25 Life Lessons I Learned From Ballet - #16
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
16. Learn to listen – to the music, to your body, to your teachers, to your partners and yes, to your critics. When you learn how to listen, you learn how to improve. Feedback from someone watching you can only be constructive because you can never really see yourself from a distance.
Top photo: Preparing to dance as Kitri in her first full-length Don Quixote, a young Lisa Macuja listened intently to the instructions of ballet mistress and coach Gabriela Komleva on how to use the fan. Paying close attention to these little details passed on to her by her mentors helped Lisa offer the audience a more nuanced performance. Kitri eventually became her signature role. Photo from the Ballet Manila Archives