May 17, 2023

The Striving for Perfection – More than what it seems

About the Author: Suzanne Wagner
By Published On: May 17, 2023Categories: Ballet, Blog Daily

The Striving for Perfection – More than what it seems


What is ballet but to strive for a type of human perfection.
Each art in life, focuses the mind, heart, and soul towards a particular perspective and nuanced awareness.

All forms of dance are expressions of energy, sound, breath, and movement. All forms of dance strive to translate that energy through the physical plane and to become a manifestation of a personal frequency within that we carry.

I love watching other dancers because they cannot help but attend to the expressions that desire to move through their emotional body and spirit and somehow become expressed in this reality.
I love the free flow of movement that has matured through my body in this life, and I am so grateful to realize that dance is ageless and limitless in its expressions.

But when I was a ballet dancer, the strict regimen of styles and the particular look that personifies a ballet dancer is about trying to mold the body into this idealized form that is a ballerina.
To me, in life, there are things that teach us discipline and require us to be molded and shaped into forms that are not necessarily ideal for our particular body type.

When I was in New York dancing at SAB, they had a doctor that was doing studies on the straightness of our bones, our degree of turnout from our hips, knees, and ankles, and our flexibility of all our joints and our spine.
The Russians knew this decades before the West got serious about what types of bodies did the best, could go the distance, deal with the extreme requirements of ballet, and not break down.
While that is clearly something important that the body be able to handle the strains that ballet will impose upon it. I have watched so many amazing dancers not have the “perfect” ballet body and still achieve great acclaim.
In the Berlin Ballet, Heidrun Schwartz was not the most flexible dancer but her presence on stage was electrifying. She had a type of passion and sultry quality of movement that made you not be able to stop watching her.
Nureyev did not have the perfect ballet body either and yet his mind was so strong that he demanded that it conform to what he wanted and needed. He was able to do that for a long time but eventually pushing the body that way will break things down.
But I find that it is the mind that determines many things in dance.
I have watched those with the most perfect facility (body) and yet their mind did not have the determination to keep going in a ballet career.
I have seen those with challenges with their body, but their mind was so strong that they would find ways to mold and adjust to what their body could and could not do. They would somehow come to a balance and an inner compromise that would allow them the opportunity of a career.
I have found that those that captivated me the most were not the technically brilliant dancers but those that knew how to allow an audience to feel them, to see into their soul, and to take us along on the emotional and transformative journey of their character.
Certain dancers, grab your attention and you can’t keep your eyes off them. They have some magnetism that draws you in and captures your soul.
That is a quality that is difficult to teach. It is something that some have naturally, while others can learn and be taught with the right coaches. It comes from places of confidence combined with deep understanding of what we are doing and why.
Ballet is much like acting because the more you understand a character, the more that character finds a place to cultivate a type of home inside, and that character becomes a powerful archetype that then as it matures, it becomes a part of our very being.
All the characters I have danced, are a part of me.

All of them are available when called or needed at a moment’s notice.

All of them know that they are loved, honored, and appreciated within my being.

And because of that they help me to maintain a sense of calm within because embracing them has allowed me to not be at war within my own being.

I am a hag and an angel. I am a whore and a queen. I am a young girl in love, and I am an old woman alone and afraid.

Just as acting shows us parts of ourselves that we did not know existed. Ballet and dance give us those same opportunities to heal ourselves as we embrace new characters and archetypes.
Too often, humanity attaches to what they lived through as a child and continue to try to digest that and understand who they are from those very limited expressions. But when one allows in the tools of acting, and dancing, we are constantly challenged to be those things that we are not. We are asked to be ideals and demons. We are given permission to fully embrace more of who we are.
That is how we grow and become something so much more than our own limited experiences from childhood. Never stop growing. Never stop reaching beyond your comfort zones. Never believe that your childhood was the deciding factor to who you came to be in this life.

Childhood for me was something that I needed to push against. It was lovely but on so many levels it was not enough.

That knowing that it was not fully satisfying for some deeper longing in my soul gave me a type of willpower, and determination to strive toward unseen goals and to reach into the clouds to see if there was a gold ring.
It does not matter how many times you fall.
What I remember most …were all the moments that I suddenly did fly!

And sometimes those flights were the feelings of soaring on a stage through my body. Often, I was flying with a feeling and reaching for some illusive hope that was just beyond my current level of awareness.
And sometimes, I flew because of those that tried to desperately hold me down, told me that I would fail, or insinuated that I was not good enough or worthy enough to have my dream.

I learned to allow my soul to rage against the limitations that others projected onto me and to never let the definitions of another define me. Anger in this way is a powerful tool for growth, finding confidence, and stretching beyond the telepathic agreements that have defined the existence of others.
Never let another person define who you are or what you could become. Never give that type of power to anyone!
You are the master of this human body. You get to shape it and allow it to show you and others the infinite possibilities that do exist … but that some will deny and want to collapse others because of their own failure. But you will be drawn to those that also deeply yearn for that thing that you are striving for. They will recognize it in you and that is when dreams align and combine. That is how great art becomes the elixir of life and shows us the doorway out of this human condition and suffering is by fully embracing all that it is to be human. The good and the bad, the bold and the beautiful, the love and the fear because without knowing how to accept all that we are now and all that we have been in past lives we will not have enough energy and fuel to transcend and transform the density inside of us back into the light that we are.

~Suzanne Wagner~


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