Christianity + Ballet

12:45:00 PM


Quite frankly, I'm a little hesitant to share this, because religion is a touchy topic in the world we live in. But hey, it's who I am, I'm not ashamed, and it's only fair to my readers to get a full picture of who I am.

Christianity and ballet is actually a pretty complex and interesting topic to write about. In fact, I've found myself struggling between balancing the two priorities--ballet takes a LOT of time, often away from church and fellowship, and sometimes, each can feel like a burden to the other. But over time, as I've pursued ballet more seriously, I also feel myself growing closer to God, and as I grow closer to God, I feel driven to become a better ballerina.

How? Yeah, that's a good question. It's hard to describe, but I'll try my best :)

At first, it was super hard to balance ballet and my life as a Christian. I often dance on Sundays, and even if I don't, I'm often too tired or working on homework to go to church. I found it hard to believe that ballet was what God had set out for me to do in my life, because it felt like ballet was pulling me away from him. I was like, yeah, I want to live my life for God... but how am I going to do that through ballet? How is God going to do amazing things through my life through ballet?

I'm not even going to sugar-coat it: ballet was, and IS, a very tough journey for me. I know how little chances I have of getting into a company, but even in the moments when the heartbreak is so real, I can physically feel my heart hurting, I have never been able to give up on ballet. Life would be so much easier if I did, but God gave me such a burning passion for dancing that it has yet to burn out, and hopefully never will.
And sometimes that ardor that I have for ballet gets torturous... Sometimes all I want to do is quit ballet, but I am stuck because I cannot bear the thought of giving up on it. Those days really, really suck, but I am lucky that they are few. Plus, everything has its ups and downs, and the downs make the ups better.

I found myself wondering why God had made me "emotionally stuck" to something that also caused me so much pain at times. It's very easy to question God's motives when things aren't going well. But over time, I learned that every low moment I had feeling like trash and every tear I shed was necessary, not only for my growth and endurance as a ballerina, but as a Christian. And every low moment I will have will also be necessary. Looking back, I saw that every difficult moment I had propelled me forward in a way that it would not have been possible to achieve what I have without it. Likewise, without the difficult moments, I admit that I would have never felt the need for God's help and thus, would never have grown in my relationship with him. It was like so that I began to see the parallels between my life as a ballerina and as a Christian. I started to see more and more how what I read in the Bible could even apply to ballet -mind blown-

For me, growing in my relationship with Christ has not been a "BAM you're a Christian life is amazing now" experience. It was more like I taking small steps, holding on to my faith and continuing to strive for more growth, and then looking back to realize how far God had taken me without even realizing it at the time. Honestly, there are so many times were I am puzzled on how to develop the relationship more, and there have been many times when God seemed silent to all my prayers. I came to learn that sometimes, it's not God that is silent, but my ears that fail to hear. And perhaps when he is silent, his silence is meaningful.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think I really became a Christian until it fully struck me how much I need God in my life. Sure, I had attended church ever since I was tiny, I don't think anyone can be born a Christian. It's really a conscious decision.

I began to truly understand what it meant that God has a plan: not that everything will go smoothly (or even well), but that every moment is worth spending because it achieves a greater purpose.  Even the low moments were perfect for me, because they were exactly what I needed--for me, it took those moments of absolute despair, when even loved ones could not help, for me to finally humble myself and cry out to God with all my worries and fears and emotions to find peace and tranquility like no other. Those were the moments that made me realize that God was not just some distant, perfect being, but that He was also there, with me, for me, and at the end of the day, no matter what anyone else says, nothing would be possible without Him.

Why I wouldn't still be a ballerina if I wasn't a Christian

There are many unspoken rules in ballet that don't go super well with being a Christian. Ballet entitles that you sacrifice everything for it: your social life, your money, time, etc. etc.; as a ballerina, you, for the most part, figure out everything on your own; not to mention, there is a sort of a repetitive subliminal message that you, as an individual, do not matter as much as the performance. Ballerinas are always doing things that the body does not want (ballet is 200% UNNATURAL), and it can also be easy for us to be submissive to ideas we don't agree with. I was full on ready to believe all that and more, if that was what it took to accomplish my dreams. But I have found that those unspoken rules are not only hurtful, but unnecessary.

(Yes, it is true that ballet means a lot of sacrifice. However, personally, as much as I am an obsessive workaholic,  I believe that you can not and should not sacrifice everything for ballet. Not only does that inevitably lead to burning out, but it means that you will lack the individuality to enhance your artistry. So while ballet is important, it is also important that you maintain your life outside of ballet.)

Let's be honest, the environment in the ballet world (or the world in general) isn't exactly Christian. Rough competition is a part of the job, and it is so easy for jealousy to run rampant. The atmosphere can (not that it should) be sickening, but being a Christian gives me strength against all this. I am NOT saying I am immune to jealousy, self degradation, and all the other jazz... goodness, no. Without a doubt though, I would definitely have given up on my dreams by now without knowing that God loves me even if I don't have the perfect ballet feet, body, etc.. I cannot thank him enough for all the times he's given me strength when I've asked him to live through me so I can do what's right when it's hard.

It's definitely very hard to describe, but my faith as a Christian has allowed me to be far more resilient than I could ever be. It's truly amazing how God works through my life even in the field of ballet. Every day, I am finding out more and more about God as he shows me what he wants me to do in ballet. To my surprise, I have recently discovered that, although I am no principal dancer, people that I've never even met have come to me for advice, and the experience is truly eye-opening and humbling.

Every day, I pray that I can glorify him through my dancing. I'm not dancing for a teacher, company, but him. As I discover more about ballet each day, it hits me again and again how gorgeous and breathtaking ballet is. It truly feels so organic and authentic... an embodiment and celebration of life itself. I will always strive to become a better ballerina so that I can celebrate God's blessings better :)

If you've gotten here, thank you for taking the time to read this! This post is definitely far less structured than my other ones. I truly did not know where I was going to go with this... I really just wanted to share. There's certainly waaaayyyy more for me to talk about, but I think I'll leave it here for now :) Have a great week, lovelies!

2 comments

  1. Hi Lydia! I absolutely love this post. As a fellow Christian, I love that you are so open about your faith and the importance of it in your life. I find it so admirable that despite the crazy competition of ballet, you have stayed strong in your trust in God and made him the center of what you do. I hope ballet and homeschooling is going well right now--thanks once again for a truly insightful and inspiring blog post! Stay amazing! ~Moriah

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    1. Thank you Moriah! I'm glad to have you in my life as a sister in Christ. You inspire me so much everyday with your compassion, relentless kindness, and selflessness. Thank you for always taking the time to support me when I need it the most :)

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