Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Nora Orphanides.

Last night I attended the American Repertory Ballet & ARB’s Princeton Ballet School’s Jubilee in the beautiful Patriots Theater at The Trenton War Memorial. The event was in celebration of Graham Lustig’s 10th anniversary as Artistic Director of American Repertory Ballet and ARB’s Princeton Ballet School and Anne Woodside Gribbins, recipient of the Audree Estey Award for Excellence in Dance Education.

I have to admit, this was my first ballet, and I was impressed. I used to think of ballet as girls in tutus twirling around. I know that football players are known to take ballet classes to improve their balance and movement, I just had not been exposed to it. I was pleasantly surprised.

The program included a powerful blend of young dancers and seasoned veterans. The music ranged from Strauss to Sinatra. Watching the performances, I gained a new appreciation for ballet and the performers as they showed me new ways to apply the principles that I already teach, such as focus, concentration, teamwork, performing under pressure, and hard work. The choreography was amazing and the strength of the performers was incredible, but these performers were not born to be dancers, they were trained to be dancers.

I realized, just as I did with Dr. Charles Frantz and music, that the skills needed in ballet and the lessons you learn are the same as in sports-and life. It’s all peak performance.

Not many of the performers will become professionals, but they all will walk away with skills they can used to perform in whatever they do.

Thank you Nora Orphanides and thank you, Anna Salvadore.

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