Thoughts on Humility

A few years ago I had returned to the city I consider my home town (technically, I have a few) to visit some dear friends. And, of course, to marvel over the fact that I can still find my way around the city streets despite all the new shopping malls and fast food chicken shops (which was odd until I reminded myself I was in the South again... true stereotype).

The visit was lovely and I even ran into some people I hadn't seen in a really long time. There was one such encounter that really stuck out in my mind. I had immediately recognized a former ballet student of mine and approached her to see how she was doing. Her response was to look me up and down from her stilettoed height and say: "Oh. I remember you."

Needless to say, that conversation was incredibly short. Afterward I was mildly tempted to hurry to the nearest mirror to be sure I hadn't somehow morphed into some grotesque creature of about three feet tall. (I was already convinced that I had not been a mean ballet teacher) But I just laughed and shook my head.

Later on I found out this former student is a bit of a mini-celebrity in the community these days. In the years after I left town she had gone into pageants and eventually landed a job in a musical review of some sort. She had even auditioned for a popular television show though the part went to an already-established actress.

I'll add that the short length of time that this gal had studied dance and my general lack of musical talent indicate that her current success is certainly not due to my influence. So, I'm not saying that she ought to be grateful to me by any means.

What I do want to say is that acting like a celebrity can be a serious detriment to one's career... especially when one isn't at the top of said career. As a choreographer, I want people who are talented but who also don't keep me awake at night wondering if they are going to alienate the rest of the cast and make everyone else miserable. So, I encourage all artists to practice a dose of humility with everyone they meet because you never know who could be instrumental in aiding you in the next step of your career.

Or not in this particular case.

But regardless of what people can or cannot do for you personally, remember: There are no small or inconsequential people in this world. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. That sort of a reputation tends to get around to the right people... as does a reputation for being a diva.

Stay kind, my friends!




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