“Dancing is creating a sculpture that is visible only for a moment.” – Erol Ozan
A fact: Almost every little girl wants to be a ballerina when they grow up.
Another fact: No one knows the amount of effort that has to be put in to even fathom that as a reality.
I was apart of the ballet world for seven years.
It brought many positives into my life but equally as many negatives. I’m thankful I made the decision to leave it. I sadly ended up feeling stuck and confined in the world I wanted to be a part of so badly. I wouldn’t change that time of my life for anything though. A real childhood and teenage years were unnecessary in mind.
I got a good look at the inside world of ballet. It is a tight-knit community, everyone knows of everyone. Especially when it comes to companies. If you have a bad attitude once, everyone will know about it. Good luck getting hired after that.
It originated during the Italian Renaissance of the 15th century. They had dancing masters teach the nobleman and woman steps and put on performances. Ballet was introduced to the French after Catherine de Medici married King Henry the second. It grew in France throughout the next hundred years. Pointe shoes were introduced around the 1850s to help elongate the lines of a dancer.
The ballet world has expanded a lot since its beginnings. A lot of neoclassical and more contemporary pieces have emerged. Pointe shoes have evolved as well. From their humble beginning having very little support. They now have shanks, boxes, and vamps that are all customizable to fit the dancer’s needs. It is starting to get more diverse but the world of ballet is one of the slowest progressing arts out there.
My hope for the future of ballet is that it’ll be breaking the boundaries that it desperately holds onto today. The ones that surround race, gender, and all that it means to be human are often stripped away when you enter the studio. Not to mention the pressure to have the perfect “ballet body” which leads a lot of dancers into having an eating disorder. Since I am no longer dancing, I want to go to the ballet and have the joy of seeing humans on stage. I want to see them loving what they are doing and being them.
I highly suggest that everyone tries ballet. It doesn’t matter if you are forty-five and in the studio for the first time. Just do it. It makes you feel connected to your body and the music in ways I can’t describe. There is something for everyone to gain. Remember that it is supposed to be fun though, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re all learning.