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Sternberg’s Solution

Unfortunately for intelligence theorists, many of the great pioneers and thinkers that have contributed to the development of cognitive psychology are no longer alive today. If they were, we could clarify the various questions that trouble current theorists and gain some insight from them. However, there are a few exceptions to this. Robert J. Sternberg was born in 1949 and has made more recent contributions to intelligence theory. He is currently a professor at Cornell University (he also has honorary doctorates from thirteen universities in addition to many other awards and accolades). **Read more about Sternberg here.


Sternberg’s background in intelligence theory is in psychometrics, or the science of measuring mental capacities and processes. Traditionally, psychometrics provided the basis for standardized intelligence testing as we are familiar with it today. However, Sternberg’s stance on intelligence opposes many of the facets of psychometric views of intelligence. Standardized tests are supposed to measure “g:” the mental energy that underlies all cognitive tasks. If one scores well on one of these tests, the person is assumed to have a lot of “g;” they are intelligent. However, Sternberg feels that psychometric intelligence tests only measure analytical thinking and memory skills, and leaves out other essential components of intelligence. For example, psychometrics does not tell us how well someone works cooperatively, nor does it inform us of someone’s other skills and abilities.

Sternberg argues that we are able to predict people’s future academic performance from these tests because from the time they take it, if they do well, they receive “red carpet treatment” which enables them to succeed; whereas if they do poorly, they become convinced that they are not as smart and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. In reality, the tests simply do not measure more than one or two facets of intelligence, so it alienates a lot of people.


From his points of dispute with psychometrics comes Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence. (**To learn more about Sternberg’s arrival at the Triarchic Theory and an additional explanation of it, click here.) The triarchic theory states that intelligence boils down to three fundamental components: analytical abilities, creative abilities, and practical abilities. Analytical ability is essentially critical thinking and problem-solving. It is what intelligence tests typically measure and thus what our current education system emphasizes and rewards. Creative ability is the capacity to generate new ideas and new ways to solve problems. Practical ability is one’s ability to understand what is needed in a given situation and respond effectively to the circumstances. To sum the three parts up, think of it like this: “You need creative intelligence to come up with an idea, analytical intelligence to know if it’s a good idea, and practical intelligence to sell it” (Sternberg).


So now that we understand what makes up the Triarchic Theory, what implications does it have or should it have for our education system? For one thing, I think it calls attention to a vast inconsistency in intelligence testing and its results: many people who scored poorly on these tests ended up doing very well in life and many people who performed well on the tests ended up leading relatively unsuccessful lives. We cannot overlook this discrepancy when these standardized tests (such as the SAT) are supposed to be reliable indicators of future success. Sternberg has offered his explanation of the inconsistency in scores and results in that “people who have superior practical and creative skills often do not perform well on tests that reflect only analytical abilities” (Sternberg).

The first implication of Sternberg’s theory is the way it could change intelligence testing. It is easier to add sections to intelligence tests that measure creative abilities than practical abilities because practical ability is, by nature, situated in a real-world context. In attempting to capture this and put it in a standardized test, it would be very difficult to avoid bias.

Another implication would be in the classroom. Right now, our education system places a lot of emphasis on math and science because those analytical abilities are what standardized tests draw on and therefore developing those helps us achieve better scores. However, in reality, isolated analytical abilities will not get one very far without the supplemental abilities to create and use ideas. So, we can encourage the development of creative and practical intelligences through our curriculum. If we also change the standardized tests, then we could not argue that spending time on creative and practical abilities is wasting time we could be spending preparing for the tests.



Paper Doll

So let me preface this post with a disclaimer. I know when you hear that I am about to analyze a song by John Mayer, many of you will roll your eyes and a few of you may even groan. However, before you go basing your opinions of John Mayer off of “Your Body Is A Wonderland” or other hits of the early 2000’s, go listen to his new album, Paradise Valley. He returns back to his bluesy, folk roots in this album, released this past August. It is slowly working up the ranks as one of my favorite albums and it features an entirely new sound for Mayer. (A little known fact about Mayer is that he began his career trying to make it as a blues guitarist, was told that he would be more successful if he stuck to pop and sang as well, so that is the route that he took initially. Read more about Mayer’s style of guitar-playing and the artists who influenced his style here.)

paradise valley

Now, although I think musically this album is really interesting, most of the lyrics are pretty straightforward. The exception to this is the song “Paper Doll.” I take this song to be an assail on Taylor Swift and also a response to her 2010 hit song, “Dear John.” (Read more about John Mayer’s initial reaction to “Dear John” here.)

Here are the full lyrics:

Paper doll, come try it on
Step out of that black chiffon
Here’s a dress of gold and blue
Sure was fun being good to you

This one we made just for fall
And winter runs a bit too small
This mint green is new for spring
My love didn’t cost a thing

You’re like 22 girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?
For a little paper doll

Fold a scarf, Moroccan red
And tie your hair behind your head
Strap into some heels that hurt
You should’ve kept my undershirt

You’re like twenty-two girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?
For a little paper doll

Cut the cord and pull some strings
And make yourself some angel wings
And if those angel wings don’t fly
Someone’s gonna paint you another sky

‘Cause you’re like twenty-two girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?

‘Cause you’re like twenty-two girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?

john mayer

The first and most direct allusion to Taylor Swift is in the line “You’re like twenty-two girls in one,” which references Taylor Swift’s song “22.” In addition to this allusion, he references lines in Dear John such as “You paint me a blue sky / Then go back and turn it to rain” when he sings “And if those angel wings don’t fly/ Someone’s gonna paint you another sky.” Here, Mayer is essentially telling Swift patronizingly that she needn’t fret about how things turned out with him because she will inevitably find a shiny, new boy to take care of her.

I think Mayer’s mention of various colors in dresses and scarves and such plays two purposes. First, it alludes to Taylor’s song “Red” where she says that “losing him was blue,” but “loving him was red.” It could also allude to the somewhat excessive outfit changes that Swift goes through during her shows. Second, it paints a picture of Taylor that she is shallow, materialistic, and immature. She is more concerned with the pretty dresses she wears than anything real– such as letting herself fall in love.

Also, by comparing Taylor to a paper doll, he compares the physical flimsiness of a paper doll to Taylor’s fickleness in personality. Mayer claimed that his relationship with Swift ended very suddenly, without a phone call or visit for explanation. Take this with a grain of salt, but if this is true, then it would make sense that Mayer thinks of Swift as flaky and fragile.

The last allusion I will talk about is in the lines “Cut the cord and pull some strings/ And make yourself some angel wings.” Taylor Swift is famous for writing songs about boys who have wronged her, which always paints her as the innocent victim. Mayer comments on her tendency to always make herself seem innocent when he says to “make yourself some angel wings.” Angels are pure and innocent, just like Swift claims to be.

Is Intelligence Fixed or Malleable?

As the world pushed through the nineteenth century and entered the twentieth, humankind experienced massive transformations in social, economic, political, cultural, and academic arenas. Although the late 1800’s were a tumultuous time, we did emerge on the other side with amazing advancements in all sorts of areas. One such advancement was the development of the concept of intelligence. Before the late 1850’s, people only maintained a vague idea of what being ‘intelligent’ actually meant. Through the work of intelligence theorists such as Francis Galton, Alred Binet, and Charles Spearman, however, humankind gained a much clearer concept of this abstract phenomenon. The three aforementioned intelligence theorists clarified our definition of intelligence by leaps and bounds, but yet fierce controversy lingers today over the concept. One can understand the nature of this controversy and how the debate over intelligence came into existence by studying the similarities and differences of Galton, Binet, and Spearman.


**Alfred Binet; circa 1904

To understand intelligence, we must first examine a basic scientific and psychological dichotomy: “nature versus nurture.” People toss around this phrase often in debates on intelligence, but what does it actually mean? Francis Galton was allegedly the first to coin the phrase, and it describes the struggle to assign responsibility for particular traits (physical, social, intellectual, etc.) to one’s genetic makeup (nature) or the environment in which one grew up (nurture). Today, there seems to be a bit more of a consensus that nature and nurture interact to produce the people that we become, but back in the early days of intelligence theory, there was no such concession.

I would argue that perhaps the most fundamental divider among intelligence theorists is their view on whether or not humans can change their level of intelligence. This boils down to the nature versus nurture debate. Those who support nature as the stronger influence view intelligence as a fixed, inherited entity. Those who support the nurture side of the argument view intelligence as malleable, or subject to change depending on one’s environment.

Now, let’s take a look at the pioneers of intelligence theory and with which side of the debate their views align. Francis Galton was of the nature camp of the debate. In his book “Hereditary Genius” (1869), Galton “assembled long lists of “eminent” men—judges, poets, scientists, even oarsmen and wrestlers—to show that excellence ran in families” (Holt, Jim). **Read more of the article on Francis Galton’s work here.** The counterargument is that the children of these excellent men could have become excellent because they had grown up in exceptional households. Galton countered this argument with a control group in his experiment of adopted sons of Popes who were still “eminent.”


**Francis Galton; circa 1890

Charles Spearman was in agreement with Galton in that he, too, was a proponent of a fixed view of intelligence. Spearman based his belief off of positive correlations among students’ performances on specific subject tests (such as Latin and Music). He saw that those who did well on one test tended to score higher in general than those who did poorly. This led him to believe that there is a force that underlies all intellectual tasks. Spearman went on to create the concept of “g:” a mental energy that underlies all intellectual tasks. “G” is a fixed mental energy that education, therapy, and training cannot alter. (Howard Gardner, Mindy Kornhaber, and Warren Wake, pg. 58-70)

spearman correlation

**An example of positive correlation for high scores on one test and high scores on another. Read more on the role that correlational research has played in the development in Stephen Jay Gould’s book Mismeasure of Man. For a summary, try looking here.

Alfred Binet, on the other hand, belonged to the nurture side of the argument. In 1904, the French government asked Binet to assist them in organizing their education system to accommodate for the recent switch into mass education. Binet obliged and he and a colleague, Théodore Simon, created mental tests to determine which students were capable of regular schooling and which were not. Binet desired an understanding of how intelligence works so that society could make sound, informed decisions in regards to education. He believed that society could improve the mental capabilities of populations through these decisions. Although Binet’s work eventually led to quantifying people’s intelligence (and what would later turn into Intelligence Quotients, or IQ scores), he did not see this score as fixed. He believed that this number could be changed if a child was placed in the correct environment.

Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

Introduction To Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


Billy Collins was born in 1941 and grew up in Queens, New York. He became a professor of English at Lehman College in the Bronx in 1968, and taught there for over thirty years. Now, he teaches poetry workshops both nationally and internationally. Billy Collins held the title of Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003. **

In “Introduction to Poetry,” Billy Collins expresses his frustration with teaching the process of writing poetry. His students do not seem to grasp the creative process correctly. Billy Collins uses this poem as a way to both express his frustration and demonstrate what proper creative poetry sounds like.

Many people who want to write poetry have a preconceived notion of how the poem should look and sound or what specific message they want to convey. Although this sounds like a good idea, it often becomes forced and ruins the poem. I believe this poem preaches the necessity of honesty in writing poetry. In “Introduction to Poetry,” Billy Collins explains that in order to write a good poem, a writer cannot  “tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.” He means to say that the creative writing process should not be forced- otherwise, it is a fair indication that the author is doing something wrong. There should be no challenge to “find out what [the poem] really means” if the author is writing honestly. The writer must open his mind and allow the ideas to flow out naturally into the poem, rather than manipulate them to fit a preconception.

Instead of trying to jam the poem into a certain mold, Billy Collins suggests letting the poem take on its own form. He gives various ideas of how to stir up some genuine imagination such as dropping a mouse into the poem, waterskiing across the surface of the poem, and feeling the walls of the poem for a light switch. I find it very clever that Collins preaches the importance of creativity and allowing a poem to take on its natural form by incorporating several absurd ideas of what to do to a poem himself. He somewhat personifies the poem in question by suggesting that his students do physical actions to it, as if the words and concepts of a poem are tangible. This demonstrates the creativity that he claims is missing in his students’ work.

It is difficult to say without having talked to Billy Collins, but I would venture to assume that he does not usually know how his poetry will turn out. He may start with an idea that, by the end, has completely transformed into something else. I think the fleeting nature of poetry as Collins suggests sounds somewhat frustrating, but it could also be part of the magic involved in the creative process. People are accustomed to being in control at all times; I think it would be cathartic to allow the brain to take the backseat and have creativity guide the way.

**Read more of Billy Collins’ poetry here.

The Dangling Conversation

I assume many of you are familiar with Simon & Garfunkel’s songs The Sound of Silence and Mrs. Robinson. I love these songs, too, but they do not even scratch the surface of the heavenly pool of pieces produced by this powerful duo. I often just read Simon & Garfunkel songs without any music because their lyrics can stand as poetry on their own. Combined with complex acoustic guitar fingerings and mind-blowing harmonies, Simon & Garfunkel’s beautiful words create thought-provoking, inspiring, and enlightening songs.

simon and garfunkel

One of my favorite pieces by Simon & Garfunkel is The Dangling Conversation. I could not bring myself to pick just one section to share with you, so here is the full song:

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

The music in The Dangling Conversation is rather simple and quiet, but the lyrics expose Simon & Garfunkel’s creative genius. I believe this song tells the story of two people falling out of love. There is an important conversation to have that neither person is willing to bring up, and so it becomes “the dangling conversation” that rips them apart.

The idea presented in the very first line: “It’s a still life water color,” intrigued me. Water color is a form of painting where precision does not matter. In fact, the whole point of water color is to have soft edges, mixed colors, and a more impressionistic appearance. Still life is the exact opposite. The point of still life painting is to portray stationary items (usually something mundane like a bowl of fruit or candles on a table) as accurately as possible. I think Simon & Garfunkel use the juxtaposition of “a still life water color” to express the tragic paradox in the lovers’ relationship. Where they should have clarity, they have obfuscation. The “dangling conversation” causes their still life relationship to become blurred like a water color.

The lines “and the superficial sighs/ the borders of our lives” repeats throughout the song. Through these words, the listener can easily see two lovers sitting in the same room…no speaking, only the occasional unnoticed sigh. These sighs are superficial because they convey no meaning to the other person. Whereas a lover in a thriving relationship would hear his or her partner sigh and ask what was wrong, these lovers simply ignore the sighs and accept them as the “border.” Neither lover asks what is wrong because they both know. They refuse to talk about the “dangling conversation,” and so accept the occasional sigh as the limit.

simon and garfunkel 2

Unit 4 Ideas

When I think of the word controversy, I think of issues such as health care, abortion, gay rights, etc. However, there are a lot of other controversies that hit much closer to home, as well. Throughout the last couple weeks, my group tossed a lot of ideas around as to what controversy we can focus on with which we can survey students at Penn State. What do Penn State students have particular insight on? What might they care about?

One idea for our Unit 4 controversy is how many THON groups host parties with alcohol. Although there is nothing extraordinarily shocking about college kids drinking beer, drinking takes on a different light when it is done under an organization like THON. The Penn State Dance Marathon is a massive fundraiser to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. The slogan one can see everywhere around campus is “FTK:” For The Kids. Some people argue that people should not party with their THON groups because it is not “FTK-appropriate.”

Another controversy we discussed is the legalization of marijuana. It is not legal in some states to grow and/or use marijuana. With the passing of those laws came the increase in many people’s interest in the topic. Many people argue that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, so since alcohol is legal for people over 21 years, marijuana should be, too. Others argue that marijuana is much more powerful than alcohol because it takes until someone abuses alcohol to feel its effects.

Personally, I think either of these controversies would arouse a lot of response from the people we interview. Both topics hit home with specific (and very prevalent) groups at Penn State. My concern about both controversies (but especially THON) is that people will not want to give information about it. We would keep everyone anonymous, but I feel that people will hesitate to tell of their personal experience with THON parties because they do not want to get anyone in trouble and/or they do not want to indicate that they had any part of it. And for the marijuana legalization controversy, people will probably hesitate to answer because as of right now, marijuana is still illegal in Pennsylvania. Anyone who argues that the government should legalize it might hesitate to have their name (or anonymous ideas) associated with the topic.

A Very Serious Analysis of “What Time Is It? (Summertime)”

On December 2006, Disney released the first film of the trilogy High School Musical. America fell in love with Troy and Gabriella’s forbidden romance, Sharpay and Ryan’s ambitious odyssey to the top, and the thrilling tale of Wildcat betrayal and redemption. Not even a year later, Disney released the second installation of America’s favorite romance story. High School Musical 2 captured our hearts all over again. In a stroke of brilliance, the writers applied an identical plot line to a slightly different setting with slightly different songs to create a concordant masterpiece.

To provide an example of this musical’s creative ingenuity, let’s take a close look at the opening number to High School Musical 2: “What Time Is It? (Summertime).”

What time is it?
It’s our vacation
What time is it?
Party time
That’s right, say it loud

What time is it?
The time of our lives
What time is it?
School’s out, scream and shout!

Repetition is a method in poetry and song-writing used to emphasize the importance of a certain concept. Throughout the piece, the Wildcats repeat the question “What time is it?,” emphasizing their uncertainty. Without time, there is no basic mechanism to keep people on track and keep our society running like clockwork. Through their repetition of “What time is it?” these misguided teens are expressing their overwhelming disorientation and misguided “anticipation.”

The group is “off the clock” and they turn to controversial means to handle their underlying purposelessness:

We’ve got no rules
No summer school
I’m free to shop till I drop

It’s an education vacation

[Sharpay and Ryan]
And the party never has to stop

Let’s live it up
Party down
That’s what the summer’s all about

Unfortunately, the Wildcats are responding to their crisis with excessive partying and neglect of their responsibilities. Sharpay caves to her shopping addiction, Ryan takes an “education vacation,” and the whole team simply wants to “live it up” and “party down.” If these teens are not careful, they could permanently injure themselves or their futures. “What Time Is It? (Summertime)” starts High School Musical 2 on a heart-wrenching, suspenseful note as the struggle of our favorite Wildcat characters fills our ears and our hearts. Watch the rest of this clever sequel to discover the stunning and unpredictable resolution!
Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmania.com/what_time_is_it_summertime_lyrics_high_school_musical_2.html
All about High School+Musical+2: http://www.musictory.com/music/High+School+Musical+2

TED Talks

Over the last several years, TED Talks have taken the country by storm. This form of “edutainment” is transforming the face of rhetoric and the dissemination of information. TED Talks are an important rhetorical development for a few reasons. 

TED Talks differ from regular speeches in their audience-centered focus. The goal of a speech is to spread knowledge about a topic. Although this is the end goal of a TED Talk as well, TED Talks first seek to engage the audience as one of the goals. With this goal in mind, speakers are far more concerned about captivating the audience’s interest than they would be in a speech. One example of how TED Talks seek to engage the audience is by expurgating the stage and speaker of obstacles. The speaker moves around the stage rather than leaning on a podium, which opens up the speaker to the room. The speaker does not hold notes and makes eye contact with the audience instead.

Why is all this important? It makes information readily available to anyone and everyone. Contrary to speeches where the usual audience consists of scholars or people interested in that particular subject, TED Talks seek to engage the masses. Beyond the style of rhetoric, TED Talks are also usually posted on www.ted.com, making them available to anyone on the planet. 

The Breakfast Club


“Saturday, March 24,1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062. Dear Mr. Vernon, We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.”

These are the opening lines to my favorite movie of all time: The Breakfast Club. This 1985 teenage drama is, in my opinion, pure cinematic perfection. (I could be biased… But who wouldn’t be after watching it 30+ times?) The movie tells the story of five seniors in high school who land themselves in a Saturday detention for various reasons that are explained as the movie unfolds. Claire is the rich popular girl, and Andrew is a varsity wrestler. John Bender is the bad-boy delinquent, Brian is the socially-oblivious dork, and Allison is the reclusive “basket case.” At first, they all keep to themselves with the exception of Claire and Andrew, who are both popular and thus in the same crowd. Bender entertains himself by provoking and teasing the other students. This eventually leads to conversations where the students get to know personal information about each other. They push each other to their limits. By the end of the day, the characters have let their guards down and have allowed everyone to see the kind of people they are behind the guise of their respective social groups.


For those of you who have not seen The Breakfast Club, I look at it as the more mature parallel to Mean Girls. They both had similar effects on me, anyway. However, where Mean Girls remained a comedy, The Breakfast Club is more of a drama, and covers far more serious topics such as drug use, suicide, and sex. The film illustrates the variety of pressures that can control a teenager’s life. It made me realize that every teen, regardless of appearance or social status, deals with the same problems. This priceless bit of insight changed the way I look at people in my school and community. I do not see people as “jocks” or “druggies;” instead I look at them and I wonder what their life is like. Infiltrating the wall everyone puts up around themselves helps me to understand people better. I empathize. Once I realized that I didn’t have to feel intimidated or inhibited just because someone is in a different social group, it allowed me to connect with so many more people. As Andrew Clark puts it: “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”The_Breakfast_Club_372 

Edward Scissor Pointe Shoes

When I say the word “ballerina,” what comes to mind? If you are like most of the world, you will think of little girls in pink tutus or women in flowing gowns twirling and leaping across a stage. Those images of beauty and flawless movement are exactly what ballerinas want their audience to see. However, underneath their smiling facade lurks brutal intensity and painful dedication.

This past August, artist Javier Perez released a video called “En Puntas” that demonstrates the mental and physical struggle ballet dancers endure to perfect their movement. In the video, Amelie Segarra dances on top of a grand piano en pointe. (Pointe is a form of ballet done in shoes that contain layers of densely packed paper, fabric, and cardboard in the front. Pointe shoes allow dancers to balance on their toes instead of the balls of their feet, which elongates their legs and exaggerates their movements.) However, Amelie Segarra’s pointe shoes are different- giant steel knives were attached to the bottom. Now not only is she balancing on her toes, but she is doing that on the edge of a blade.Javier-Perez-En-Puntas-3       en-puntas-L-fzvplO


In the video, Amelie attempts to dance on top of the grand piano. The knives scrape across the wood, dangerously close to the edge of the piano, creating a penetrating scratching noise. I think this represents the fine line pointe dancers tread between art and torture. Right in the middle of those ideas is dramatic perfection. The way Segarra flirts with the edge of the piano and comes close to falling off several times deliberately makes the audience on edge (bah dum tss). Javier Perez wants the audience to feel anxiety over Amelie’s dance because that gives insight into the intensity of a ballet dancer’s stenuous training.

Throughout the video, Segarra’s movements become increasingly violent. She bourres and stabs at the piano. At a few points, she screams out at her feet in frustration. The severity of her movements and shouts represent the strain dancers put on their bodies to reach perfection. Particularly in ballet, dance moves are specific and exact. If a ballerina cannot perform precisely, she is not needed. The stakes are high for professional ballerinas, so they put their bodies through tremendous strain in order to live up to expectations. This level of pressure is physically and mentally exhausting, and Perez captures this battle in Segarra’s violence.

So, moral of the story: although dancers make it look easy, never underestimate the intense dedication and training that goes into ballet.