The Lure and Dangers of Ballet

Ballet dancing poses a conundrum to most people. It is so aesthetically pleasing to the sight that one does not want to see powerful performances come to an end. On the other side of the spectrum, much focus is unnecessarily spent on its undeserved tag of being the past time of the rich and famous. However, to the dancers who passionately trained in ballet and who dedicate every waking hour to the perfection of their craft, it is the realization of a dream. Isabella Boylston, the principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater, who has taken on the exciting and challenging roles of Nikiya in La Bayadere and Kitri in Don Quijote, provided a glimpse of what it means to be a successful ballet dancer, in an interview shown by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, when she said:

Telling a story through dance is a combination of analysis and also intuition with the most subtle detail, the placement of an arm or the timing of an arabesque. I try to inflect each step with a meaning. Ballet dancers are really some of the best athletes in the world. It’s so hard on the body what we do, and our job is to make it look easy. For me when it [is] a really great show, there’s no self-awareness, whatsoever… It does feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself.

Not everyone who aspires to become an elite ballet dancer will reach that rarefied level. It is because only a few have the dedication and commitment to go through the grueling and endless ballet practices to become a prima ballerina. Those who only want to savor the exciting life of ballet, and, there are many of us, need not fret, however. Cheryl Ale, Founding Director, Master Teacher, and author of the Revolutionary Principles of Movement (RPM) is pushing forward the idea that anyone can take ballet lessons, no matter whether you have the natural proclivity for it or not.

Those who are doing ballet or intending to take ballet lessons must be careful of training incidents caused by strain, overuse of muscles, and contortionist choreography that have put to a screeching halt 50% of the careers of dancers aged 12-20. When Cheryl Ale went into ballet, she did so despite a previously broken left leg that had never healed properly. Her success story and the cornerstone Revolutionary Principles of Movement (RPM) that turned her life around are discussed in her book, The Spark.

With the RPM, we invite you to join the movement for change for the betterment of our children in the world of ballet.

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