A Developing Passion
Important Note: Before I begin this essay, I would like to take notice on the absence of activity on this website. Since for the past month, nothing really has been getting published, I think that we Monthly Writers should publish our own work because we can. And because a writer MUST write. We can only get better in writing by practicing - so practice we must! The only difference between a writer and a non-writer is that the writer writes NO MATTER WHAT. If you don't know what to write about, write about what is on your mind. You have something on your mind. You do. So WRITE!
The backdrop of spiky forest pine trees envelops a ballerina grand jetting in time to the twinkling of a triangle instrument. Pique, pique, pirouette, sissone ferme. Pirouetting around the stage, her white tutu flattens as thin as paper. Hidden between the wings another ballerina practices pointing, only to discover her ribbon dangling out of her shoe. But alas! Her cue has arrived, and making a grand jete into the stage as the cymbals crashes together --she tumbles to the floor. This is ballet with its beauty and its flaws; it is ballet—which is my passion that eventually taught me about the power of sacrifice.
I’ve always loved ballet. I remember feeling so important when I was five and “dancing” in Sleeping Beauty as a swan. For that performance, my hair was up to my shoulders, so my mom had to use a wig to make a bun.
As I looked in the mirror, I was so pretty, in my own eyes; but in others, I was just cute. Having a tutu as my costume, I felt even more important as I “danced” (when I really just ran around with a huge, heavy duck hat that only slowed me down) for one minute on stage. All the while my teachers gushed to my parents, “Megan’s so good at ballet and she’s the only one that doesn’t talk! She’s just so well-behaved!”
Of course, as I grew older, the stage time increased and my classmates and I enjoyed each minute performing. But there was one small catch: dress rehearsals would go on to nine o’ clock in the evening. But I didn’t care. I loved staying late. Dancing thrilled me and I wanted to dance to the best of my ability. I wanted to show that ballet has its grace, its elegance, and it speaks for all languages! I wanted to show that ballet is the most gorgeous form of dance.
I began noticing that my Jewish and Catholic classmates did not have the goal that I had: to dance for God. When my family and I watched ‘Ballet Magnificat!’ a Christian Ballet Company perform, their mission to dance for God with their whole soul undeniably displayed on their faces. I want to dance like that! I wanted to truly dance for God and witness to my classmates. We would whisper together in the corner in between dances and talk about our different religions. I never got to share the whole gospel, so I began praying for opportunities.
As I matured, and I started dressing in modest skirts and dresses, dressing immodestly for ballet and acting fairy-tales on the Sabbath nagged me. I felt like a hypocrite entering church decently dressed with a head-covering when I would dress contrarily for ballet. I admitted to my friends, “I’m too scared to ask my teacher if I could dress differently! What will I do? ‘Cause what if Jesus came back when I was dancing in a fairytale story on His Sabbath?”
Quitting ballet barely entered my mind: ballet was everything to me; I had already danced for six years. It was just my passion. Maybe I should ask if I could dress differently...But I certainly didn’t have the courage Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird wanted his children to own. He said, “[Courage is not the idea of] a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
What is more important: having a good conscience or just ignoring it? I didn’t know. If I dance for God—even in a fairy-tale story, would the audience know I am? Is God pleased with me dancing and receiving all the attention on His day? I didn’t think so. And before I could gain the valor to ask to dress differently, to my distress, my mom decided to switch ballet schools. It was horrible. I did appreciate the seriousness of the ballet students, but the school did not have any of the challenges, creativity, and deepness that my old school pronounced as what ballet was composed of. “Why not quit? I thought. “It’s easier to quit now that I don’t enjoy it as much.” But I still did wished to maintain my splits and dance in “Ballet Magnificat!”.
Yet I kept praying for my classmates and for a change. Finally, I decided to quit. And surprisingly, it brought peace. Contentment—to just listen to the classical radio station and when inspired, to jump up and dance with my sisters. It brought discouragement when my sisters returned to our old school in September. Watching through the glass window, it hurt to only watch and not dance. The memories of being the quietest one in the class, struggling with sissones, whispering in the corner with my friends would overwhelm me until I wanted to cry. But quitting answered my prayer to be a witness. God let me share with my ballet teacher about Jesus’ resurrection and declare that He would return! She responded, “How long does your dress need to be? Up to your knee? You can even wear your ‘hat’!”
But ballet isn’t for me anymore. I don’t regret quitting and if I made a mistake in quitting, it doesn’t matter—if I handle them properly. Anne of Anne of Green Gables said, “Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” The ballerina that tumbled on her grand jete got up immediately and continued dancing as if nothing happened—like she should. I am not regretting ballet, because its ethereal, magical beauty has awed me. Ballet has showed me that I can sacrifice all things with Christ!
Lloyd C. Douglas wrote in The Robe, “Our life is like a land journey, too even and easy and dull over long distances across the plains, too hard and painful up the steep grades; but, on the summits of the mountain, you have a magnificent view--and feel exalted--and your eyes are full of happy tears--and you want to sing--and wish you had wings! And then--you can't stay there, but must continue your journey--you begin climbing down the other side, so busy with your footholds that your summit experience is forgotten.” My journey of ballet is exactly like that; switching to another school made ballet seem dull; quitting was excruciating, but now I am on the mountain peak praising God for everything that He has done! My passion for ballet is still mine; except I am not representing it. As L.M. Montgomery says in The Story Girl, “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”