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"the endless pain of the ballet" - Common Application Main Essay


Josephine0411 5 / 15  
Dec 22, 2009   #1
This is my second Main Essay.
Because I want to use different essays according to different colleges in order to cater to the requirements and fondness of them.
Thank you for reading and giving me some suggestions.^^

I choose the first topic--Evaluate a significant experience you have faced and its impact on you.

I never had a natural skill at dance but one day, like coming down from the heaven above, The Royal Ballet came to give a performance of "Swan Lake" at Shenzhen Grand Theater. The special ballerina shoes, the coiling hair; everything about ballet locked my eyes onto the dancers and the performance, and from that experience, I was addicted to the world of ballet. Watching those white swans swimming blessedly in a placid lake and enjoying the warmth of the sun and coolness of the water, I excitedly pointed at those ballet dancers, exclaiming to my mother sitting next to me, "That's me!" and launching my dream right there and then.

As soon as I threw myself into the ballet, I discovered its greatest hardship: the endless pain from pressing legs and hips into unnatural shapes, pressing the instep into extreme litheness, bending down backward and so on, all of which are the essential foundational elements of a ballet class, meaning I was in constant pain. Ballet is art on tiptoes but I clearly remember the frequent scenes where my dance teacher held a stick and hit me whenever I tried to be insolent or wasn't up to her standards on a certain movement. I was always that little girl limping around after classes because of being injured from falling, being hit, or dozens of other things during a class. The initial inspiration from watching the Royal Ballet was now quickly fading and I constantly thought about quitting. Ballet became something toilsome and not attractive. Almost every night of the first year I danced ballet I would awake at night thinking about why I was suffering day after day more than my peers. I never did find a real reason for me to continue the suffering but I also didn't find a reason to quit, so I didn't quit and pressed on, working harder than anyone else.

I was then assigned to take part in the International Youth Ballet Competition held in Germany because of my previous good performance. After everyone's performance, the backstage scene was like a nightmare with girls bandage their injured feet, calling out because of painful legs, shaking like a leaf due to the great nervousness. I asked them as well as asked myself in my heart, "Why do they still insist and why should I also persist? Why go through the pain and anguish and sacrifice?" At that very moment, my question was answered, as if from a cosmic force, for I was called to go up on stage...to accept the prize as grand champion of the competition! Upon hearing that sweet and powerful announcement from the hostess, I knew I would remember that moment forever. Among thousands of competitors, I was the champion! I can still vividly recall running excitedly to the stage in great surprise to accept the golden cup prize together with a certificate written in German, which I didn't understand at all but still reading it carefully and breathlessly in front of four smiling judges. As I inched my way forward with the heavy cup, I could almost imagine it filled with all the hardships, pain, sacrifice, and work I had dealt with to get to that winning point in time. But at that very moment, I knew the dark journey was worth the bright destination.

The fantastic achievement motivated me to be persistent in reaching my goals and when in doubt, to work harder and ignore any self-doubts and to always "endure a little longer." If ever I got to the point of giving up, I could think about the dedicated girls I observed in Germany and I would become emboldened to continue whatever I was doing. With a newfound inner strength, I was able to follow my own advice and "endure a little longer" in every situation and I discovered that the more I could endure, the less intolerable a situation would be. During the process, I learned to be strict with myself and completed every movement as perfectly as possible; I learned to be not egotistical and rebellious; I learned to be no give up halfway and leave things unfinished; I learned to be responsible for my own faults and indolence; I learned to be independent, for I had to face all the difficulties as well as the injuries by myself. And finally, I learned to be eternally optimistic towards the adversities I encountered, because I realized that to "endure a little longer" was the first step in conquering any obstacle, no matter how difficult. From then on, ballet was not only a major part in my life in terms of time, but became significant to me from an emotional standpoint. I began to treat ballet as a kind of cultivation and enjoyment rather than the sore task I considered previously. The hardships in practicing were still there and degree of difficulty didn't decrease but, in fact, increased. However, these aspects of ballet no longer seemed like impossible mountains to climb, but simply tasks that needed time and patience to conquer.

Ballet has not only given me graceful movement and a beautiful figure, but has taught me how to deal with life and achieve my goals. Struggling during the first years of learning ballet gave me strength and understanding as a person and I am more mature from the experience. I will be forever grateful for the experience of learning ballet because through that art, I am now strong in mind, strong in body, and strong in spirit.
element_g 2 / 8  
Dec 22, 2009   #2
Xiao,

I'm just going to edit it through with what I think needs changing. All in all, the essay is very poignant and touching 

I realized my dreams when (either this or some other interesting hook would work) the Royal Ballet came to give a performance of "Swan Lake" at Shenzhen Grand Theater. I was enthralled by the special ballerina shoes and the coiling hair, locking my eyes onto the dancers and the performance; from that experience, I became addicted to the world of ballet. I excitedly pointed at the ballet dancers, exclaiming to my mother sitting next to me, "That's me!" as I launched my dream of becoming a ballerina right then and there.

As soon as I threw myself into the ballet, I discovered its greatest hardship: the endless pain from pressing legs and hips into unnatural shapes, pressing the instep into extreme litheness, bending down backward and so on, all of which are the essential foundational elements of a ballet class, meaning I was in constant pain (long awkward sentence, I would divide it into shorter sentences and use different verbs while explaining the ballet moves) . Ballet is art on tiptoes, but I clearly remember the frequent scenes where my dance teacher held a stick and reprimanded (hit is too negative) me whenever I tried to be insolent or wasn't up to her standards on a certain movement. The initial inspiration from watching the Royal Ballet was now quickly fading and I constantly thought about quitting. Ballet became something toilsome and un attractive. Almost every night of the first year I danced ballet I would awake at night asking myself why I was suffering day after day more than my peers. I could never find a solid reason to continue suffering , but I also couldn't find a reason to quit. Unwilling to give up, I pressed on and worked harder than all my peers.

(transition: maybe tie not giving up ballet to getting into the competition) I was assigned to take part in the International Youth Ballet Competition held in Germany because of my previous good performance. After everyone's performance, the backstage scene was a nightmare with girls bandaging their injured feet, calling out because of painful legs, (shaking like a leaf)-cliche due to the great nervousness. I asked them as well as myself, "Why do you still persist ? Why go through the pain, the anguish, and the sacrifice?" My question was answered as I was called to go up on stage ...to accept the prize as grand champion of the competition! Upon hearing that sweet and powerful announcement from the hostess, I knew I would remember that moment forever. Among thousands of competitors, I was the champion! I can still vividly recall running excitedly to the stage in great surprise to accept the golden cup prize together with a certificate written in German, which I didn't understand at all but still reading it carefully and breathlessly in front of four smiling judges. As I inched my way forward with the heavy cup, I could almost imagine it filled with all the hardships, pain, sacrifice, and work I had dealt with to get to that winning point in time. But at that very moment, I knew the dark journey was worth the bright destination.

The fantastic achievement motivated me to be persistent in reaching my goals and when in doubt, work harder and ignore any self-doubts. If ever I got to the point of giving up, I could think about the dedicated girls I practiced with in Germany and become emboldened (word choice? Maybe motivated?) to continue whatever I was doing. With a newfound inner strength, I was able to follow my own advice and "endure a little longer" in every situation and I discovered that the more I could endure, the less intolerable a situation would be. [During the process, I learned to be strict with myself and completed every movement as perfectly as possible; I learned to be not egotistical and rebellious; I learned to be no give up halfway and leave things unfinished; I learned to be responsible for my own faults and indolence; I learned to be independent, for I had to face all the difficulties as well as the injuries by myself. And finally, I learned to be eternally optimistic towards the adversities I encountered, because I realized that to "endure a little longer" was the first step in conquering any obstacle, no matter how difficult.]-unnecessary From then on, ballet was not only a major part in my life in terms of time, but became significant to me from an emotional standpoint. I began to treat ballet as a kind of cultivation and enjoyment rather than the sore task I considered it to be previously. The hardships in practicing were still there and the degree of difficulty didn't decrease but, in fact, increased. However, these aspects of ballet no longer seemed like impossible mountains to climb, but simply tasks that needed time and patience to conquer. (This whole paragraph is just a lot of repetition. I would cut it down majorly to one or two points or even take it out entirely. Your dedication is show through your description of your hardships in ballet. You don't need to reiterate)

Ballet has not only given me graceful movement and a beautiful figure, but has taught me how to deal with life and achieve my goals. Struggling during the first years of learning ballet gave me strength and understanding as a person and I am more mature from the experience. I will be forever grateful for the experience of learning ballet because through that art, I am now strong in mind, strong in body, and strong in spirit.

[Good ending. The biggest concern is just grammar and sentence structure. Take care not to repeat yourself or ramble on too much. Don't be afraid to take out sentences and start over. With that in mind, this essay should be stellar!!]

I hope this helps!
gemma2345 5 / 15  
Dec 22, 2009   #3
[Good ending. The biggest concern is just grammar and sentence structure

i agree with element_g... apart from the grammar i think your essay is nice and i like your approach.Now that i think of it, you're only supposed to have one main essay on common application. i dont think that its allowed to have more than one but you should find out in case i'm wrong
OP Josephine0411 5 / 15  
Dec 22, 2009   #4
To element_g,
Thanks a lot.
Well, do I need to add more details?
I realize that sometimes I just "tell" but not "show", but I have no idea how to "show" well.

To gemma,
I clearly know that I can use only one main essay of Common Application for one school.
What I mean is that I still have another one, and I decide to use this for some schools and another for other schools. I don't mean to use two at the same time^^

Also thank you very much.

ps. I think I have to improve my grammar><
element_g 2 / 8  
Dec 22, 2009   #5
Well, I think you can provide more examples in the fourth paragraph. It's kind of a summation; you really don't need most of it! "Showing" is much more difficult, I agree, but the trick is using insightful examples to emphasize the lessons you've learned.

For example, in "If ever I got to the point of giving up", give examples of a trial you faced after the competiton in ballet, maybe mastering a tough routine or a difficult move.

Same goes with "The hardships in practicing were still there and the degree of difficulty didn't decrease but, in fact, increased". Try to relate a "hardship" to the lesson you learned on persistence from your beginning years.

Other than some minor things, it's a good inspirational essay. :) Just keep in mind that you don't want to repeat ideas too often because the admissions officer is going to read this quickly and there isn't much room for continual embellishment.

I hope this helps!
OP Josephine0411 5 / 15  
Dec 22, 2009   #6
really constructive suggestions!!
well, I will try to edit it~
Thanks a lot~^^


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