The Truth About Ballet
The bloody Band-Aids, knotted lamb’s wool, rosin stained pointe shoes, twinkling tiaras, overused nail clippers, pristine tutus, ripped tights, dirty canvas slippers, salty sweat and tears: these are the coals of my heart. Dancing is the flame. Maybe it’s an addiction, maybe it’s a necessity, but no matter what it is, it is my passion.
Nothing compares to the feeling of lacing up a pointe shoe, adorning a neat bun, fluffing a tutu, stretching one last stretch, taking a deep breath then stepping into the spotlight. A dancer’s final moments in the wing never change, yet somehow they are never the same. The adrenaline rush pushes her to dance differently than she has in any rehearsal. She can feel the friendly admiration each pair of eyes generates, creating an echoing eerie yet energetic silence. The stares permeate the skin and flow into the bloodstream, heart and body. The Grande jetes are more extended, the developpes higher, every pirouette quicker, and each port de bras more fluid. Together the movements depict an ever escalating story like never before. A spectator witnesses a miracle every time a dancer takes the stage. The years of training, the hours of rehearsal, the passion developed by a devoted individual are displayed in a perfectly unique sequence. The choreography tells the story of star crossed lovers or lovers denied or sugar plum fairies dancing in one’s head. Every story, even the darkest one, is told in the most elegant fashion. The art is breathtaking and fascinating, yet also extraordinarily deceptive.
The blistered toes, the deformed body, the strict teachers, the painful stretches, and the perseverance of a determined dancer make the passion so unbelievable. The hard work that goes into learning the basic technique makes filling the movement with individual flair rewarding. A dancer pours all she has into the movement, making even the most mundane movements distinctively hers. Devoting one’s self to the painful hobby, ballet, in the hopes of expressing one’s emotions through dance, is a challenge many do not take. The determination of a dancer overpowers the suffering that grace necessitates, and makes every step magical. The dancer hides the pain, learns to live with it, and dances from the heart.
The strict perseverance ballet dictates makes the action more than an ordinary hobby; ballet evolves into a lifestyle. It is common to see a ballerina dance down the aisles of Shop Rite, mark steps while sitting in class, penchee when picking objects up or use the excuse “Sorry, I have rehearsal.” Ballet technique may only be “taught” in the studio, but the passion that validates the technique is learned and integrated outside of rehearsals. However, the daily life of a ballerina is nothing compared to performance day. Performance provides a sensation of pure empowerment and freedom. As a dancer steps off the stage, her heart pounding and a satisfied smile on her face, she knows this is why she endured the intense classes; this is why I persevered – this feeling of perfection that flows through my veins.