Ballet vs Business: Analogies and Parallels

BalletToday my daughter has had her first ever ballet recital in a real theater. As I was watching the kids of various ages dancing on stage, my thoughts returned back to a conversation that I have recently had with a fellow-Russian who is also a ballet dancer. We were discussing her path in Russian ballet, and as we were talking the striking parallels with business and entrepreneurship were brought to my mind.

There are at least three principles that can be transferred from ballet to business:

1. Progress takes time

To become a soloist (a dream of every dancer) in ballet, one has to start from learning the basics. Step by step, class by class… you’re acquiring new skills and techniques, and progressing as a dancer. The key to reaching the pinnacle is in staying persistent, and doing what you’re doing consistently, and taking your time.

2. Compete only with yourself

Mikhail Baryshnikov, a famous Russian ballet master, is known for saying: “I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.” It’s about competition with your own nature, and by overcoming its shortcomings, reaching new competitive qualities.

3. Concentrate on what you do

I am told that classical dance exercises are frequently non-symmetric and not easy to memorize from the first time. It is therefore important to approach each practice with a clear and open mind. Only then can one fully focus on the task, and be most effective at its realization.

Every one of the above three principles applies in business.

2 thoughts on “Ballet vs Business: Analogies and Parallels”

  1. Excellent comparison.

    Ballet is so elegant and visual stunning, when compared to other topics, the illustration can be very vivid.

    And one of my favorite quotes:

    “To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.”


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