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DCDC is looking for a male dancer. Conta

DCDC is looking for a male dancer. Contact with resume, photo, and video link.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Anna Tikhomirova, Bolshoi Ballet
Anna Tikhomirova, Bolshoi Ballet

What gives the ballerina above that expression? That confidence? That impact and connection with the audience. It’s power: positive thinking. This is not to be confused with rationalization, which as we know, leads to incorrect or misguided beliefs.

In my opinion, positive thinking supports success. When rationalization is used to support the means to an end, that are not fair, it can result in later consequences, and mistakes, which are not factored in, can lead to ultimate failure, or the need to correct one’s actions, which takes time, and can eventually derail a project or pursuit, just by the time it takes to correct those mistakes, going back and forth, fixing one’s mistakes. Rushing in, and impulsive, or hurried behavior, can also result in this misstep or an accident, as we know. It is better to learn carefully, taking the time, and following the conventions, to achieve perfection.

Likewise, not seizing an opportunity, or examining them, when available (winging it), which could result, in success, might result in many missed opportunities, also reducing one’s chances. So where is the balance of these processes? If success results, even once, by the use of these shortcuts, some people, most people, will use the same formula and shortcuts, in word or in deed, to get to their objectives more quickly, because it worked once before; but then there are those pitfalls which are likely to lay to waste the best laid plans. These people rationalize their behavior and actions. It is a case of simple classic conditioning. Why work harder, play fair, or be nice, when your time must be spent on yourself, and helping others to feel better or to do well, could not possible help YOU. Wrong. The most common example I see of this is studios (across the country), and it is allowed to go on, are when a group of students are preparing for a performance, and one (even one) person is asked to help another learn a piece of choreography, or to fix something they are doing wrong (for the good of the group) and this small person does not really help or avoids helping, or assisting the other dancer. They believe that by helping that other dancer, whom they are jealous of and do not like, will not make them appear better, faster,or smarter, but will also make the other dancer succeed, or know the choreography, and that they will be better than them. So this goes unchecked in most cases, and the dancer must learn on their own, or go to someone else for assistance. This is basically wrong, as we know, and the group will look worse, additional time will have to be taken to teach this dancer, or worse, in an odd turn of events, this dancer, who was not shown the choreography, may be blamed. They usually get up to speed anyway,, so the mean-spirited actions of one person can result in loss of time, and is down to unsportsmanlike behavior. But, this happens all the time, so what once seemed like a very professional school, now seems like an unwelcoming and overly competitive place, where no good will exists. I said it was typical. And yet, the dancer who was asked to do this, made some decisions, and rationalized her actions as “necessary” to achieve her ends. She was NOT going to help the competition! This measure has rarely served to eliminate the competition by itself, but continued bad actions and poor behavior and choices by others creates an environment not conducive to art or to the teaching or learning, or performing, of ballet! It is karma, and what goes around, comes back around, and so the vicious cycle continues unchecked.

If you need examples of the Pavlov theory you can find them here  This is also called “classic conditioning.” In classic conditioning, there is a stimulus, and its effect depends on the reward anticipated. In Pavlov’s case, the stimulus was a bell and the conditioned response was that because the bell signified food, the dog came. Had it signified some other consequence, like a smack, the dog might not have come. But it has been expanded on greatly, and with different effects, even pain, animals (and we are animals) will go through some pretty trying stimuli to get to the effect or reward. Pavlov was a dog and as in the movie Chocolat, may not have had a conscience or any moral responsibility, but as humans, we may (or may not) feel responsible for our actions. I see these little decisions being made all the the time among my daughter’s ballet friends, parents,  even teachers, competition organizers, etc., and I think this is the basis of a larger problem which prevents everyone from feeling good about the work they are doing, and instead of taking joy and pride in ballet, it becomes a struggle, competition, and negative feelings prevail all around. It is important to keep a positive attitude, and that does not mean just about yourself. We are all cogs in the wheel, so to speak, and it is a chain reaction, time must be taken to CORRECT. We are all creatures of need and desires, so getting around that. What is important here, is that we want a certain effect and response-how to get it without having to do wrong, cheat and lie, about anything? First? Fastest? Best? Quickest. Like a competition, we all race for the prize-but it is not highest leg, merely for highest leg’s sake. If the dance movement has no other end than itself, it may on the other hand, serve to translate a feeling.  The other motivation is desire and want, will, let’s call it. Determination to get something we want, or perceive-our perception means the value that desire/want has to us, really, does not matter to us how much it means to others, or how important or valuable it is, to other people, we still want it or desire it. Maybe it is also nature. People are naturally competitive, or at least they used to say this. Competition is a good thing, sometimes, but competition should not result or reward cheating, meanness, or hatefulness! There are incredibly successful people, who worked very hard to get ahead, little by little, and whom are also very nice-very happy, and still very resilient. It is a misconception to think that bad personalities, jealousy and cruelty, get you ahead! Improvement comes with age and experience. It takes time, education, patience, and hard work. But in ballet, there will always be competition, and yet everything must be accomplished as a group.

What it comes down to in perhaps vulgar terms (but the 17th century writers of history would disagree with) is fighting for what you want and succeeding. The Queensbury Rules used to apply in a fight. Honor. Integrity. It was just a brawl. Sometimes you have to get in the ring, so to speak, and you want to come out the victor. But the opponent is often yourself, and if you cannot conquer your own fears, insecurities and actions, it will not bode well for any other fair fight. How does one teach that? So, you must use the tools at hand; your brain, your skills, your weapons, but to fight, all kinds of things, with words and actions, not fisticuffs or mudslinging. Pugilism, fighting.  According to male writers, in the field of politics, sometimes a victor, debate, or campaign winner fights to get the title, championship, or position, that he wants, or needs in order to fill the needs of his constituency. He just has to, in order to win. I mean that is why he was elected, or is filling a needed position or role, right? He may be perceived to have power, but according to our American government (and many others), that power is theoretical, largely, and as we have seen in recent administrations, it can be abused, easily, or shut down, readily, in order to prevent a gross misuse of it or other calamity, economically or socially, for the greater good. It means there is a power needed to do good, but it has to be used wisely. One dancer might come from affluent social status, and that dancer may receive a lot of benefits or attention because of that status, for the time-being, but later, that dancer will know that their success was not based on their superiority, but on money. They will know that they were not really as good as someone else without it. This is not a happily or fairly obtained reward, and most people realize later that everyone else knows this, too. Some contestants of competitions lie about their ages, in order to win a title in a younger section, and the teachers who misguided them into this kind of cheating, are as bad as they come, but the student also has a responsibility to stand up and say, “I will not do this.” These kinds of actions result in a ballet world that is branded by others as corrupt and it is not good for publicity or audiences. Some unhappy jilted students and competitors will carry this experience for a lifetime. “A happy customer tells one friend, and unhappy customer tells everybody.” With social media, these negative experiences can be transmitted to possibly thousands of people instantly. Over time, this can result in a loss of confidence in the system. What is the point of paying fees, or competing, when the results are fixed, or the same people, or schools, win all the time? Many people would not consider going to a school at all, where the administrator was seen to be a liar, or induced the students to lie, but unfortunately, these things happen because they rationalize their actions, even just once, and it is enough to mar the good reputation of ballet. 

As Vaganova, always said, what, how much, and when, is very important, because you are not necessarily going to teach dancers to box, you are going to teach them to dance. Objectives are very important in a fight-what are you fighting for? You are going to teach them to dance, so you have to teach them to also uphold a certain number of values, or rules. Etiquette. Humility. Honor. If the objective is not art and the perpetuation of it, then the war becomes personal and selfish, about someone being the best, greed, exhibitionism, and personal gain, and no success for ballet or dancers can come of that ultimately, if they are seen that way. Those objectives result in a misconception, and are the means to the wrong kind of power. This has occurred in Olympic sports, and random acts of cruelty, assault, or violence even, end in a skater’s permanent injury and the disqualification of the aggressor. Who won? I do not think skating has been as popular since. Truth. Many people think I do not want my son/daughter to be in that environment-it’s not worth it! Kindness is not a requirement for going into the arts or theatre arts, and is rarely found there among students, but! I do remember the administration being very intolerant of bad behavior, and unsportsmanlike actions or attitudes. It was simply not allowed. It might have taken a little while for people to warm up to you, but finally everyone just danced, and learned and worked together, and before you knew it, the surface was calm. I have even heard of students visiting other locations, such as Summer Intensives, and harassing other students in class and on campus, being mean to them, and this resulted in the student having to leave. Why the administration did not have the aggressors leave I do not know, but that student must not have known how to deal with this problem. She might have been a threat, in some way, to those other students, but if they behaved better, than even this would not have happened, or allowed to.

It is as if someone else’s personal gain, or pursuit for power would be interrupted or stalled, by stopping for one moment to analyze their actions (or others) and do the right thing. It becomes a race, and many people get hurt along the way, souring the experience of ballet, even as a viewer, creating bad feelings, resentments, and even hatred. How is this good for ballet? From the standpoint of one person, they may rationalize that this behavior is okay for them, individually, but what they do not factor in, is it is the cumulative effect of large numbers of people doing the same thing, and the result of that is disastrous, and effects, spider-legs out, and includes a very, very large group of (offended) people. It is very political. This may serve in some way as a built-in system of checks and balances, but in the long run, runs the risk of offending those who leave, and carrying those stories of discontent far and wide. Any dancer who assumes kindness in that situation is not feigned, but REAL, even to break the ice, or throw off your opponent, is naive. It is every man/woman for himself/herself. Dog eat dog. Labotomies in effect make people stupid, happy with the status quo, tractable, and gullible.  You might as well say ‘vulnerable.’ Niceness does not always pay, and it is something to use, and is used, as a tool for a higher objective by some people, but that objective may not always be bad, just like pugilism, or the ability to fight, is not always bad. But some people just prefer to get out. Good people should not have to get out of ballet, any more than people with bad habits should be allowed to run the world or ballet. So, how can you win and still put up a fair fight?

“I think there are a lot of parallels between boxing and politics and a lot of other things in life, as far as that goes,” says Birkett (Mike Conklin, Pugilism and politics, not so strange bedfellows. Chicago Tribune, Oct. 7, 2002). “Ultimately, you have to team with the people around you for support, but then when you step into the ring you’re on your own. “The guys who do well are those who prepared because it’s the preparation that sustains you,” he added. “I tell my attorneys you can be slick and fast on your feet and have good court room skills, but 80 per cent of what you do must come from outside the courtroom.” Work on your skills. Your dancing skills, but also your survival skills. Natalia Osipova in a Dance Magazine interview says about dancing the role of Gamzatti,  “When I was young, and danced it a couple of times at the Bolshoi, I didn’t like the role at all. I didn’t believe I could be that hard a person—such a bitch. I’m a positive person—I love people. Now I’m older. I’ve lived through things. It got interesting to become a bad person.” Some people do not see the role this way at all, but again, they often do not understand the roles they dance, either. They often only care about dancing the role, and not what it entails, whether it has moral or ethical significance, or why this role might require maturity to understand. Many of the problems can exist because no education in history or ballet is given in any of the schools here, it seems. There seems to be no connection to society, dance as communication, or expression and values, just as parading around in costumes, and who is going to be chosen for the main roles, whatever they entail, and who gets the best costumes.

These kinds of problems are not unique. Competition to win over a caucus, a majority, or for larger scope of power has been going on since ancient times, so it has also been discussed by historians in relation to success in ruling or government. But, one has a responsibility to produce GOOD LEADERS and the votes and opinions do not follow the student only to the company, but are handed down in the annals of history, just as they with politicians and statesmen. A bad reputation, such as the Kubla Khan’s, or his grandfather’s, can last forever. In ‘Historical Portraits 1700-1850 The Lives,’ Emery Walker (editor) shows relative to your worth in parliament, power, bearing, and pugilism were necessary to the success of a person, and to summarize, John Charles Spencer, [Earl, Duke of Althorp], Princess Diana’s great-great grandfather or so, entry #217, was described to his peers and followers of that history of renowned political power and due to victories of the establishment in government [sic] “that they would be useless without Althorp. Even then the universal wish of his own side induced Althorp to return to office and support Melbourne until the autumn, when the death of Lord Spencer removed him to the House of Lords. With a huge sigh of relief the new Earl abandoned politics for good, and devoted himself to scientific agricul- ture [agriculture] and stock-breeding [animal husbandry]. Therein he found the nearest approach to happiness that he had known since the loss of his wife. He was the founder, and became the first President, of the Royal Agricultural Society, the founder also of the Agricultural College at Cirencester [Chirchester]. He was an ardent patron of the prize-ring [boxing, pugilism], believing pugilism [boxing] to be a necessary accomplishment for an Englishman.” And of his character: ‘ No man/ says Greville, ‘ ever died with a fairer character or more generally regretted ; . . . the very model and type of an English gentleman ; … [he marched through the mazes of politics with that straightforward bravery which was the result of sincerity, singleness of purpose, the absence of all selfishness, and a true, genuine, but unpretending patriotism ; … he possessed the faculty of disarming his political antagonists of all bitterness and animosity towards him]. Neither Pitt the father nor Pitt the son, in the plenitude of their magnificent dictatorships, nor Canning in the days of his most brilliant displays of oratory and wit, nor Castlereagh, returning in all the glory of an ovation from the overthrow of Napoleon, could govern with the same sway the most unruly and fastidious assembly which the world ever saw.’ So, it is important to know how to fight and when.

To add further to the article by Conklin (Chicago Tribune) , above, states:

“Three U.S. presidents — Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter — boxed in their formative years. A fourth, Gerald Ford, coached the sport at Yale working his way through law school there. Not that long ago, a chivalrous Bill Clinton said he was more than willing to go a few rounds with a columnist especially unfriendly about Hillary.”

“Eisenhower and Carter got their boxing experience as cadets in U.S. military academies, where the sport has been mandatory — first for men, now women too — since the early 1900s.”

“We consider it a controlled-stress environment where you have to think and act under fire,” said James McNally, a physical education professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in charge of the school’s boxing program. “It’s especially good for someone who’s maybe never been involved in anything that physical.”

In short, fighting was necessary, and was considered basic training for athletes, politicians, gentlemen, and aristocrats, even Presidents. But we are not to forget the distinguishing factors of a ‘good’ fighter in BOLD (above); not just any type of person, character, or fighting! Fair fighting. Fighting to win, does not have to be unsportsmanlike. Competition should make us better and our company of dancers the best they can be, but some actions and general negativity, can ruin everything for everyone. It is the same in sales-people can actually hear you smile on the phone, and likely, whether it is genuine. It is said, you have to love everybody to sell one person. Ballet dancers become leaders and statesmen, too. Sometimes they have a great influence on a large number of young people, and older people, [sic] Misty Copeland, right now. How they derived that power is a fair question. Did they cheat or lie, were they “given” it to atone for some previous oversight, did they earn it fair and square, did they pay more than the next person for it? People will argue today that all of these possible tools are used by the other side but that is rationalization and WRONG! They do, and in the race for success, happy with their new found success, they believe they are omnipotent, but should they, do they have a right to be there in the first place, if all of  these ‘tools’ were used to reach their ends! DO THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS? Well, in terms of today’s society, you cannot often state your disagreement with something for you will possibly be called a hater, racist, or worse. In other words, you cannot say what you see or point to a wrong (perceived or real), you cannot discuss it, because you will be shunned by the people who support them, their cause, or just because they are popular, and everybody wants to be liked. In historical terms, this is called “jumping on the bandwagon.” It is a thing; it has always been a thing, but good statesmen, and that is what ballet dancers should be, do not say, look at what I got by doing this- you can get if you do this, too. Whether they need to possess qualities of leadership is debatable for some, or any education at all, for others, but undue kindness would not necessarily result in the desired effect of being disliked-in a team, or in a class, or in a company, but it would help to make you feel better by transferring, psychologically, all of that resentment and worry, into a labotamy-like state where you just didn’t care or were resolved that you could not win all the time. Sometimes this is fine, you need to weigh the good that can be achieved, by the bad of not achieving that any other way, as Martin Luther King, and others, throughout history, actually, have described. But it is all politics, and whether is appears to be good or not, I do not subscribe to the thinking that rationalization of bad actions which performed knowingly unfair, result in the desired results, no matter their benefit to ALL. Certainly a choreographer may have the most perceived power in a company, but a show cannot go on without dancers. If treating other people badly to get ahead, or taking shortcuts to the road of success is needed, then fair means should be applied where necessary, but in most situations, the appearance of civility and grace, and decorum, are the modis operandi of dancers, and this should be taught, or insisted upon, as well as good technique, artistry, and grace. Everyone might have a bad day, but to attack people every day, might signal a disorder, or derangement, or just simply bad qualities like greed, over competitiveness, and a host of other unlikable personality traits, even insanity. So, we do not go around hitting our opponents, beating them into submission, bullying, or otherwise stepping on toes every chance we get. Sometimes, on the other hand, you have to fight to propagate your own dogma, beliefs, and lead by example. Lead. Sometimes these bites in the ballet world can and do lead to  conflict which results in people leaving, but before your leave, you employ every possible device in order to get along, to succeed, and to stay; if it is worth it, and sometimes you have to because this is your school, your class, your teacher, your company, your contract, or other things weigh in which do not allow you to exert power of influence, and you have no choice. I am not the sycophantic type, but, in hostile or unfriendly situations, ideally,  in order to survive, one must bow to a certain chain of command or order of the establishment, if one cannot fight it, or leave. In some situations, you cannot bow. These power struggles are no less significant to ballet dancers and those in companies, than they are to politicians or countries, or the world. It is all the same type of game played in any area where one faction desires to win over another faction. It is not as heinous as it sounds, but it is everywhere and must be dealt with. Can one deal with it through kindness? And where is the dividing line where kindness is seen as weakness? What are the rules of engagement? How does one stick to one’s own set of inviolable ethics, and still get ahead? How does one win fairly?

It is often a good idea to turn to someone near you, in a new situation, and be friendly, and hospitable to be kind, but bending over backwards to help someone, or do something you feel will really help someone might be misconstrued as weakness, naivete, and stupidity. That is not going to get you anywhere, either, but for now let’s just learn to let people think what they are going to think. Sometimes people can be very sweet and nice, the white swan,  in ballet, but sometimes they have to become the black swan.  Of course this doesn’t mean anything except in the highest circles, and anything below this is petty politics, but one has to know the difference. How important may you be or feel in the scope of things, and is it wrong to feel, or to want to feel important, or at least necessary? How may you gauge and balance your own importance, when the group, or the production, or the hierarchy is a political chain where the links change all the time, and there is every impetus for cheating, lying, meanness, and other methods in order to reduce the number and type of competitors for the top categories in anything? well. in the theater, most theaters, this is through a board of directors, and an organization, where unfair tactics are rarely unobserved or noticed, or tolerated. But what about is lower-level theater or ballet, or competitions, where much ground can be gained by undue methods and a whole generation may be being taught to play unfairly. How and where does this get the average person trying to do their best, make improvement, or become skilled in the areas they will need to succeed. There is no class on pugilism at any studio, but in theater, they still teach fencing and fighting, whereas in ballet, this important exposure to etiquette and ethics, rules of engagement is omitted because it is too costly. I think this a very important element to teach younger dancers, especially those, thrown into battle, who have to develop survival skills on their own, guided by some of the same people who win by any means. This does not go unnoticed by these children, it is even talked about, discussed, and if their elders are doing it unchecked, so may they. Some students know this is wrong, just as other people do, but those as competitive, pushed, so to speak, to get the edge, win, triumph, may be being told it is okay in just this one instance, and applauded for doing wrong; that the ends justified the means.

In my mother’s day, people were more genteel, less direct, and still very effective, but it required major verbal and thinking ability to get your point across, set yourself apart, appear intelligent, even witty, while making your promise (not threat), and the process was more formal. Today, students are impacted by technology, texting, Facebook, and these skills are not always honed.  No one feels that by being polite or indirect, they will be understood, and most people place an importance on their view or opinion, they are not humble, do not conceive that they could be wrong, there is no encouragement to examine the facts, or think about the consequences of some of their actions, compared to just getting what they want, personally. Everyone acts like their own lawyer, or God,  and says “do this,” do that,” meting out advice, and demonstrating though aggressive means, their point, and frequently they just say something, without any tact, publicly, vulgarly, and one might have to fight back, when attacked in this manner. No doubt, some deference might suffice as well instead, but they do not take the time to be polite, or explain. They can be rude. Kindness, in these particular circles, would be scoffed at, yet somehow, one must right one’s wrongs, tuck tail, save face, and eat their mistake, apologize, in the face of that treatment, and this runs more along the lines of fighting, even when one is innocent of any wrongdoing, etc., in other words it may just be being said or done to get you OUT, because they are threatened, without any concern for your feelings or work, hoping you will cry and leave. Or die. ‘They’ couldn’t really care which. But we used to act with so much more tact, follow rules of engagement, and etiquette. The result might have been the same, but care was taken to not appear to be rude, unfeeling, or cruel. Today, you might be told, “Well, that’s the way it is, get used to it.” But how you guide children and what you teach them has everything to do with how they will get on, what they will do, and how they are viewed by others. Tact is worth developing and so is patience, even if you do not know what it is or why. Honesty is also important, but yours, or other’s opinions, are not always the last, or the best, ones. Why teach children, or try to teach children, that they are? Not teaching them how to behave, but teaching them to rely on their own values, follow their own instincts and to be responsible for their actions is a way, underscoring this by demonstrable good actions. Children follow, remember? To discourage someone, take advantage of their tact or niceness, is your mistake and in the end, there will be consequences. How can a person, who is on the receiving end of this behavior, or treatment, act? How should they? What is the best policy? And how can you teach ballet and give children an unimpeachable set of ethics which does the whole world, and the world of ballet, good, ultimately? The power to be nice is a power, that is for sure. 1 (one) power. Used with care, it can be a worthwhile tool, but unless it is sincere, no one is going to believe it-they just can’t deny it. Consistent good behavior and honest behavior, is better. You cannot teach a child to share toys, they must learn to share toys by guiding them so that the conclusion that they reach on their own is that they do not lose anything by sharing their toys. This resulting confidence in their own actions and the results allows them the choice to make the right decision and all the good reasons for it, the natural choice. I have a lot of friends, but they are not my friends, and they do not care about me, but they pretend to be nice to me, mostly when their objective is to get something from me. This conditioned (and obvious) behavior of people is sometimes mistaken for malice, sometimes, and has been by me (even) in my case, and sometimes, there is absolutely no malice, just forgetfulness, business, or my own feelings of inferiority-but if I did not learn from my mistake, or was not allowed to think highly, or did not think highly of myself, I would not ever realize that my actions could be improved for more desirable reactions. I had no guidance. Therefore, it is possible to lose ground because no one is going to help me in some situations, where I could succeed, with a little bit of help, but even ‘friends’ deny it. This happens in the ballet studio all day, everywhere, and these values are spreading, so that instead of working as a team to get things done, it runs amok and isn’t ever what it could be. Until you rout out the problems, it won’t be, and toeing the line, insisting on fairness and honesty can go a long way to resolving, or at least eliminating some of the possible false objectives of people and getting them, forcing them, to get on the right track. But condoning the behavior or exemplifying it, is not a way to correct problems, it is a sure way to increase them, now and in the future, for dancers and for ballet. I sometimes to project onto other people what I feel. This is why the power of positive thinking is necessary. It is not to make someone else feel better, it is to make oneself feel and do better, and to stop worrying and to start thinking. There is no such thing as bad publicity. A true statement, and it allows others to consider whether these accusations are true, if one’s actions are continued, or accidents, if the relative good that a person does, or the lack of bad is worth the citation. Often, it is a mistake, or an error in judgment, or just down to plain stupidity, but it also may be because some people do not want to help competitors avoid mistakes. Why bother? Sink them. Dog eat dog. This is not kindness, and it doe snot help ballet, or anything else. It takes less effort to be kind, does not result in harming oneself’s health or mental well-being by performing negative actions, and it does not help the industry overall. One thing these types of people fear is negative publicity. Any. They do not want the microscope turned on their behavior or ANY of their actions questioned, so parents, and especially children fear reprisal for offending them, telling them they want something done differently, or they do not feel an environment or action is fair. This is the primary reason why people should speak up, discuss things fairly and honestly, and there should be a convocation, a big gathering, to discuss these and other actions, and rules developed, before the problems are too broad and unwieldy to resolve; before there is too much water under the bridge. This sort of actionable behavior should not be allowed.

Ballet teachers are fond of saying, “dance smarter.” This has come to be a sort of meaningless phrase as it should be only used to conserved one’s instrument, energy, and movement to an efficacious end. But people, unsure of its meaning or taking it to be some cute phrase attach all kinds of other things to it, and thereby confuse its actual meaning. Be smarter! Don’t just dance smarter, ought to be the thing they teach next. But, nevermind, because life teaches us anyway, and usually, the hard way. The important thing is that you play by a set of classically established rules and etiquette. It isn’t about kindness, It’s about good manners, even when losing, good sportsmanship, and fair competition. If you like someone, or they are friendly to you, it is because they are well-mannered and well-brought up, polite and considerate. Kindness is what you give to a stranger, small children and animals-dancers should be decent people, have good ethics and show consideration for their fellow colleague or dancer. It shouldn’t be that difficult to conceive, especially for children. Keeping it simple is always best. Right and wrong, yes and NO, good and bad, positive and negative, black and white. 

Psychologically, to break the ice and to fit in where there are feelings of ill-ease, saying something kind to someone might just do the trick, temporarily, being yourself and nice, if that is your demeanor, is a human value, but I do think the dancer with this trait, or people with these traits are the majority in competitive dance studios. Nice people do not tolerate meanness, unkindness, and the reason this is having to be said at all, is because these values are no longer cultivated in our schools, ballet or other, and parents treat their own children, or other’s abominably, caring about their own only, and using leverage against their own children even, pushing them, and teaching them to think too highly of themselves, and no (at all), sincere respect, for others. You can see it in their face, their actions, and in their behavior to other students, even teachers! Parents may be dignified in public, but their children show their true manners taught them at home too often in class, in competitions, and on T.V. ! What is an important aspect of kindness, besides Christian or moral values, are a sense of right and wrong? It is right to do nice or good things, and wrong to do mean or bad things. That is very simple. There should be no reason to fluff the kitty, kitties fluff themselves. Additionally, some people think those who think too positively, or are always “so happy” are just ‘not aware that other people really do not like them or want them there, dislike them, or want them “gone.’ I have seen this alot, and I have seen the results of it, not just with my own child, but in many other’s. Most significantly in schools where they look the other way at this behavior instead of nipping it in the bud, causing it, or increasing it by inaction, and worse, demonstrating it themselves. It becoming universal, schools tolerate it, even use it to their advantage-which they should not, but they should also not teach it or demonstrate it, and parents really control what their children do and are exposed to, so in many regards it is their hands-the money-to use where they see fit. If parents condone that bad behavior themselves, there is possibly no hope for a child ruled by it, and in a world of decent people, ultimately, that child will fail, or be cast-off to groups where that behavior, and those actions, prevail. I do not think I would want to have my child perceived that way and take pains against it. I am not always right, and some parents lead their children to believe, or tell them, that they “are always right.” I do the reverse. I tell my children I am often wrong, and when I am wrong, I call attention to my mistakes, explain them, and demonstrate how I can try to rectify them, and NOT make them again. Character flaws, which I also possess, I work on, and some things, I am blind to, no one is perfect, but we have to try. If children know you will not tolerate meanness, bullying, or other acts of meanness, and do not do them yourself, then they, too will follow your guidance, and if they do not, sadly tell them why and then send them home for a while to think about it. It is not an option. Like lying, think of another way, do not take the easy way out, find a word, rather than a swear word, once someone begins to do these things, other things do not seem as hard. Little successes begin larger ones, and if good valued can be established then more good may come eventually rather than less good. It is not about religion, really. If a teacher treats their students, or some of them as special, or like little prima dona’s, they will act that way everywhere they go and it will save a lot of other teachers a lot of time not to have to deal with that at all, so more can be taught and learned that is relevant to their craft, instead of good behavior. I have heard of stories of stalking, harassment, and cruelty, even at the best ballet schools, which was tolerated by the teachers, even perpetuated, and sometimes provoked or encouraged by the teachers, themselves. I think it must be about power. This is not a good power, but is an abuse OF POWER and children need to also learn this DISTINCTION. If children are made to think they are special, then they will think they are above everyone else, be exhibitionists, not artists, and these things are discernible in the way the school treats them, too. The school should be emphasizing to everyone that they are not special “yet,” and encouraging everyone equally. It is a school. I think to be a school, at least this ought to be a requirement. Equally, It is easy to call favoritism ‘theatre’ and ‘performing arts’ and get away with it, at the expense of all the other paying or non-paying students, so you have to ask yourself, why you chose that school, those teachers, those associates. No amount of perfection, winning, or presumed superiority, can justify VANITY in a dancer-who wants to EVER watch that? As long as we are on the subject of ballet, artistry and teaching values, remember that it is the paying audience who will ultimately decide. Confidence is another thing entirely. It is gained by good teaching, proper execution and appropriate encouragement. I said appropriate, not indulging one child over another for pay, talent or some prospect of personal success or gain for oneself. Has this EVER been a quality of an administrator of a good or valuable education? A teacher? No, this is not good education, not at all.

How to remain powerful over yourself and your own emotions is all you can do besides leave, and that is how the power of positive thinking comes in, and what you do with it, or what aspects of it, whether Christian or non, you choose to exercise. It is a way of dealing, a way of fighting, not a way of being subservient to other mean people, and should not be construed as, or used as a way to go along with other bad behavior. A powerful person frequently walks away from or ignores negative or bad behavior thereby not being a part of it, but that does not mean they couldn’t have taken the extra step to act or speak against it. Pugilism-that takes guts, standing up for what you supposedly believe in, and not just in taking part of inadvertently, behavior you claim to otherwise not approve of.  It is also not merely, taking part of, or in, what you don’t believe in or think is right, but also stopping or intervening in behaviors that you feel are wrong, inappropriate or mean. It might mean taking a stand against it, firmly, maybe even loudly, such as I am doing now. It’s true, good behavior begets good behavior and I think unchecked bad behavior results in more of it, usually at someone else’s expense. There was a day when a dancer nor her feet would have been as important as someone else’s feelings. That student would have been expelled, but I have been at many schools where this goes on, even though they say it doesn’t! Kid’s are smoking, drinking, partying, acting like consenting adults in other ways, unchaperoned and unguided, just because they are led into thinking that allows this as the only possibility or way to make it. There exist 100 ways to kill a cat besides choking it with butter-not an acceptable, but an old expression more emphatic and unused that “many ways to achieve one’s ends” and means ‘NO HARM TO CATS’, too! It means you DON’T WANT TO KILL THE CAT to achieve your ends. It means championing good causes, other people’s causes: being kind to animals, protecting the environment, supporting gay rights, other differences, teaching tolerance, all of these things one can do, but also not to do harm to another being, any race, any nationality, culture, or human being, and those things, do not excuse any person from not being smart enough to find another way, or in meanness to another, a from being a decent or good human being to other PEOPLE.  People are important, more important than all the CAUSES in the world, and they alone do not make you a better person. People are only relevant to people. Some people love animals and not people, because people have been mean to them and they just do not know how to deal with this, or like the Bible says, turn the other cheek. They never learn and they never forgive-they have no guidance. Children cannot be expected to make adult decisions on their own. The ballet world, as ti is now, says in many ways that it is  pretty eye-opening and rough, but people will say this is a different day and age, and this is how things are. Why? Why does it have to be this way?  Who is going to want to send their children, boys or girls, into the line of fire, no one. Unless they want their children to be harmed. People don’t want to be bothered with one ore thing to do or to be accountable for, or their behavior, or lack of supervision of their own children. Many will not take the time to explain.

For instance, whatever one can say about Misty Copeland, she doesn’t seem to be MEAN. She is not phony either. She has a will to succeed and has done everything she can without hurting anybody else to accomplish this, she thinks, and yet she has a lot of detractors, and I am not one. What I might consider unfair of her is her exclusion of other people (white people, or people of mixed races, unspecifically) to her cause, black or white, and she is a little of both, but she chooses to identify, pretty normally, with one race, not the other. This is who she is, she says, and yet, does she pause to think, that her statements, however, well-intended, might not be for the very people she administers them to, those who are also of mixed races, and in order to identify with her, feel the need to embrace their blackness over their whiteness? Why? What good does this ultimately do? Does it matter? I don’t know, but she does it, and that is the statement she makes, over and over again. Why not, you say? 1) It is not accurate. On honesty. Her perception is her own, but she has a moral and ethical responsibility to everyone, in her position, to encourage and embrace all children, white, black, or other. It does not make her at all popular with those groups, unless they are the band-wagonning, tail-wagging, kind of follower who follows a cause and not the cause of people of any race. Diversity, is the point she is trying to establish, but that will be accomplished without her, and without the fanfare, instead of riling up factions for and against. She must be ashamed of herself and her own people, too, if white are running around killing people in churches, and doing other stupid racist things, and perhaps it is time for those people to go away, and for us all to not tolerate that. It’s wrong, and the sons bear the sins of their fathers, or the saying goes. You might think I do not like her, and you are entitled to think that, but I do not like her platform, I do not like it hurting ANY other people, or excluding groups for ballet-any groups. Yet, I also agree that some action should be taken to increase diversity, not just of races, but of income, in ballet. The arts need to be supported! However, because she appears to be black, and people do not want to talk about this, so I am, she has the effect of making black people identify with her, all over the world,  and this empowers them to try greater things, like ballet. I think the statements she makes, however are unnecessary. She might instead say, “being of mixed-races I am what is possible! Being big-bosom-ed, I am what is possible! And coming from an impoverished background, I am what is possible!, or having faced discrimination, I am what is possible. Because we are all discriminated against in one way, or at one time, or another, for different reasons, and this would be much less racist, and I am not saying she is, but rather that she is not Asian, poor now, old, or many other things she could be for this to apply, as the semantics get more tricky every day. One day, we will probably see her back off from this usage and begin to include others in her vocabulary as other politicians (and as she did when she learned and was somehow forced to admit that Raven Wilkinson, was one of the first successful black female ballet dancers, and the people who taught her and encouraged her, were not hurting ballet but trying to open it up, be more diverse, and she will not give those people, or really, Raven Wilkinson any of her time, so bent on she in her own mission. The fact is, and it is a fact, that fewer people, like the ones who savagely prevented her touring, threatened to kill them, exist. Sometimes, when these racial issues boil up, there may be other motives behind them on both sides, and we feel, or believe a few people who were there. Is this a choice to not stir up trouble, but rather to eliminate it and do when they have reached their basic goal, and the purpose begins to need to include others, such as Spanish, Asian, women, low-income families, and others. However, this could be, to some people, mean, I suppose. It is her perspective, but she also demonstrates other good values and ethics, hard work not being the least of them. She has the ability to be a great leader, and she has a mission, which was probably driven by other people, maybe some who were not nice to her, or she did not feel they were. How much of this is ego and vanity? Pride? And is there any price to pay (in the long run) for leaving behind those who possibly could or would love you, if you did not exclude them. Is that hate? Her hate? Or ours? So, she had to think for herself, and I do not necessarily think this resulted in traditional acts of meanness. I disagree with her stance on commercializing ballet, making it a sport, and I am not alone there either, but many people will be vocal about that, though not these other issues. I do not know her, but everyone seems to like her as a person well enough, and she is certainly intelligent and can speak about topics that other people might consider to be below them, but you have got to give this woman credit! Not only for achieving what she sets out to, but for doing it unconventionally. She didn’t, couldn’t care, what people thought of her-she had to go about getting there herself because no one was going to help her do it conventionally, at all-yet she says they have. She wasn’t, as she might have put it, in line for the throne, and successful and powerful people have done this throughout time with little or no change to the establishment, really. One will have to wait and see what other positive change this results in. I do not think, however, that one should rationalize anything wrong, as the best or only means to achieve the ends. One thousand other possible statements to make existed,but she chose those, and they will and are having an impact. Good or bad, who knows. Certainly good for some people who identify with her, and I guess that is all one can ask, if one is. Opening up the parameters of “who can identify with you” is a key to success, but you have to start somewhere, and her campaign, and that is what it has been, was successful, as I knew it would be, and encouraged her in it, so to speak. I still have my own beliefs, but she is a good example to use to demonstrate how you do not have to be unkind to get your point across, no matter how controversial that point is. In her case, it just happened to be more controversial, and that is not her fault; she did not pick her parents, or her experiences, or her feelings. She tries to be honest, too. For our purposes here, she demonstrates here so many practical points of fighting and good fighting and fair fighting, that she has had to perform, with all the delimiters (like time and money) and she has won the battle, as she points out, but not the “war.” But, were some of her statements all true, does it matter, and because we champion her as a person, might we be more forgiving of her than we would a government politician? Are we? I am convinced her campaign was more successful than Obama’s, and it was faster, but he was prevented from making the very changes he was elected to make, by not only his adversaries, but some of the people who claimed to support him, and voted for him. Was it necessary for her to make these political statements to be promoted to principal dancer, or was she encouraged by the media to do so, in that they would only consider her news sensational and relevant, if she did? Whatever their molds, they have broken out of them now, with success, and moved ahead in the race, and so far it has been successful in spite of what everyone said. Or was his? Will hers be? How can she not tell dancers to do some of the things she did? How can she now embrace all the other people she has offended? Well, there is an answer to that, too. As my mother used to say, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and you are very lucky if you can please some of the people some of the time, and there it is. But was her result requisite one of kindness? Not directly. She would not have been successful it if were.She embraced herself, and that is honest, and straight forward and no matter what anyone else thinks of her, she was not really mean. I think it took grit and will and I knew she could do it, but I hope she does see ballet as art and not sport. That would be a minus for correctness, and correctness counts.

If she were a negative thinker, wasted time on negativity or worrying, she would not be able to accomplish half as much. Granted, she has had less to worry about, more money and support than some, or others, and it was the time and place for these things to happen, but she made them happen. She did! It proves, where there is a will, there is a way. I think this is the first step toward positive thinking. Being positive about your objectives, one goal at a time, or many, simultaneously, but keep them at hand and work on them, positively. If you are positive, and she is, then you can do this, too, in many cases. Some people might see meanness, but there is not any here, and she is not too kind or doing others dishes and laundry to be accepted, and she has a mission. But she is not wasting her time hurting anyone either, and this is important. She has even more pressure now, in a way, to make good with that role and perform! But first, she had to become a principal! She is “self” motivated, but many of the good things that happen for her, hopefully, will result in a chain of good opportunities for others, too. Just remember, diversity, not difference.

Power can come from many differently perceived situations and their personal, if not financial value but that might be to confuse logical thought. Thinking is very different than worrying. First of all, let’s call it what it is, not kindness, as that is a moral turpitude, but pugilism. You have to think to fight. Good fighting comes from the head, not the heart, from skills acquired or obtained, or both, usually as a result of need, but also a result of an education. Pugilism may take the form of any kind of a fight, but one overseen by rules preferably, and not cheating! Sometimes we set our scope on a brass ring that everyone is trying to get, for ourselves, and it is not our brass ring, but someone else’s. It might become an obsession and then we cannot see opportunities to improve ourselves, or see ourselves in our own best light, or to our own advantage. This can also result in many missteps and perhaps pursuing the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing for us, even at the wrong time (!) and we might have to fight for what we want or need. If only one objective is established, and it doesn’t work out, we are defeated, with no back up, no plan, no forethought, and definitely no thinking. We have to strive to reach our own personal objectives and our pursuit of them should be done with them in mind.  

Norman Vincent Peale-is one of the founders of this science of religion faith, chapter and verse, you can control your own destiny by a number of positive actions, not just one. In his life he authored 46 books, and at the top of his best-selling list of books, published in 1952, for over one-half of a century, was  “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It began:

“This book is written to suggest techniques and to give examples which demonstrate that you do not need to be defeated by anything, that you can have peace of mind, improved health, and a never-ceasing flow of energy. In short, that your life can be fully of joy and satisfaction.”


I think a background concerning Peale’s religious/self-belief, is important to discuss, and what Peale essentially taught was that as a child, he suffered with feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. Like most children, he did not look to his parents or the fault of their teachings, his own father a minister (so was Marvin Gaye’s father, and he both beat his children and shot his own son). I think Norman wanted to be successful, and he was, but that want started out in the reformation of his own thinking about himself, and he realized, perhaps deep-down, that he had to change his approach, and his thinking, about himself, and others, to be successful. Many Christians, and those of other faiths, have a problem with the teachings of Norman Vincent Peale, but he took generations of people, who believed in God, but not themselves as their own catalyst, and convinced them, that you could do both-have Christian values and be successful. I do not believe he felt that guilt, self-doubt, or self-admonition (punishment) was a good thing. He did not strive for the same kind of perfection as a dancer, or a sylph, but he would have said, “Believe in thyself.” In fact, that is the title of the first chapter of his book. There have been a lot of positive thinkers since Norman V. Peale, but his works continue to sell due to their simplicity and straightforward messages. There is a lot of religious talk in them, but if read through this, there is a very powerful message, and it is that it is okay to love yourself and be happy with who you are. In fact, through other devices, in order to re-educate indoctrinated Christians (mostly) he used psychology on them and in his lectures and sermons as an approach to them, or to sell themselves to themselves, and he won a lot of followers, by being successful! All of his messages were positive ones, like you see on the Internet everyday, and they were not negative, or rooted in a cause to re-establish church values onto people, or brainwash them, except into doing something positive for themselves, and in-keeping with those so-called values and mores. By some, he is accused of misleading people, and that the only way is God’s way and whatever published bible or version of it that certain people cull their advice from, but there are many versions of the bible, and as for God, well, Norman, believed he was “everywhere” and “in you.” These are not against Christian beliefs, in fact they are supported by Christian beliefs, maybe in different bibles, but the same God, and the same message. What does positive thinking do for you?

Well one of his most famous quotes, and often repeated by unwitting others, is “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Have you never experienced this phenomenon? You are going along, determined to be happy, and someone comes along with bad thoughts and negative energy, and attempts to ruin your sunshiny, happy day. What do you do? Well, the bible says “turn the other cheek,” and as a child, I thought this meant to look away, so I did, and it worked! I didn’t know this, but it did work. Sometimes this gets you slapped when you are not looking, but he doesn’t say, Do not defend yourself,” or “Do not look” and that is where I had it wrong, for many years. He also says to aim higher than you desire, think big, and if you overshoot, well, you will still land in an acceptable zone, only he says “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” “Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry.” “Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” There is that word ‘powers’ again, and Christians, or medieval Europeans might have burnt you for witchery, but it’s true. It does have psychology to it, but his reasoning also has examples as proof, some of them unexplained without his hegemony, such as why do we feel happier and renewed at holidays like Christmas and birthdays, births, graduations, and the like, maybe (putting that thought there) because we expect and anticipate the peaceably enjoyment of something so we prepare ourselves, we are conditioned, to expect to be happy, to experience good things, and to have joy, so we let ourselves-we do! Everyone prepares for their own holidays this way, and he says with a reasonable amount of brain control and emotional well-being, we can spread these good feelings out, and experience this joy and happiness all the time. He says if you can actively try these, and other steps for even one week, you will be amazed at what happens. Sometimes we are addicted to unhappiness, the same way some people are addicted to cigarettes and we condition ourselves to serve Defeat as our master. And he says, besides this, if we do not “believe in ourselves,” that we can do this one task (it’s so easy), that we will not be able to. Further, he says do unto others as you would have them do unto you-yep there it is, and “Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. Make all your friends feel there is something special in them. Look at the sunny side of everything. Think only the best, be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.” That is hard for people, really hard, especially in dance, but you can do it, if you do not let hate live in your heart, and just remember “Hate kills the hater.” I never understood this either. Did it literally kill the hater? But we now have some medical proof of this in cancer studies. People who laugh, love and have no fear, live longer. People who fear, death, poison themselves with unhappy thought, depression, and negativity, even those abused and downtrodden, miserable souls, live shorter lives, turn to escapes, like drugs and alcohol, instead of finding themselves and their own happiness at the bottom of the pit, they believe there is no hope, nothing after death, nothing eternal. They try to make cancer patients happy, and it is also true that there are more instances of cancer among people who are unhappy, abused and depressed. If psychologically, you think another person hates you enough to want you to be dead, disregards your life, and wants to make you miserable enough to die, then how can that person be of value, good for you, and how can you heal them, the rest of the world, and love them? He says, “Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give everyone a smile. Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.” This, we know actually works, and hence the bible says a “busy person has time for everything.”

I like to think, if Norman Vincent Peale has a published sermon that was available to him, at that time it was this one New thoughts, Old Doctrines or one like it. In this John Murray doesn’t try to separate positive thoughts from religion, as Norman Vincent Peale later did, society would not have been ready for that, and in a way, we have to thank religion for laying down some ground rules, which it cannot hurt to follow, and from this established premise, he goes on to say, that God gave us gifts, not just his, but our own, and the reason we have not come to enjoy them is that we are unaware that to do so, is one of our rights. I have actually had arguments about this with Christians who feel it is vanity to embellish or to display these gifts-a fine line between exhibitionism and humility? NO, just simply that to indulge in pleasure, or take joy form something we can do is prideful and sinful. They are clamped in. By their religion? Not really, just confused. NOw just because I am quoting a book, and it is the Bible, doe snot make it religious!

"Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, 
and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom [there]
is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." — James 

Murray says:
"Divine Science has come to emphasise the 
fact that in order to know God aright we 
must study, and meditate upon the essential 
Characteristics of deity. It is very evident 
that we have not known God aright, because 
we have not only not entered into Life eter- 
nal, but we have not enjoyed the peace and 
poise and power and prosperity to which we 
are told the "sons and daughters of God" 
are so richly entitled."

He says we make God(s) in exactly our own image, faults and everything to excuse our faults, explain our actions, and these are idols-but that we have this power, to do good or bad, we make the choice, and the right choice, is one of good qualities, and that we should follow our own dogma and doctrine, but realistically. He points how we rationalize that God’s enemies are our enemies and our personal God will have the power to sweep them out of the way, so we pray to him, devised of our own manifestation, measuring our own puny power against his magnificent one, and we believe that we are inferior. We created him. How can we be inferior to something that we have created? He says that these enemies were only our enemies in belief and certainly not God’s enemies. What some theologists do is to continually try to reduce God to a principle, their principle, in order to keep their flock, and not a scientific one either, how could churches, or others with an agenda, allow the belief that someone else might be superior, and that their enemies are NOT the enemies of their constituents? It is not a common precept of survival, but this dogma is one connected to, and frequently found, in those endeavoring to retain a majority, of whatever it may be: students, clients, parishioners, customers, followers, etc., it is not truthful, nor is it right. When we promote good things, speak about good things, quote good things, do good things, we are creating a personal God of kindness, goodness, and rightness-we are doing what everyone else does, but our God possesses all the good qualities and none of the bad, because he doesn’t need to. We exalt good. We believe good things, and we foster good actions.

He also, provides a definition of the word “principle” because he feels that before we embrace or use a word, we should know and understand the true meaning of it, like “smarter dancer’ or “pugilism,’ it’s good and bad, all its uses. we should be aware, knowledgeable, smart.

Murray says:

"Principle, 'a source or cause from which 
a thing proceeds, a power that acts continu- 
ously or uniformly; a permanent or funda- 
mental cause that naturally or necessarily 
produces certain results on all occasions.' [and,]

'This is the definition of principle as it oc- 
curs in your Standard Dictionary. "A 
source from which things proceed, a cause, 
a changeless reality." Can you give a more 
comprehensive title to God than this? The 
Only Source, the Only Cause, the Only fun- 
damental Reality! The one great all-con- 
trolling omnipresent Principle of Being." 

Further he calls this “The Principal of Being.” He says that there is not only Good or Evil, nut many other choices. He says that actions are not black and white, janus-like, good or evil, they are one.

"If Principle exists 
at all, it must be One, and this Principle can- 
not be dual in its operations. That is, it can 
not be good on one side of its being and evil 
on the other." AND

"It is a necessity of the old theological dog- 
ma, that man is a free moral agent, that God, 
in bestowing upon man the distinguishing 
characteristics of mind, bestowed upon him, 
free moral agency. He gave to him will and 
domination and then left it to man to exer- 
cise these according to his own judgment, 
discretion and wisdom, or lack of it."

Further more, he uses an example from a sermon whereby the urgent request of the prayer is for God to intercede on the part of conflicting nations and resolve their conflict. But, according to James (the apostle) God does not vary, he does not blow with the wind, he is unchanging-he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. People are asking God to do what people, alone, can do for themselves. God cannot prevent a man/women from doing a bad thing if he/she is bent on doing it.

So in his argument, and it is a good one, a logical one, and a sensible one, that is man is exercising the right of use of these gifts he gave us, whenever he is acting in a way that aligns with the divine Principle, living in “love, and health and harmony, and not in pain, sickness, disease and death; and wherever he has worked in opposition to the rules growing out of divine Principle, he has sown the seeds of unhappiness, misery, ill health and death itself. His beatitude is that the responsibility and consequences of man’s actions lie with the man/woman himself, and are in his power to control.

It doesn’t do any good, whether you are religious or not to back-log your sins, and expiate them at the very last (end of your life, death-bed repentance), and of non-Christian religions, there is karma, or the conflux of yin-yang, positive/negative, and for the non-religious actions/consequences, and for the scientific-minded, stimuli/response, or conditioned behavior. There are principles, whichever way you turn, and rather than be in opposition with them, this proposal is to be in concordance with them  Basic principles; life principles, or rules to live by. SOme people call this ethics and morals, but this is not a code, just a categories.

"In music, in mathematics, [or ballet] you don't pray 
to the principle of these, do you? How do 
you acquire musical knowledge, how do you 
acquire mathematical proficiency? 

Is it not by conforming to the principle, 
by understanding its rules and working ac- 
cording to them, that you solve your prob- 
lems in music and in mathematics? It is 
identically the same in metaphysics, — iden- 
tically the same in true religion. For it is 
only as we understand the Principle of Be- 
ing, acquaint ourselves intelligently with its 
rules, that we can do what Paul the Apostle 
said we must do — "work out our own salva- 
tion," not with fear and trembling, but with 
love and courage."

You should not turn away from these truths or these gifts-it is your God-given, or other, RIGHT. SO this power to resolve our own troubles, difficulties and any other thing, does not come from outside, but from within! He goes on to explain, in very capable terms, that there are rules to everything and part of learning anything, even the principle we live by, is to have a set of rules which we can follow. Only by intelligence and reasoning can we work our for ourselves what these are, and like other rules, and God himself, they are not variable, do not change to fit the situation, and from them we should not stray. They are our own rules, why would we? He says they do not possess the qualities that allow them to change them, because they are universal rules, good in every society and good to everyone man, fair. They do not allow for sudden changes do to mood or behavior, they are not “capricious.” He asks you to ask yourself, how many times your prayers were answered when you asked your personal God to aid you (in a situation where you played an irretrievable role in the consequences, give you (what you could give yourself), or to protect you from something from happening (which was certain to happen) anyway. How many times have you blamed God from what could not be helped, or was not avoidable, or was a situation of even your own manufacture? If you are begging and nearly whining about what you want, what have you done to resolve any of that, and how can you look at the seemingly non-religious, happy and successful, and resent their health, situation or happiness, if you have not tried to reason your own way out? So, if it is good to be happy, and against this principle to whine and be unhappy, then what do we do? How to we take control of our own destinies, follow principles and how will this makes us happier and more successful?

If we follow the words, and not the prayers, of the apostles, and believe we are right, because we have followed right principles, or mathematicians who follow rules, and depend on their answers as being correct, if their adherence is demonstrated, it is the same with this principle. It is easy.

"The one fixed idea in the mind of Jesus 
was simply this. It is not the will of my 
Father that any one should die, but rather 
that he should be converted. Ever and al- 
ways before the mind of Jesus was a great 
fixed fact, and that fact was based upon the 
immutable Principle, the Principle of Life 
itself. Jesus understood the definition of 
principle. He understood it to mean "cause, 
source, origin, that from which things pro- 
ceed," and he also understood it to mean 
that it was without "variableness" or 
"shadow of turning." In other words, that 
it was the same "yesterday, to-day, and for- 
ever," and because it was the Life Principle, 
it had no death thought in it. Because it was 
the Life Principle it only recognised things 
like Itself. If men departed from Principle 
and followed the bent of their imaginations 
and reaped the consequences for so doing, 
that could never be traced to God."

He says God would never choose sides, like the victors of old times, who were allowed to collect and bury their dead, while the losers were forced to rot where they fell. It was not like that, because the harm men do cannot be blamed on God, or his ideas, God is about goodness and life, not parsimony, malice, capriciousness, death or 100 other ill-wills. He repeates that this is the problem with a “personal God” and no an everybody God, or everything God. When we go to a personal God, we are actually thinking that for our own reasons this God is going to confer a blessing, or a reward on one person and a curse upon another, that is, that  we are capricious, vacillating, and are wishing these things upon other people. Me are making our own God to rationalize our own actions and behavior, and in reality, this would not be the way any God works. This God, is our own manifestation of the way Principles of Life should work, and we may not be in control of anything else, we can and must be in control of our own principles. Are we not making idols, and God in our own image?

What does this really say about us?

"Vacillating, changeable, now lov- 
ing, now hating, never the same from one 
day to another. Now protesting our undy- 
ing devotion, and to-morrow as jealous as 
can be, changing with every moment of time. 
What difference does it make if we have 
many gods, or one God of many moods? 
None at all."

He says it is like the sun, reaches all, the rich, the poor, the great, the inferior, the confident, the insecure; it is inexhaustible. It is love. It can be applied like mathematics, as a principle and is discernible, but the one thing it requires is intelligence. The witless man mistakes it, and trust me, there are those who do, all around us. It is when you ask yourself, how can that person treat any person, differently? How can that person not put the past behind them? How can that person not be happy with what they have? How does that person deserve more or better than another? How is the unfair fair? To whom? How is right, wrong? How is a wrong, or one obtained by wrong, right? It is simple. It is truth. It is honesty and kindness. Hate does kill the hater, and this is how-by not following simple principles of Life. He says God has done all he can for us, he has given us these great gifts: judgment, perspective, choice, will, and that all we have to do is open the gate, and we are free, free to make ourselves bigger and greater. We may make errors, but if we go back to the one divine principle, we will find our way.

"What we want is to know that God is 
here, that the kingdom of heaven is within 
us. That is what Divine Science has come 
to reveal to us ; and if it has given to us the 
Principle of Being instead of the God of the 
Hebrews, or the Father of all humankind, — 
if it has given to us the Principle of Being 
that is within us and only awaiting our own 
expansion and utilisation, then I ask you 
if it has not given to us all, all!"

These are pretty powerful words, and most people know this already, but what we forget to do is to thank him for our blessings, not merely to pray to him, but in the Bible, all God asks that we do, is live by these principles and that we thank him for making us in control of ourselves, for giving us the will to achieve our own dreams, and that we are all unique in our composition, not black or white, good or bad, or reduced in any way to a formula, because then a personal God begins to develop that has the traits of that group, as above illustrated, but that we alone are magnificent, and should live by our own principles, and not be part of anything that goes against that divine principle. He said that God is not some distant personage, he is in you, like a mystical, magical being, welling up inside you with that Principle of Life, only waiting to be taken and utilized.

"That is what Jesus 
meant when he told the Samaritan woman 
what he was and said, "If thou hadst asked 
me for the water of life, I would have given 
it to thee, and if thou hadst drunk of the 
water, thou wouldst never have thirsted 

He says fear, discontent, malice, ignorance are all things we can will away, by embracing the Principle of Being. One principle, not many, just one. He says all these things result in is unhappiness, misery and failure, even sickness and death. These are not old, or new, or recent discoveries, these are basic principles and nature. If soil around a plant becomes bad, the plant dies, or it learns to thrive in the soil, it adapts, strengthens and grows despite the soil around it. This is the case of a person living with principles in any environment. Sometimes that principle, that one principle, is not being felt, or is not popular, or is not welcome, but if it continues to be then it becomes part of the environment in which it is existing. There is a chance, by indoctrination, and association, that others will act according to that principle, if it is used on them or with them, that they will treat some people one way, but they will treat the person of principle, as one, and will begin to defend those principles that are right, and this is the belief, it has to be, of the person with the principle, living by the principle, and one who never alters or moves from the principle. It is the same principle of sorts, which is present in Sodom and Gomorrah, when all of the people were doing bad things, and they are leaving, and Jehovah was about to rain “fire and brimstone” onto the two cities, Ado (lot’s wife) looked back. What her Principles had told her was to not think twice about whether she was wrong or right, “to not look back” for any reason but to move forward, get out of there, as fast as she could, and to stick to her own principles, that that is what could happen, if you did not. People try to weave many possible meanings into this, but as I see it, it means “stick to your (own) guns, and not anything else. It may come to a point where society is so divided on principles, that we separate, again and again, as we have done in the past, and like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, or Rome, or other middle eastern countries, or else where, where societies animal, rather than, ethical instincts apply. This can seem pervasive in history, cities, even schools or where our children learn ballet, but while we are teaching acceptance sexual acts between consenting adults, has this ever been a mystery, and should it remain one? It is necessary to know what one’s sexual preference is, if one adheres to a principle of Life? No. This is no ones business, but it is not my business to know what relationship occurs between people, or the details of that relationship. I am not wrong to not want to hear that expressed by others. It is personal. Ten years ago, I could look away, not turn on the main tv networks, and now, due to ‘recognition’ I am forced, and my children are forced to watch things I do not want to, or I do not agree with, and that is my choice, to turn off that tv, or to make those my principles with regard to my children. I am not required to do or say what other people cause me to, and if necessary, I will go and move to a culture where this is not required or pushed, or paid for. It is my guess that a homosexual society will actually, kill itself off. That is logical. I do not have to be kind. It is not a requisite that I try to save them. After one generation, they, and their kind, will be gone. Do I care if they get married? Have tax incentives? NO. That is not the point and their morals or ethics or perspective are not my own, but, I am only concerned whether they leave me alone. If they do, and I am free to be a decent person, and they are decent to me, then as far as I am concerned, their private life is their own. I do not think it has to do with morals, but with principals. People make the mistake that they are condoning homosexuality, when what they are actually doing by making a big deal about it is they are not following the principals of life, and letting ignorance and discontent, depress them, make them unhappy and control their life. So they have the power within them to accept people, they just refuse to do it. This is not my concern. Have they been unfair, are they discriminated against, are they suspected of being different? Why should the law treat them any differently than they would a man in charge of a football team who assaults children. Did these particular two people do anything wrong? According to the God of Principle, no they did not. They did not harm anyone else, really! When you apply principles, it is without hatred, anger, jealousy, malice, and it works for everyone. And one final word about this:

"Then have we, I ask you in closing, have 
we reduced God? Simply because we speak 
of God as Principle, does this reduce God? 
Does it not rather magnify God? Does it 
not rather exalt him above the plane of all 
personality, and make him the great uni- 
versal Reality, which is neither he, nor she, 
but It? 

You cannot speak of God as he or she 
unless you speak of It as He and She both, 
the masculine and feminine Principle of the 
universe. Combining the courage, the 
strength, the power, the mastery and domi- 
nation of the masculine with the love, the 
tenderness, the sympathy and the compas- 
sion of the feminine in One, the one universal 
Principle, sexless, neither he nor she, but It, 
is perceived as the one Father-Mother God." 



Confessions of a Superstar  Elizabeth Kendall, a New York dance historian, is the author of Balanchine and the Lost Muse (Oxford University Press, 2013) for Dance Magazine December 2012/January 2013 issue.

New Thoughts, Old Doctrines  Murray, W. John, Author of “Astor Lectures,” “The Sanity of Optimism,” etc.; The Divine Science Publishing Association, 113 W. 87th Street, New York, NY ; (1913, by the author, and republished by Divine Science in 1924.

Pugilism and politics, not so strange bedfellows/The Chicago Tribune

Historical Portraits: John Charles Spencer, Earl of Althorp (by C. R. L. Fletcher Formerly Fellow of All Souls and Magdalen Colleges'  The Portraits chosen by Emery Walker Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries With an Introduction by C. F. Bell Part II (Vol. IV of the Series) 1800-1850 . 7. Oxford At the Clarendon Press 1919 OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS LONDON EDINBURGH GLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE CAPE TOWN BOMBAY HUMPHREY MIL FORD PUBLISHER TO THE UNIVERSITY, portrait #217)

Misty Copeland’s Will to Win/Guideposts

Kindness-Trumps-Anxiety/Dance Magazine  

The False Teachers Norman Vincent Peale/


Norman Vincent Peale/

Peale, Norman Vincent, The Power of Positive Thinking; Fireside, a subsidiary of Prentice Hall, 1952.


A special Don Quixote in Kiev as Kateryna Khaniukova Returns Home

A special Don Quixote in Kiev as Kateryna Khaniukova Returns Home

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Kateryna (Katja) Khaniukova, who has been dancing with English National Ballet these last 15 months, returned home to the company where she was a much loved principal dancer – Kiev Ballet. Graham Watts reports on the night and ballet in a country at war…

Kiev Ballet (National Ballet of Ukraine)
Don Quixote

Kiev, National Opera House
5 June 2015

Ballet enjoys significant popularity in the Ukraine and the Kiev State Choreographic Institute – now run by Nobuhiro Terada – has produced some of the world’s leading dancers (Alina Cojocaru, Sergei Polunin, Denis Matvienko and Ivan Putrov to name but a few). Another recent export is 25 year-old Kateryna Khaniukova who joined English National Ballet in March 2014 – a Rojo recruit, sufficiently attracted by the ambition and inspiration of the company’s artistic director to relinquish the status of principal ballerina in her home city of Kiev, to become a junior soloist in London. As a first thought, it may seem odd for Khaniukova to have swapped this elite home status for a lower place in another company’s hierarchy but Tamara Rojo’s drawing power and the expanding repertoire of ENB is clearly worth the risk.

It is even more remarkable given that Khaniukova had no prior intention of leaving Kiev to dance elsewhere. During a brief visit to London, she was advised by her coach in Kiev – Alla Lagoda (also a former mentor to Cojocaru) – to take class while away, thus becoming a relatively unknown guest at ENB’s morning ritual. Her impeccable technique immediately attracted Rojo’s attention and the subsequent offer of a contract. The expressive quality of English ballet was a powerful incentive but the potential of working under Rojo was the decisive factor. “We had only seen her on DVD”, Khaniukova told me, “and so the opportunity to come and work with an artist of such dramatic quality was something that I just couldn’t miss. I wanted to absorb all those feelings into my work”.

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Leaving the Ukraine permanently was not so easy. The Maidan Square Revolution erupted soon after her return and the visa centre was in the line of sniper fire. It took weeks to sort out the paperwork through all this chaos, during which time Khaniukova’s parents – both doctors – were tending to the Maidan’s victims. The requisite passport pages were eventually stamped and Kateryna (informally known as Katja) was able to join ENB, two months later than planned.

A cold night in February 2014 saw her farewell performance at the Kiev Opera House, given to a skeleton audience sheltering from the troubles outside. Just like Pavlova and others dancing on in St Petersburg through the 1905 Russian Revolution, Katja felt that “…dancing ballet seemed so pointless when people were dying on the streets a few hundred yards’ away”. Since the ballet being performed was The Nutcracker, the land of the sweets must have seemed a million miles away!

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

What a difference in just 15 months! Khaniukova’s return to Kiev for a one-off performance of Don Quixote was accorded the glittering, red-carpet treatment of a major premiere. Fashion magazines were there to photograph the event; TV stations filmed it; a documentary film crew followed the ballerina wherever she went over the whole weekend. A “sold-out” theatre included an audience of politicians, journalists and assorted celebrities from the worlds of sport, film and the arts. It was an occasion that fully demonstrated the power of Ukrainians’ affection for an artist who had left to make a mark elsewhere; turning up in their droves to welcome Katja home.

The National Opera House of the Ukraine (named in honour of Taras Shevchenko) is a gorgeous – if slightly dishevelled – architectural gem, designed by Victor Schröter. A curved neo-renaissance exterior – the façade a neat double-height row of columns and porticos – sits under a domed roof topped off by impressive statuary; enclosing a classical interior, based on the Viennese model of the early 20th Century. As so often the case in Central European cities, this opera house replaced another that was consumed by fire (allegedly caused by a candle left alight after a performance of Eugene Onegin) and the new building on Volodymirska Street was opened in September 1901. The backstage areas and studios are spacious although in need of refurbishment and the public parts are a splendidly ornate warren of corridors and passageways with a surprise around every turn. Unnoticeable to most but key to those who perform there is a flaking, apparently uneven, wooden stage with a vicious rake.

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

The version of Don Quixote in the Kiev repertory is a typical hand-me-down interpretation of Gorsky’s 1900 revision of Petipa’s original 1869 ballet, seen through the prism of many further retouches through the years of the Soviet Union. It enjoys detailed painted – but generally dull – backcloths to represent generic scenography and vivid, decorative costumes (not least, the gorgeous crimson and black tutu with gold embroidery worn by Khaniukova’s Quiteria in the final act celebrations). In many ways, the design of this Don Quixote was a cipher for the opera house in which it played: both beautiful and decrepit; grand elegance slightly worn out by age. It would sit appropriately within a Venetian setting.

There are some additions to the traditional libretto including a gypsy pas de deux to music with which I am not familiar and is neither by Minkus or Drigo. The conductor – Herman Makarenko – told me that this addition was by a little-known soviet composer and had been added during the mid-twentieth century. He couldn’t remember the name but my guess is that it was composed by Vassily Soloviev-Sedoy for the Bolshoi’s production in 1940. Anyone with better information is welcome to comment below.

Viktor Ishchuk, Kateryna Khaniukova and Sergei Litvinenko in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

The comic-book characterisations of the title character and his side-kick, Sancho Panza, were accomplished in broad-brush style, respectively by Sergei Litvinenko and Nikita Sokolov. The latter is a fine name for this ballet since it was another Sokolov (Sergey) on whom the very first Basil was created in the premiere of Petipa’s ballet at the Bolshoi in 1869 (and incidentally, he was alsoSwan Lake’s first-ever Rothbart) Litvinenko was a most appropriate, tall and lanky, tourist-book evocation of the wandering, chivalrous knight. If in need of another job he could become a Don Q look-alike around the arid plains of Castilla La Mancha (where only a week previously, by coincidence, I visited the tiny village of Santa Quiteria and met a matador!)

Elsewhere in the cast, I was taken by fiery performances from another Kateryna (Kurchenko) as the Street Dancer and the vivacious Mercedes of Ksenia Novikova; plus a gypsy solo with swirling red skirt and elastic spine from another Ksenia (Ivanenko). Maxim Kamishev was a haughty Espada (known as Esparto in the Ukraine); Irina Borisova brought regal elegance to the Queen of the Dryads; and yet another Kateryna (Kalchenko) was ethereally fleet-footed and busy as the Cupid. One overriding impression that remained with me throughout the ballet was of ultra soft landings on this hard uncompromising stage. All the dancers’ jumps were generally high and long, yet their landings were largely silent.

Kateryna Khaniukova and Kateryna Kalchenko in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Khaniukova was reunited with her former dance partner, Viktor Ishchuk, who graduated into the Kiev company in 2001. He is ideally cast as Basil, the carefree but indigent barber of Barcelona. In a modern adaption he might suit being a skater boy since Ishchuk has that quality of naturalistic, blithe and buoyant chirpiness. He is a dancer with the prodigious virtuoso skills required for Basil but there’s also a charming “devil-may-care” dishevelment around the edges.

Kateryna Khaniukova and Viktor Ishchuk in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Khaniukova’s Quiteria is a delicately-framed but ebullient minx. As merited by the special circumstances of this show, she was truly a divinity returned from exile. An adoring audience lapped up every second of her return, beginning with that gleeful opening solo in the Barcelona marketplace. By the time of her fast terre-a-terre entry to the harp accompaniment in the final act variation, Khaniukova had the whole audience clapping along with every step; not something I have experienced many times before.

Few ballerinas have an entire armoury of elite skills but Khaniukova seems without any weakness. She spins and jumps strongly (her jeté is an object of marvel), possesses an intuitive musicality, extraordinary flexibility, graceful port de bras and épaulement; and she gilds the lily by capturing the romantic, comedic and Machiavellian essences of Quiteria with exquisite, expressive acting. It was a performance perfectly pitched to the gala occasion of her homecoming. Remarkably, she and Ishchuk managed to rise above having almost no time to rehearse together, holding it all together securely through their collective body memories. It was only when Khaniukova was required to dance in harmony with Borisova and Kalchenko during the dream scene that any lack of rehearsal was detectible.

Kateryna Khaniukova flanked by Viktor Ishchuk and conductor Herman Makarenko - Don Quixote curtain calls.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Don Quixote is such an anomaly in the classical ballet repertoire. The performer in the title role never dances and is merely a supporting character artist; it is an adaption that bears almost no narrative relation to the original novel; a rare example of a comedy amongst a horde of nineteenth century melodramas and tragedies and an even rarer example of a ballet being named after a man and not the leading female.

The layered contributions from Petipa and Gorsky in versions that went back and forth between Moscow and St Petersburg have left us with the best of both worlds in Eastern European stagings that have followed – including this archetypical production in Kiev – with comedic fun, pantomime characterisations and – most especially – the opportunity to see state-of-the-art ballet technique, expertly performed.

Kateryna Khaniukova - Don Quixote curtain calls.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

One might add that Don Quixote is a ballet of hope, best represented by the title character’s chivalric quest for honour and a happy ending. In that sense it seemed very appropriate to the current situation in the Ukraine, a country under threat from its eastern borders. The notion of honour and a happy ending are especially relevant to their troubles of today.

In addition to this excellent gala performance, my weekend in Kiev included a tour of the Kiev Ballet School, meeting legendary teachers (such as the octogenarian, Vladimir Denisenko) and watching an awed class of young dancers receive a signed pair of Tamara Rojo’s pointe shoes. Kiev has a second fully-fledged opera house with a full-scale ballet company, which rejoices in the wholesome title of the Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theater for Children and Youth. Walking past the theatre on Mezhyhirsta Street on Saturday afternoon, my charming guide suddenly disappeared inside and – within seconds – I found myself being ushered into the central box to see the final act of Valeriy Koftun’s Cinderella, which had dancing of a decent, professional standard. An opera house just for kids – no wonder culture thrives in the Ukraine!

Reblogged from Dance Tabs

I always knew there was plenty MORE to Christopher Walken; happily, it’s that he was a dancer! |

Christopher Walken just wants to dance |

^AB Vaganova died in Leningrad, on Novem

^AB Vaganova died in Leningrad, on November 5, 1951. Vaganova was kind and encouraging, but she also demanded precision, attention to detail, concentration, and hard work, and she encouraged her students to learn constantly. Visit for more information!

Ardani Artists 25th Anniversary Galas – Interview with Natalia Osipova

Ardani 25 – Interview with Natalia Osipova – YouTube.

Are you in London July 17 and 18th? GET

Are you in London July 17 and 18th? GET TICKETS for these Gala Event dates presented by Sergei Danilian/Royal Ballet, presenting Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev (with Edward Watson, and Marcelo Gomes) premiering NEW WORK especially created for these artists of Ballet!

^AB Vaganova was head of the State Acade

^AB Vaganova was head of the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet—formerly the Mariinsky—from 1931 to 1937. She continued to draw on classical tradition, but also introduced innovative choreography, including a completely new version of Swan Lake. At the time, traditional ballet was being attacked as too conservative and creatively stagnant, and choreographers strived to work with significant historical themes, dramatic and well-developed plots, and artistically depicted yet realistic characters.

^AB Volkova noted that as a teacher, Vag

^AB Volkova noted that as a teacher, Vaganova rarely praised a student in words or said that a move was well executed. Instead, she would calmly say, “You are now ready to do that step in public.” She was dignified, calm, and quiet at all times, and her manner elicited a natural respect from her students.

^AB Rather than relying on intuition and

^AB Rather than relying on intuition and improvising during lessons, Vaganova rigorously planned each session beforehand. Thus, her lessons moved rapidly, taking dancers through difficult and interesting routines. In addition, she made sure to explain the reasons behind each exercise, so that students could not only do the necessary steps, but could also describe the correct form and explain the exercise’s purpose. In addition, she often asked students to describe in writing why a step was not correctly performed, which helped them to understand what they were doing wrong and how to correct their faults. Vaganova also fostered creativity among her students by asking them to create new combinations of steps that they had learned in their lessons.

^AB In addition to examining the placeme

^AB In addition to examining the placement of the dancer’s feet, Vaganova paid detailed attention to the placement of arms during movement. She believed a dancer’s arms should not simply decorate a movement, but should assist the dancer in high jumps and turns. This method is visible in the technique of Mikhail Baryshnikov, a 20th century dancer who is known for his seemingly impossible leaps high in the air, often with no apparent preparation. Baryshnikov used his arms to create lift in his body without flexing his legs to push off the ground, a trait common to all dancers trained in the Vaganova method.

^AB Vaganova student Natalia Dudinskaya

^AB Vaganova student Natalia Dudinskaya described the method in this manner: “A single style, a single dance ‘handwriting,’ which manifests itself most clearly in the harmonious plasticity of movement and the expressiveness of the arms, in the responsive suppleness and at the same time the iron aplomb of the body, in the noble and natural placement of the head—these are the distinctive traits of the ‘Vaganova School.’”

^AB Vaganova emphasized dancing with the

^AB Vaganova emphasized dancing with the entire body, promoting harmonious movement among arms, legs, and torso. She believed that the torso was the foundation of all movements, so the dancer’s torso had to be strengthened. One exercise she prescribed for this area was that of doing plies with the feet in first position; this is a sort of bow, done while the feet are turned sideways. It is difficult for most people to balance and control their movement while doing this, but steady practice led dancers to develop extremely strong abdominal and back muscles, which helped them in all their other moves.

^AB Following Vaganova’s death in 1951,

^AB Following Vaganova’s death in 1951, her teaching method was preserved by instructors such as Vera Kostrovitskaya. In 1957, the school was renamed the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recognition of her achievements. Today the Vaganova method is the most common method of teaching ballet in Russia. It is also widely used in Europe and in North America. The Vaganova Ballet Academy continues to be the associate school of the former Imperial Russian Ballet, although it is now known as the Mariinsky Ballet.