The world of arts has a lot of myths associated with it. Be it dance or drama, people have a lot of speculations regarding these forms of art.
However, let us decode ballet, the graceful classical dance form:
1. Take A Step
At what age does one learn to take control of one’s movements? In ballet, you can start from the age of 3. It prepares you to sway to the music. From 4 years till the kid is 10, they are taught very basic movements. At 11, they can learn en pointe. Discipline, dedication and hard work make a dancer. They even learn how to express themselves through moves and how to emote through the face.
2. Shape Of You
Did you know that ballet dancers are never shorter than 5’3″? This is because the “foot stretch” is only possible for all people and is a crucial part of ballet. They should weigh between 88 lbs and 130 lbs. Don’t think they are fragile though. They are extremely strong and fit. The length of the legs is something only good genes can ensure but it is a must for this dance form.
Maintaining your body is not an easy task as you may have to give up on things you love the most. Usually, they avoid caffeine, high carbohydrates, and excessive sugar. Ballet dancers mostly eat all kinds of fruits, vegetables, fish, and cereal. They have to follow a stricter diet a week before their performance to look elegant and graceful.
Some dancers believe that the proportions matter the most. They do not completely neglect a food group and eat everything in small amounts. Balance is the key for food and dance!
4. Backstage Moments
Do you think being a professional dancer is an easy job with no tight schedule? Then you are absolutely wrong. A ballet dancer’s working day involves seven hours of uninterrupted practice without food breaks. There is a hierarchy in every field, where the corps de ballet is followed by the master and then the solo. There are not many men practicing ballet and the women are usually contacted for shows. They get their pedicure done but try not to remove the calluses, as the rough skin acts as a protective shield against pain.
There is a flipside to all the glamorous steps we see on stage. The dancers are victims of eating disorders, have low bone mineral density, and fracture their first rib. To avoid muscle injuries, they get regular toning massages and also relaxing massages done. Natural recharging agents would include a walk, taking a long bath with essential oils, and of 8 hours of sleep. The signature tight bun and foundation-based makeup can affect the health of the hair and skin respectively. The costumes are tight too and sometimes difficult to wear for long periods of time.
While finding time for regular practice and getting back to shape can be very scary, ballet dancers can enjoy the best of both the worlds with family support and discipline. Some manage to bounce back after a short break while some stop doing it professionally as the routine gets rigorous. The female body can do wonders and maternity will not hamper it.
All the hard work pays off when these dancers glide gracefully on the stage and inspire others. They tell a story through gestures and music, touching the soul of many. Ballet is truly an art.
Learning any art requires patience and a lot of sacrifices. Ballet is no different. The end result is a strong body and mind willing to express itself beautifully. Go dance and you too will feel happiness at your feet!