25 life lessons I learned from ballet - #8
Beyond the arabesques and grand jetés, ballet is an abundant source of priceless life lessons. With the rigorous training and intense discipline it requires, ballet can teach one how to deal with pressure, disappointments, challenges, and ultimately, success. On her 25th anniversary as a professional dancer in 2009, prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde took the time to list down 25 key lessons she learned from ballet and which she felt both dancers and non-dancers can apply in their own lives. This series shares those enduring nuggets of wisdom – one lesson at a time.
By Lisa Macuja-Elizalde
8. Better to fall than to dance badly. Vaganova would tell this to her students. It’s so much better to fall (since falling is usually an accident) than to not fall at all but dance badly. In other words, a mediocre job with no mistakes is worse than a high-quality performance with one or two falters.
Top photo: Thirty-four years ago, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde debuted as Masha at the Leningrad Choreographic School’s graduation production of The Nutcracker – a role reserved only for the top students believed to eventually become prima ballerinas. Yet only two years before that moment, Lisa – dancing as a Snowflake in the same production – figured in a massive comedy of errors. Her hair got caught in the backdrop which messed up her wig and costume. She could only cry in her teacher’s arms afterwards. But she would redeem herself in 1984 as the unlikely choice of an Asian Masha. Photo from the Ballet Manila Archives