The Art of Mastery as described in Webster’s dictionary includes; proficiency, ability, capability; knowledge, understanding, comprehension, familiarity, and command. We are all familiar with the term “Jack-of-All-Trades, Master of None.” It’s interesting to see how sometimes this is unintentionally translated to our children.
I remember many years ago, one of our clients did not want her daughter dancing more than one-day-a-week. She wanted her to experience all the amazing opportunities offered to children today. Mom felt that by 12 years old, their daughter would be ready to decide for herself what she really liked, and then she would pursue it. On the surface this may seem like sound advice. Under the surface is another story.
Like most little girls she loved to dance. However, at dance she was “left behind.” To be proficient at anything, once-a-week is not enough. She wanted to take more class, but she had commitments to something else everyday. What went unnoticed by her parents is that she experienced the same “left behind” syndrome wherever she went.
By the time she was 12 years old, she excelled at mediocrity, “Jack-Of-All Trades, Master of None.” More importantly to note, she had become the “mean girl” to her peers. Completely unsatisfied, she developed a distorted perspective that made her feel like everyone was “better than her.” It is easier to develop the Art-of-Mastery, than to correct years of a corrupt self-image, reinforced by parental good intention.
True mastery is not about being the best at any one thing. It is about being the best you. Inspiring “mastery-of-self” is one of the best ways we can support our young people. Take for example an ice skater or soccer player. Notice I did not say athlete. Both of these sports have reputations for starting children very young as a way to provide an advantage for excellence. However, when we look again many of these children who start early, burn out, develop weak ankles and joints and fall “out-of-shape” as young adults.
Exceptional athletes on the other hand are invested in the long vision. They train and cross train in their youth, interested in being better than they were yesterday. (Side note- Even Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity high school basketball team.) The same is true for ballet. A dancer who has spent their youth training in ballet can pretty much, do any, dance genre well.
The Art of Mastery for our children is supporting them to establish a sound foundation that will support their dreams. And believe it or not, professional athletes take ballet. It is the secret foundation for the mastering of every skill.
If you are interested in utilizing a balance for both sides of your brain, an essential key for developing laser focus, core strength and emotional intelligence, then we will see you, and your children this week at the barre. The ballet barre that is. And a ballet education is only complete with performance opportunities that offer a well-rounded experience that serves dreams come true.
If you’d like to pair your dance lessons with musical instruction, remember piano and vocal lessons by Lisa LeMay are also available at the Scripps Performing Arts Academy.
The Art of Mastery… I call it magic.