Some of you may know that I have 2 step children. As they get older I spend more and more time wondering about their education, goals in life, achievements.
Parallel to this I have been reading a lot of articles produced recently about discipline, delayed gratification and success. The two are not mutually exclusive. In a recent article from BBC, principal dancer at the English National Ballet, Tamara Rojo notes that children are praised on fast results and that society is rewarding achievements of little talent or commitment.
This made me ask the question of ballet and its impact on future success in life. Ballet is many things but one cannot deny that discipline, hard work and dedication are key.
Huffington Post recently ran an article that looked at the health impacts of movement and parents forcing children to quit dance to ensure that they perform well at school. I am not an educational expert but there is no concrete evidence that stopping dance improves grades and I am willing to believe that a child who learns how to juggle priorities, work hard, be committed and is healthy from the exercise that they are participating in is much more inclined to be successful at school (and life!).
But the real question is, how do we raise children who are driven and curious about the world when they are middle-upper class and have known little if any struggle in life. Can ballet help over come the expectations that children have these days? Expectations to have a great job, great pay, successful relationships, fitness, holidays but without necessarily understanding the sacrifices, hard work and dedication that needs to go into achieving those and then possibly (likely!?) not being able to achieve them all anyway?
Can the frustrations, failure and competitiveness of ballet help children gain a deeper understanding of life's struggles and to build resilience and perseverance for future happiness and success?
I think yes! Perhaps I am biased.