Ballerinas are badass
Posted on 24 April 2016
"Ouch! This is actually harder than I thought!"
That was a direct quote from a friend of mine who underestimated the simple action of pointing of a toe in a tendu position. When playfully telling me how simple ballet is; that"It's practically being a full-time fairy", I suggested they try doing a basic ballet step- the tendu. A tendu in ballet is an outward stretch of a fully pointed foot extending from a straight leg, while simultaneously straightening the standing leg. Though this is one of the elementary movements in ballet, my friend was challenged by the action of balancing on one leg, pointing their foot from the toes to ankle, and trying to maintain straight knees.
As professional ballet dancers, we are trained to make everything look easy. No matter how complicated or easy the step, our primary job is to show our audience the emotion or overall story our movements are conveying on stage. There is complexity to something as simple as balancing on one leg, to achieving multiple fuete pirouette turns, to a sequence of grand jete jumps on a slanted, raked stage. We are expected to not show physical difficulty, and keep dancing through pain, injuries, etc.
Ballet in its bones is a graceful art form, guided by the technical athleticism. Its foundation is strict and disciplined, yet layered and dressed in array of pure emotions, creating whatever the dancer wants to present to an audience. In a sense, I was content when my friend thought ballet was easy- that meant I was doing my job!