Popular culture, famous entertainers, and competitive dance shows have painted ballet dance in a new light. The art form is more common among men than ever before, and many of the myths and preconceptions about the dance have become notions of the past. However, many people may still have concerns about the perception of ballet dancers. Here are some of the common myths about ballet, and why they are false.
Myth #1: Ballet Dancers Are Unhealthy
Ballet dancers spend five to eight hours each day dancing, stretching, and practicing—imagine how slim anyone would be if they exercised this much! However, many people look at ballet dancers and believe they have eating disorders and are unhealthy because of their slim figures. This is far from the truth. Ballet involves elongated, stretched movements, which creates longer and leaner lines in the body. Whereas sports like football or soccer can create bulkier muscles. Although ballet dancers are slender, they must be very healthy and eat right to have the energy to get through long performances and practice days. They often snack multiple times during the day rather than eat huge meals, which also keeps their metabolism working all day long.
Myth #2: Ballet Is a Sport for Girls
Although many pictures typically portray girls and women as ballet dancers, men also participate in the dance. There are many successful male ballet dancers who perform in huge theatre and performance groups. They don’t wear tutus, and although they wear tights as their costume, their masculinity is still very evident from their bold moves and strong physique. Ballet is much more than tutus and dance slippers—it translates deep emotion and ideas through superhuman jumps, incredible spins, and breakneck turns across the stage. Both young men and women train for years to perform these physical feats that very few athletes from other sports could attempt.
Myth #3: Ballet Dance Lessons Are Very Expensive
Ballet performance tickets and classes are not as expensive as you might think. The idea that ballet lessons are expensive comes from the persistent belief that it is an elegant activity for the wealthy. In many major cities around the world, classes are no more expensive than any other sport.
Myth #4: Ballet Dancing Is Boring
If you can enjoy a movie or theatre play, you’ll probably enjoy ballet. The performances are about the same length as a standard feature film, and there is an intermission between acts so you can take a break, get refreshments, and stretch your legs. The key to really enjoying a ballet performance is to pay attention. Listen to the music, try to understand what the performers are saying through their movements and emotions. Every single element on stage has a purpose, just like a good movie.
Myth #5: Ballet Dancers Stand on Their Toes Throughout the Entire Show
Ballet dancers always seem to be on their toes in photographs and videos, and perhaps this is why so many believe they stand on their toes throughout the entire show. However, this is far from the truth. In most classical ballets, the women go up and down on their pointe shoes for most movements. Other dancers use flat shoes, and some even wear heels. In modern ballets, some women may not wear pointe shoes at all, choosing the comfort and flexibility of soft slippers.
Myth #6: Ballet Doesn’t Change/It’s Old-Fashioned
Although ballet has its roots in the 17th century, it’s form and style have constantly been evolving. Ballet has changed drastically since the late 20th and early 21st centuries in many ways: incorporating more men, blending with other dance styles, breaking from traditional costume to support character personalities, and much more. New technology has also been incorporated into ballet, with LCD effects and backdrop projections to name a few.
Myth #7: Ballet Is Intimidating
Some forms of high art like opera, Russian literature, and ballet can have the tendency to be intimidating, but ballet is no different than any other dance form in the sense that it is fun, challenging, and inspiring. Ballet dancers develop flexibility, strength, focus, teamwork, confidence, and perseverance.
Myth #8: Ballet Dancers Are Weak and Fragile
According to ballet teachers and even football players who have tried the sport, ballet is not easy. It isn’t just for fragile, little people, it is enormously challenging physically and mentally. Ballet dancers must remember tons of choreography and have the strength to jump incredibly high, make solid landings, and even carry each other across the stage or perform amazing lifts. There’s a lot more strength required to ballet than you may think, so if you’re looking for a way to develop physical strength, control and focus, ballet is the dance for you.
Sign Up for Ballet Dance Classes at Performing Dance Arts Studio
If you’ve been thinking about signing up your child for ballet dance lessons in Toronto but were discouraged by any of the myths above, let us reassure you. At Performing Dance Arts, our experienced and talented teachers will help your child see the benefits of ballet classes and help them reap the benefits of the art form.
Ballet works as a solid foundation for all other types of dance, and we want to help your child develop the fundamentals for their future as dancers, whatever style they choose as they grow older. Exposure to ballet will develop athletic skills that will be useful for the rest of their lives. There are also benefits like improved communication skills and making new friends in a fun environment. Furthermore, athleticism developed in ballet is proven to outperform other types of athletes in a number of areas!
Our professional studios are fully equipped to train students of all experience levels. To learn more about our dance programs and styles, and to sign up your child for classes, contact us or visit us at one of our locations.