Post Author: Julie Hoplamazian

A word
about vulnerability:
This morning, I revisited my first love–
ballet class.
I haven’t danced in years.
I have lacked the courage to step
into dance studio space
for a while now,
I’m overweight,
and society says:
Shame on you.
I’m out of shape,
and the dance world says:
Shame on you.
I am carrying many burdens right now
emotionally and physically.
Society says:
Keep that to yourself.
So I did what I used to tell my students to do.
I took it to the studio




I lacked strength,
I struggled to learn and remember combinations.
I lagged behind everyone else in the class
and made a lot of mistakes.
I was dancing alongside Juilliard graduates.
People could say
I made a fool of myself.

But I held my own.

Alongside some of the best dancers in the world.
And when I thanked the teacher afterward,
she said,
“You looked really beautiful.
You really must have danced pretty seriously before.”
I don’t know
what made the nourishment of dance
finally outweigh the starvation
of fear,
and insecurity.
But it was helpful to be reminded
that vulnerability
is a risk
worth taking.

The Rev. Julie Hoplamazian is an Episcopal priest, serving as the Rector of The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, New York, where the renowned Gallim Dance company are artists-in-residence. Julie is overjoyed to serve in a place where the church retains its traditional role as the patron of the arts, and she can forge passionate ministry rooted in the intersection of the arts and spirituality.

Image by: indy0333
Used with permission
2 replies
  1. T
    T says:

    As a former ballet dancer, I resonate deeply with this. The struggle. The pain. Hoping some day for the redemption. Thank you.

  2. Jordan
    Jordan says:

    You are brave and strong and beautiful. I love your words and draw strength from them as I seek to be vulnerable, too. Thank you so much for sharing.


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