On ballet and productivity

Spoiler: this post is nerdy. Very nerdy. You’ve been warned.

We all had that one subject at school that we disliked, usually because we were not very good at it. So, we closed our minds to it and deemed ourselves incapable of learning it – “I’ll just find a job were I don’t need it” we thought to ourselves. The funny thing is, as we get older and enter the workforce, those subjects we avoided often come back to haunt us.

At school, I had an unshakable dislike of anything that involved maths – I just couldn’t get my head around how it applied to everyday life. My dislike for maths later spread to other subjects including economics and now, over a decade later, it has come back to haunt me. It turns out I chose a job where knowledge of economics (and business studies) is pretty important (oops), so now I’m taking evening courses.

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Contrary to what I expected, I’m actually enjoying it – especially the business studies module I am taking. There are so many interesting concepts and theories that I’ve come across that are actually applicable to everyday situations. One concept that I love at the moment is that of “productivity”. Simply put, being “productive” means getting the highest amount of output from the lowest amount of input. Every business must strive to be productive, if not they are bound to fail.

Would you believe me if I told you that this applies to ballet, too? Give me a chance to explain.

During last Wednesday’s ballet class, I reached a whole new level of frustration. I was frustrated with myself mainly and the fact that my body was simply not doing what my mind was demanding. To make matters worse my teacher kept remarking “You are trying too hard”. “Is there even such a thing as too hard?” I thought.

But she continued, saying “You need to dance smart and not hard”.

At home (as a consolation for the terrible class) I watched videos of the Prix de Lausanne winners on Youtube. I had read a few pages from my business studies course book before so I guess my mind was already in limbo between business studies and ballet when suddenly, something clicked.

The dancers in the Youtube videos were not trying to push and pull their bodies to execute the complicated ballet steps. They were using technique and not pure brawn and power.

Speaking for myself, I know that I often waste a lot of effort on being frustrated, not concentrating and using power and not skill (e.g.: using too much power in a pirouette and falling over from the force instead of concentrating on using skill and good technique). To use the words of my ballet teacher, I don’t dance “smart”. To use the words from my business studies book, I don’t dance “productively”. Both mean the same thing.

So there you have it, dear readers, a connection between (micro) economics and ballet. Who’d have thought? There is something so ironic about my applying a concept from a subject I once hated to a hobby I now love. Life is funny, isn’t it?

2 thoughts on “On ballet and productivity

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