The real reason I teach ballet isn’t to create ballet dancers. My students DO learn the best skills – don’t get me wrong. I am a professional teacher and I take my work very seriously. But there are few jobs and few healthy employers in this country and there’s little that makes me think all of this will change in the near future. The REAL reason I teach is to prepare young people to be the leaders of tomorrow. They will need discipline, courage, creativity, and a great deal of smarts. They will need tough skins and strong bodies. They will need a lifelong passion that keeps them fit and fabulous and they will need to rely on their inner beauty. They will need to be agile and clever. They will need to sweat and persevere when things are shitty and smile when they are in pain. And all the bullshit that’s out there about the drama, the glamour, and the mothers that run dance studios in this country happens in the slums of any industry that’s desperate to survive but it is hardly reality in the institutions that are respecting the past while staying relevant in the present.