A Lesson in Ballet

“A Lesson in Ballet,” New Era, Aug. 1990, 31

A Lesson in Ballet

Today in class, we attempted pirouettes.

I thought I was working very hard—

Finding my center, using the correct muscles.

But the teacher stopped me

And wisely counseled,

“There is no grace, no confidence in your dance.

You will make no progress until you are willing

To take a risk; learn to fall!

It’s the only way your body feels

What it’s doing wrong; then it makes corrections.”

I faintly smiled and nodded my head.

Her words were hard, but she was right.

I stepped out of the studio,

Made warm and comfortable with work and time,

Into the colder, harsher life I live.

Sometimes I think I’m working hard enough—

Finding my purpose, using all the right skills.

How soon I forget the lesson:

I know I must master the pirouette,

But, right now, I’m so afraid to fall.

Art by Kristen Galloway