But I'm Not Dead Yet

Dance Teachers/World Peace and The Ballerina Exception


Well, that’s the best reason to dance, ever.

It seems impossible to start a war while in the middle of a jitterbug. Or a complicated time step. Any “danc-i-pline” really, except ballet. It does seem that a war could break out among any ballerina in any class or any production from The Nutcracker to La Esmeralda. Ballerinas are the toughest people on earth. Not only are they exhausted, but they’re in pain and pissed off because they have shin splints, toenails hanging by a corner, and they have never had enough to eat. Not their fault. But, ballerina’s may not be the best ambassadors for world peace. However, they might be the perfect people to enforce it.
Revolutionary, Civil, I, II, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, post offices, schools, across the street, in the living room, on the freeway, in our heads – Armageddon could be avoided if we all just learned to dance well. Moliere implies that if we are skilled at dancing, there is less desire to annihilate another person. Learning to dance requires letting go of who you think you are, to become who you want to be. Anyone who has ever achieved a perfect double pirouette knows that one single achievement alone can change your outlook from forever doubtful to forever confident.

Yes, dancing can change the world. Dancing communicates ideas through movement.  Peace treaties negotiated only through interpretative dance may be the wave of the future. Or just a heartfelt laugh. Either way, a good thing.

But, someone needs to teach mankind to dance. We can’t dance well without teachers.
Dance teachers!!! It’s time to rise up and show the world how to find their center!  You have the chance to save the world every day you step into a studio. Every time you take the hand of a 3-year-old hopeful dancer you have the chance to stop tragic misfortunes. 
As dance teachers it is our obligation to raise world leaders who can confidently leap and turn and dance with a partner. I, personally, vow to look at every one of my students from here on out as having the potential to stop a war. 
I think I’ll call Obama to see if he is interested in a jazz class. He looks like he could use some well placed jazz hands in his approach. And if he refuses a dance lesson, I’m calling in a ballet company to change his mind.
Shown here is curriculum creator and Principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School,
Franco De Vita and a happy student.

Just to be clear, I love and revere ballerinas. I teach ballet. I am not serious about ballerina’s being the only exception in the chance for dance to save the world. One good tutu might even be enough to calm down a raging dictator. The dictator would just need to become “tutu worthy” first. And that alone, would mean that 800 hours had already been spent at the barre to earn such “worthy” status and therefore enough skill at dancing had been achieved. And time spent learning to dance has to be a better use of time, than time spent practicing tyranny.

Are you a teacher? Please let me know if you have had any success in stopping wars – small or large – or any change you saw for the better as the result of teaching any part of the world to dance. And please be encouraged! You are the hope of mankind!
Hang on to the hope.

(And again, I’m only kidding about ballerinas. They are the rock stars of anything beautifully athletic.)

Amazing teachers!:

Love what they’re doing here:

Always good:

Good stuff:

I just think this next link is cool, it appears to have already passed by, but maybe they’ll do it again. A day for peace and dancing. Which, coincidentally, is what all of us dance teachers do every day.



  1. Scott Nicholls

    does stopping a little war between sisters at the barre and traveling across the floor and waiting their turn in line count..?

  2. Karen Burns

    I think it absolutely does! Nicely done Scott, you could've let them work it out on their own outside. Little steps in conflict resolution and patience. Both valuable life skills that the sisters may continue to need even when they leave the studio. Waiting for a minute, but sisters forever…

  3. vaskon

    “Ballerinas are the toughest people on earth.” Yes, from any point of view, not only physical but also mental and emotional and adding to it a great deal of sensitivety; well trainned bodies and minds, with the purpose of improving their skills every day. Not much space left for thinking and plotting about wars!
    Great article.

  4. Karen Burns

    Vaskon, maybe the lack of time and available energy was what Moliere meant! That actually makes the most sense. If you are unavailable to plan destruction then destruction just has to wait. Thanks Vaskon.

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