Monday, November 30, 2015
I went to see The Nutcracker yesterday with my Mum and sister. This was the first time I've ever seen a live ballet performance, and I must say that I'm impressed.
We discussed the experience afterwards, and we all agreed that a large part of the allure of ballet has to do with the impression of ease, lightness and grace of movement the dancers are able to create.
The truth, however, is something quite different. Ballet is a very demanding form of art, and there are numerous ballerinas and male dancers who have to give it up at some point, simply because the physical demands are just too high. I just read an article about a female ballerina who said that being a professional ballet dancer means that there is always pain, you just have to learn to live with it. The stories of bloody ballet slippers are not just urban legends, and quite often the dancers' feet ache so much that every step hurts.
That is why I can easily understand how only the most dedicated and motivated dancers are the ones that remain in this form of art, and that in turn might have an effect on the competition between individual dancers. Theatre groups and dance companies may be wretched places to work, and back-stabbing is a trick of the trade. This of course applies also to other performing arts, where the leading characters and soloists get the most applause and fans' attention. This is another reason why I admire the physical and mental abilities top ballet dancers have; not everyone could endure both the physical pain and psychological stress the way they do.I have one daughter, and if she told me she wanted to become a ballerina, I would probably have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand; if you can make it, it is a fine and elegant career, but on the other hand, there are many easier ways to make a living!