The world of ballet is one facet of art that raises curiosity to the minds of many. Watching it in front of the stage seems like an enchanting spectacle that never fails to leave the audience in awe. But what happens before the curtain opens? Jackie Kennedy, a former Royal Ballet dancer shares an exclusive backstage info on what it actually feels like to be on this quest for perfection.
1. Pointe is extremely painful
Those firm wooden blocks that ballerinas precisely pirouette aren’t actually forgiving to the toes. As a matter of fact, they are agonizing. The high pain tolerance that ballerinas endure during the whole pointe work is impressive. It takes great measures to hide the torture on their feet while also dancing as if they are floating in clouds. Before the days were toe pads weren’t invented yet, animal wool or toilet papers were stuck inside pointe shoes to prevent bruised toe nails and blisters.
2. Ballet dancers aim for nothing but perfection
Practice is vital among ballet dancers therefore they need to repeatedly perform their delicate movements until all of their muscles are sore. And it’s not just a typical practice, they prepare just like actors who need to research about their role and internalize it. The most painful preparation is the repetition of physical movements to leave zero room for error during the final performance.
3. Ethereal costumes take up a lot of space
Ballet is a work of art and it is widely-appreciated among elites. A perfect ballet performance wouldn’t be complete without the magical costume that’s made with detailed craftsmanship. The wardrobe department for ballet dancers is huge! They take up almost a space of a museum.
4. Anorexia is uncommon
Many ballet dancers are careful with their diet. This is because they still need food to give them energy to dance. Though they are not allowed to perform a full length ballet on a heavy stomach, proper food intake is still essential. Some managed to stay healthy while others are simply all over the place.
5. Punishing schedules
The schedule of a ballet dancer is as hectic as you would imagine it would. During events, they have to face more than 10 hours of tiring physical practice every day. This is because they are not only rehearsing for one performance. They could be practicing for two different classics while also rehearsing for several triple bills in the course of one week.
6. Comradery is very essential
Ballet dancers train together, do shows together, and sometimes live in the same place together. With this, it is undeniable that there are certain animalistic intimacy that happens between dancers. Apart from this, they also share certain rituals before performing, like stomping their pointe shoes on the backstage to prevent having noisy feet when performing. The classic “break a leg or good luck” is also exchanged before every performance but ballerinas refer to it as “chukkers.”
Now you know how hard and complex it is to become a ballerina, would you like to become one? But, come to think of it – the whole process makes for a perfect ballerina and reveals the beautiful and exquisite art of ballet dancing.
1st and Featured image from https://pixabay.com/photos/ballet-shoes-dance-roses-flowers-2326987/
2nd image from https://pixabay.com/photos/ballet-shoes-dance-roses-flowers-2326987/