How ballet and swimming are eerily the same



My daughter didn’t want to be a ballerina. She wanted to swim!

There was a period of time in my life when I danced. I was as passionate about ballet as my daughter is about swimming. Today I had lunch with a fellow Catholic school mom, who not only was a mentor to me with two older children in our school, but she was one of my ballet instructors, too. I haven’t talked to her for what seems forever–except for a chance meeting at the grocery store.

Her life forever changed when my husband was urging me to put away my computer and go to work with him. I confessed to my mentor/ballet teacher that I wanted to write, not work as a stockbroker. We were sitting across the long tables in the school gym at some parent meeting.

“I’ll do it!” she said. I looked at her in disbelief. She was a former Broadway dancer, a soloist in the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and a former ballerina. Why would she want to enter into the financial world? But she did it. She went to work in my husband’s office and I went on with writing.

But what a mistake I made. I lost my ballet class. A special time in my life when my kids were both in elementary school, I spent several days a week in the dance studio with Elyssa, my teacher. There weren’t many of us, but it was a wonderful group. I told her today that it reminds me of my Masters swim group.

Here are a few things that ballet and swimming have in common:

• While you’re working out you do keep an eye out to see what everyone else is doing.

• We have great conversations with our instructor and each other (yes, we do in Masters, too, with a firm reminder by our coach to “keep moving” if the chat lasts too long while we linger at the wall.)

• We became a close-knit group in ballet class and were supportive of one another—just like my Masters group. We had a bonding moment at the start of class while we laid on the floor stretching. That’s when we could talk and share what was going on in our lives.

• Like Masters, we had a warm-up, went through some drills (combinations at the barres) and then the main set in the pool, or in ballet class when put the barres away and move to the center.

• In ballet, we ended with jumps, just like we end with a short kick set in the pool. Then the reverence to end the class reminds me of the warm down laps before I push myself out of the pool.

• Both swimming and ballet are very physically demanding and challenging. They both require a lot of inside the brain time, too—and they offer a release and an escape from all the other stuff going on in one’s life.

Interesting that I’ve realized I’m dancing in the pool. I haven’t changed that much after all, except I’ve found swimming is better for my knees.12745503_10209017757384931_7005852646538628157_n

What type of exercise do you find the most rewarding and how does it make a difference in your life?

4 thoughts on “How ballet and swimming are eerily the same

  1. I’m a firm believer in letting kids have space and time to play!!! Even if a child is good at something, if they really don’t care much about it, I agree with not doing it, or doing it at a recreational level. I see so many folks who are hideously over scheduled, or are doing something they no longer are interested in doing, because “they are too far into it” As far as I’m concerned, if the joy has gone out of something, its high time to reevaluate.

    • You have great words of wisdom! I tried to follow my children’s lead and not put my desires for an activity over theirs. My daughter complains that I kept her in piano far too long, while my son wanted more music in his life. He took piano lessons from kindergarten through his senior year of high school. He formed a band and wrote music in high school, and missed swim practice all the time. Looking back, we should have told him it was fine to quit swimming! He kept swimming to please us.

      • Definitely a tricky balance to find, and with so many messages that over value (in my opinion) achievement, its hard to let go of what really doesn’t thrill us any longer. Passions do in fact wax and wane, and it can be surprising when what was the be all and end all one year is over the next. Hindsight is so educational, isn’t it!

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