Ballet originated in 15th century Italian Renaissance courts, later developing into a performance dance in France and Russia, and over the centuries, has become a widespread and influential art form with many evolving stylistic variations (from classic to contemporary) and teaching methods (no less than half a dozen).

A ballet dancer [danseuse (female) danseur (male)] is a dancer who practices the art of classical ballet based on traditional technique and vocabulary.  Many years of extensive training (starting as early as age 2) are required before a ballet dancer has a chance to join a professional ballet company, and there is an established hierarchy ranking system within a company as well as strict gender roles.  Ballet training also takes a toll on a dancer’s body, making ballet dancers prone to serious injury after years of continuous physical strain.

The strength and stamina required of ballet dancers are not always obvious to a spectator as they make the physical demands of jumps, turns and lifts on pointe appear to be effortless during a performance, and there’s seldom a mention of a dancer’s personal sacrifice and total commitment.  In these short videos, ballet dancers tell their stories and provide a glimpse of the goings-on backstage and behind-the-scenes.

 

 

En pointe (‘on the tips of their toes’) is classical ballet technique performed wearing special pointe shoes that enable a dancer to support all body weight on a fully extended vertical foot.  Consequently, the construction and wearing of pointe shoes involves a very complicated process unique to each ballet dancer.

 

The tutu is a costume dress worn in a ballet performance, made of fabrics such as tarlatan, muslin, silk, tulle, gauze and nylon.  There are two basic types of modern tutus as well as several derivative styles: the Romantic tutu is soft and bell-shaped with the skirt reaching down between a dancer’s knee and ankle;  the Classical tutu is short, stiff and projects horizontally from the dancer’s waist and hip.

 

Watch:  The DanceThe free-to-watch Dance Channel features On2In2™ collection of favorite dance videos, an On2In2™ video collection of dance performances and inspirational stories

 

 

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Feature photo is courtesy of Flickr user, Pilar Castro, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Posted by Zola Zeester

Zola is a playmaker, the On2In2™ recreation guru and primary source of inspiration for this article. Currently resides at Zeester Media HQ.

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