Friday, January 6, 2012

Advice from a Former Ballerina

Okay, so I'm taking some serious liberties in calling myself a ballerina, but just stay with me for the sake of this post :-)

I took two years of ballet in high school and sometimes received compliments that I possessed a natural grace -- that has to count for something, right?

Anyway, I went to ballet class every Wednesday night for two years with my best friend in high school. We were on danceline together at school, and took ballet because we knew it would help us build our strength, flexibility, and grace.

We spent our Wednesday evenings practicing our plies, arabesques, jetes, and chasses. We perfected our turn-outs and positions.

And then we spent a significant part of our class-time working on turns: piques, pirouettes, and fouettes.

We worked for what felt like an eternity on our turns! Luckily, turns were my favorite. Because while they were difficult, it just felt so good when I got it right!

Anyway, when I began classes, I couldn't believe how difficult a simple turn was to execute. Every single part of my body had to be lined up perfectly. My weight had to be distributed just right so as not to throw off my center of balance.

And above all, no matter what, the most important thing to remember when executing a turn was to spot.

Here is a definition courtesy of Wikipedia if you're not familiar with "spotting" :

Spotting is a technique used by dancers during the execution of various dance turns. The goal of spotting is to attain a constant orientation of the dancer's head and eyes, to the extent possible, in order to enhance the dancer's control and prevent dizziness.

As a dancer turns, spotting is performed by rotating the body and head at different rates. While the body rotates smoothly at a relatively constant speed, the head periodically rotates much faster and then stops, so as to fix the dancer's gaze on a single location (the spotting point, or simply the spot)

Spotting was the most important element of the turn, and for that reason, we were taught the skill long before we tried so much as a pique turn.

Because as long as a dancer keeps her eyes fixed on one spot, she will keep control. She won't become dizzy, and she probably won't fall.

But without spotting, everything falls apart. The world begins to spin out of control, and more than likely, the dancer will come spiraling to the floor, all sense of equilibrium gone.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

This week, God is teaching me that life is nothing more than a series of pirouettes: difficult to begin with, but completely impossible if you don't keep your eyes fixed on Him.

Lately I've had a hard time keeping my eyes on Him. I've wanted to look around at the things in my life. Or better yet, the lack of things. The fact that I'll always fall short, I'll never be "good enough," I'll never accomplish all the things I plan, or attain all the possessions I want.

The moment I start looking at those things (which really don't matter anyway), everything falls apart. My world spins out of control.

...Until I find my "spot" again. When I remember to keep my eyes on the Father, everything rights itself, and life becomes beautiful. I become beautiful in it, because I am the dancer, and He will not let me fall!

I realize that I don't have to be perfect. In my imperfections, God shines through. He is strength in my weakness. He's the one keeping me going.

What a beautiful reminder during a time when this world was doing everything imaginable to make me fall.

Don't lose sight of your spot!


  1. This was such a beautiful reminder, Jessica! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Oh I love love love this post!! :)

  3. I love this analogy! I took dance for a little while when I was a kI'd, and I don't remember much, except the spotting. Great thoughts!

  4. From a former ballerina too - love this!


Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! I read and appreciate each and every one. Blessings to you!