No Black Swans Here! By Elaine Herg Sisler

The recent film “Black Swan” brings back memories of the many years I was privileged to study, perform and teach ballet. In the film, the dying words of the self-inflicted wounded ballerina are, “I was perfect.” This haunting scene evokes an uncomfortable wrench in my gut and here is why…

Every teacher has at least one story of an exceptional student. Mine is about Simone (not her real name). I literally saw Simone take her first plie and had the pleasure of teaching and coaching her for several years. I witnessed her amazing metamorphosis from a shy child wearing braces and braids into a sophisticated, talented and beautiful young woman. Imagine the thrill when I accompanied her to her first ballet company audition. I was so proud of all the time we danced, rehearsed and grew together. Simone evolved into a technically graceful dancer as I continued to share my love of dance with my students in and out of ballet class. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Simone abruptly decided to stop dancing. Shocblack-swanked and disappointed by her decision just as she was blossoming into a beautiful ballerina I asked her “Why?” She replied,

“Because I am not perfect.”

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry! I told her how I was never the best dancer in class or in the companies that I performed with. That is was the love for the art form that inspired me to dance and share my passion with all of my students. “Just think of all the children I’ve taught over the years who never would have danced if I felt the same way,” I said. Simone just shrugged and that was the end of the conversation and sadly our sacred connection as dancers.

I guess it is safe to say that many of us will never dance the roles of white or black swans in our lifetimes.
However, this should not stop us from sharing what we can do or what we do know about dance. The crucial message here is that perfect technique is not required to be a dancer. We dancers come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. Wherever we dance is sacred ground. How splendidly blessed we are to share our artistry, passion and love of dance through the Sacred Dance Guild’s varied programs and festivals.

We may not be perfect in the eyes of many a dance professional, but I’ll bet my last swan feather that inthe eyes of our creator, we are indeed precious. I believe that it is through our creativity and compassion that we connect to the divine experiencing moments of artistic excellence, grace and spiritual perfection.

And so it is…


Wife, mother of three, grandmother of three. Web developer, amateur photographer, kayaker, dancer.

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Posted in Art, Dance, Sacred Dance

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