PARLOR PLIÉS: Thoughts on Ballet and Writing

IMG_2946.JPGRight now my daughter, aged 10, is dancing around the living room to the rich music of Coppelia, a beautiful 19th century ballet. Using a dish towel as a prop, she’s flitting and twirling and swooping to the music in perfect motion. I would love to snap a photo, but she has asked me to remain in the kitchen (where I am cleaning up from supper) and I want to respect her privacy.  But, oh my, each time I peek in I am amazed. She is 100% into the moment – listening to the mood of the music and improvising as she goes.  And, wow, how her movements flow. The result is beautiful!

As a writer, I am taking note. This young budding artist is not letting the inner voices of self doubt and fear of criticism interfere one bit. Perhaps she hasn’t even recognized their pesky little voices yet.

I was never a dancer, but I have distant recollections of that beautiful innocent time when I just let my creativity flow both through writing and drawing without holding back. That phase ended for me in mid-elementary school when I suddenly became self conscious about my writing, especially at school. Thankfully, I continued to write stories and poems for my own pleasure.  Still, it took years for me to return to that safe place where I felt secure enough to really open up and let that creativity flow again.

To reach our full creative potentials, we must follow my sweet daughter’s example and reconnect with that creative sweet spot from our childhood when we felt free to create without inhibition. Will you join me this week in finding the joyful spot? Happy dancing, er writing, all!

15 thoughts on “PARLOR PLIÉS: Thoughts on Ballet and Writing

  1. Laura, What a wonderful post! Happy writing! p.s. Have you taken your daughter to the Nutcracker? Watching the excitement of the kids in the audience is almost as fun as watching the ballet. 😀

    • Thanks, Robin. She and I LOVE to go to the ballet together. We’ve seen The Nutcracker, Swan Lake (multiple times), Romeo and Juliet and, most recently, Alice in Wonderland. Happy writing to you!

  2. I am amazed at how often, when engaged in artistic pursuits not related to writing, my mind clears and connects to solutions to the writing problems I’d been trying unsuccessfully to solve. Channeling that “child-like” part of spontaneous creativity seems to free the mind to find what it needs for writing. I often burst into spontaneous dance. It just feels good! I love this post.

  3. Your daughter sounds so lovely, Laura! I agree that we can learn a lot from our kids. It’s funny how we all develop a little inner critic. Probably a necessity, but I sure wish she’d keep quiet sometimes!

  4. Like the story of the Garden of Eden, before we knew what we didn’t know, we were innocent and blissful. This is part of growing up, to look at our output with a critical eye. Sadly, most of the time the effect is paralyzing. I strive not to return to innocence, (can’t un-know anyhow…) but to accept my imperfect products, and do better.

    • Oh, Mirka, you are so wise. Yes, looking at our output with a critical eye is part of growing up and an important part. Thank you for grounding me. I still feel though, that in there is a place in the writing/creating process to just express yourself freely. Afterwards, you can go back and let that important critical eye do its work.

  5. What a lovely post and what an inspiration, Laura. I too, find, that my children create with joy and abandon. I think we all do that when we first begin, no matter our age. But publication changes that. We get on deadlines and the inner critic never shuts up. We need space to dance on the page. I hope to do that this summer. Thank you for that reminder.

  6. I love the image of your daughter doing this, Laura. It’s so beautiful and precious. It reminds me, too, of that lovely scene in the movie version of TUCK EVERLASTING. So breathtaking 🙂

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