!

  2. amen and amen!we are so thankful for the opportunity for our girls to take part. blessings!

  3. Aww that is so so wonderful! great job Anna!