Ballet is a form of dance that first began during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century. Its purpose was entertainment and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. While ballet can be beautiful there are still many cons and negative aspects. I grew up doing it for years, but currently, I can not imagine continuing it. I decided I had to leave it.
Almost all ballet dancers are put into the art when they are young. It is the parents’ wish for them, they are the one who chooses their passion. These ballet dancers grow up in a separate world from the rest. The ballet world can be cruel, competitive, and damaging to a dancer. When you practice ballet you are never enough.
In an essay by Barry Lopez, “Children in the Woods” he explains how when he was a young boy he stopped abruptly on the sidewalk when he noticed a pattern of sunlight trapped in a spiraling imperfection in a windowpane. An elderly woman commented saying, “how remarkable it is that children notice these things”. Lopez goes on to say that as a child these words affected him greatly, and perhaps have lasted a lifetime. Young ballet dancers are no different, when constantly being told corrections, and constantly being compared, the effects can be detrimental and last a lifetime.
Ballet dancers grow up learning to fit into and be bound by strict standards. The ideal Ballet Body standards states, “slim, with a long neck, a shortish to medium length torso, long legs with complimentary long arms and high insteps…”. The standards these dancers are forced into are similar to the message in the poem “A Work of Artifice” by Marge Piercy. This poem uses the metaphor of stunting a plant’s growth to describe how women are stunted by men in many aspects of life. “The bound feet…the hair in curlers…”, exemplifies the rigid regiment females, and ballerinas have to follow.
However, the beauty of ballet is undeniable. It is a sport and art combined. Ballerinas have to portray themselves as each move they make is effortless. In reality, it is the most difficult thing. Have you ever seen what ballerinas’ feet look like? Enduring all that pain but still, every step is graceful, they dance like a feather gliding in the wind. The insane dedication of the dancers, the hours they put into this art form. These dancers become engrossed with the art, it being their very main focus. This is a similar kind of obsession that Godfrey (Doc) Daniel had, “…a man discovered a phone booth in the middle of the desert. That became his obsession”, (Mojave Phone Booth Podcast). This passion leads to amazing things, just as the adventure Doc went through when on his mission, the ballerinas become insanely talented.
Ballet is a beautiful art, but not a lifestyle. The intricate mind-bending way ballerinas dance will always be beautiful. The cons simply weighed me down too much, and I now appreciate the strict art from afar.