What is Beauty? Part 2
We are excited to bring you part 2 of the What is Beauty? series and statements from more dancers at Saint Paul Ballet. If you missed part 1, you can read it here.
Each statement about beauty is representative of that person's unique perspective. Some statements include descriptive language about body types and body shapes. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.
Beauty comes from your soul. It comes from accepting your beauty within and becoming comfortable with it. Then it becomes contagious and radiates into the world.
I think beauty can be masked by fear and uncertainty. Therefore it is important to pay attention to those things that open your heart. It starts with doing something that makes you happy. For me a main source of happiness in my life is dance. Dance opens up my heart, and it's hard for me to explain exactly how because it is very personal to me. This may seem strange considering it is something I perform in front of an audience. But I think that that's the point.
Beauty is something you can hold on to because it's who you are. It's something a person sees in you without you having to say a word because with the acceptance of your beauty you allow the world to see it. And no matter what it looks like, it's beautiful.
I have always found myself to be an observer. Imagery speaks to me more than the written language. In our very busy, over-stimulated, and active lifestyles we live today, we create beautiful pictures we call our life. These moments can be easy to overlook. Taking the first sip of that fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Having a phone call or text from a loved one. Hearing laughter after a funny joke. The list is endless. Capturing these daily occurrences into one single instant can be challenging but taking a moment to observe from an outside perspective makes the picture rather beautiful. To me, so much beauty can be discovered with these simple moments on a daily beginning.
It all really comes down to the details. Something such as a slight inclination of the head is what can differentiate a nice dancer and a beautiful dancer. The little things really do matter, and I have an intense respect and appreciation for dancers who can grasp that. You can always work up to the physical perfection of a step, but there's a difference in doing it and dancing it. The use of the head and eyes are often easily forgotten, but it's what completes the intention of the movement. I believe any story can be told through dance, but only successfully if the eyes are present to complete the puzzle. The beauty of dance truly lies in the details. That's real artistry.
I remember the first time I did not feel beautiful. As an adolescent I had a major growth spurt and was suddenly taller than most boys in my class. I was often teased for being flat chested and felt very un-beautiful. I was already very serious about ballet and since I had the ballet "body type" the comments only slightly hurt. However, as my body changed I began a different struggle. I had once been the thin girl, but now I was the "big" girl, "tall" girl, and to me the not so beautiful girl.
I ended up quitting ballet after High School because of this struggle. I began to hate ballet, which was the thing I had loved most. I had a love, hate relationship with ballet and my view of beauty for many years.
Having my daughter Nadya has challenged my view of beauty completely. When I first became pregnant I worried that those old struggles would come back as I gained baby weight. However I loved this new body. Maybe I didn't look the same in a leotard anymore, but it was strangely liberating. Nadya is now a year old and I see that beauty really is a journey. She is constantly changing and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. It reminds me of my journey. I too have changed over the years along with my hair color (I've done it all: platinum blonde, red, brown, black...you name it). Beauty really has nothing to do with your appearance. Beauty is found in life, in the struggle, in being human, in being alive.
The Oxford English dictionary defines beauty as a combination of qualities such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Why is ballet beautiful? Because it expresses great complexity in such a simplistic manner. Beauty isn't complicated, and there isn't one cookie cutter definition of beauty - in just Hebrew and Greek alone there are twenty different words that all translate as beauty. Beauty, just like people, are always evolving. That lack of stagnation is what makes something - art, people, nature - beautiful.
You can find more from Saint Paul Ballet this week via their Facebook, Twitter, blog, and Instagram. All images are by Caroline Yang. See more from Caroline on her Instagram (instagram.com/carolineyangphoto).