If you can’t get rid of the skeletons in your closet, you’d best teach them to dance” – George Bernard Shaw
Often mesmerizing, the art of ballet is world-renowned for its complexity in technique and beauty in its simplicity. The image of a spotlight focusing on a ballerina with her glimmering tutu on a dark stage maybe cliché, but is definitely one that always exhilarates. With the discipline involved in learning it and the relentless pressure on the human body, ballet can quite easily be compared to a sport. B-Change classifies it as sports entertainment given the revenue it generates across the world. Over the ages, ballet has lent itself to fusing with other art forms and always producing some enthralling pieces.
The Perfect Art
Originating in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, ballet spread to France and Russia, growing into a widespread, highly technical concert dance form. Today, we have three main types of ballet:
Classical ballet is based on traditional techniques and is named after its region of origin viz. French ballet, Italian ballet and Russian ballet etc. If you have a chance try to make it to one of these ballets: Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Cindrella and Romeo & Juliet.
Neoclassical ballet is a style that conforms to classical ballet technique and vocabulary, but deviates from classical ballet through such differences as unusually fast dance tempos and its addition of non-traditional technical feats. Spacing in neoclassical ballet is usually more modern or complex than in classical ballet.
Contemporary ballet includes elements of both classical ballet and modern dance. Unlike the other kinds, contemporary ballet tends to deal with current controversial subjects and doesn’t necessarily tell a story. However, classical ballet is more likely to tell a story through its performance, normally a fairy tale.
The precise movements of ballet dancers require a profound study to appreciate and/or critique the intricacies of this spectacular art form. Beyond its apparent catharsis, ballet aims to create an all-round form of art, tingling the mind with effects that are only subconsciously recorded by the human brain. It uses light and darkness to create art. There is also an eclectic mix of silence and music to entice the mind and soul.
Movies like the Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky, throw light on how difficult and strenuous the journey of ballerinas are. This movie (despite its vulgarity) should not be missed.
Not many appreciate the physics involved in perfecting ballet. For example, dancers make use of the position of their hands and legs to control the speed of the turn in a pirouette and in the grand jeté to create the illusion of floating above the stage. One miscalculated leap or a faulty landing could lead to a torn tendon and the end of a career. It’s all about precision (that is beautiful).
For those of you who want to know more about the ‘how’s of it all, this link will give you a brief idea:
Learning to twirl
Learning ballet takes years of persistence and dedication. Mastery takes a lifetime. Even after having earned the title of ‘ballet virtuoso’, it demands constant practice to retain proficiency. Even deciding what type of ballet you want to learn is an important choice, as competition level judging can pick out even the slightest flaws in movement. Absolute grace is expected and nothing short will be accepted, ballet has come to be known as the “perfect” art.
Ballet is best started at an early age to facilitate the growth and strengthening of various muscles, bones and tendons especially required for dancers.
If you’re interested, we have put together the list of schools you can learn ballet from in the UAE:
Featured image courtesy of www.forwallpaper.com