Sharing the struggles and celebrating the triumphs of being African American in the ballet world and beyond.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

That Little Green-Eyed Monster

Many of us have dreams of a better life and wonder how things might have been had we always walked on the sunnier side of the street. I grew up in a working class, urban neighborhood, and always envied the suburban kids who seemed to have very plum lives. As a dancer, I wished I had the natural gifts of some of my counterparts who performed so effortlessly, as if they were simply born to dance. However, with maturity I have learned to embrace my own unique journey as one that instilled hard work, perseverance and appreciation for all of life’s gifts. I also learned to use other’s success as inspiration, instead of a source of envy. I use the gifts I admire in others to motivate myself to push harder and dream bigger. Through the process of humbling myself, allowing others to inspire me, I learned to try. Through trying I learned to fail, and through failure I was able to inspire many.

Ballet was not innate and did not come naturally to me. Becoming a ballerina took a willingness to humbly place myself amongst superior talent with a student’s mind and a heart determined to succeed. I no longer envy my neighbor’s gifts, I chose to learn and be inspired by them. Even the unobtainable can serve as inspiration!

With a positive attitude, the willingness to embrace inspiration around us, and the faith to try—we can obtain our dreams.