If you have ever watched a professional dancer perform, you may have wondered how they look so flawless? How is it they make it look so easy? The answer is pretty straight forward, it’s through ballet. Ballet was one of the very first genres of dance, and from it many other styles were born.
While many professional ballerinas have to dance in pointe shoes, which are shoes designed so that you may dance on top of your toes, not all dancers have to. Many dancers take ballet to improve in other styles of dance, not to become the next prima ballerina. Ballet is the most important genre because it is the basis of most other genres and it’s where all technique comes from. Without ballet all movements in most other styles of dance would never be preformed properly, and this is something all dancers must realize. For example, if a dancer wants to be the best jazz dancer, they must also take ballet. Ballet is the foundation, it is a form of classic academic dancing based on the 17th century; originally descended from court dances. Movement in jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and modern derive from the five positions of the feet created in ballet. To master those positions and movement one must take ballet to be able to apply it to the other styles of dance. Ballet is also the most demanding, most disciplined of all styles of dance; but also the most rewarding. With a solid foundation, classically trained dancers can transfer their skills into jazz, contemporary dance, or any other dance form they might decide to pursue. Accomplishing that solid foundation is crucial to becoming a great dancer in any dance style. This alone proves that a study of ballet is necessary for any dancer who wants to succeed in any style of dance.
Technique is Mastered in Ballet
It’s important to realize that even if you hate ballet, it is probably a good idea to try to learn to love it. After all, technique for other styles of dance is mastered in ballet. Often times we see dancers at competitions who are very young attempting to do extremely difficult skills and/or “tricks” before they even have learned how to do a proper plié. It takes years of ballet training to obtain the strength, technique, and control that is required to perform such skills. This clearly proves that without ballet a dancer will not be able to acquire the proper technique needed to preform difficult skills safely and properly. Also, the more ballet that a dancer takes will only help them maintain and improve their overall technique, coordination, musicality, and body awareness.
Many dancers feel that they do not want to do ballet because they don’t like the structure and it isn’t “fun”. However, that is simply not true! Ballet is challenging, yes, and that is what makes it fun, the challenge. In ballet a dancers competition is themselves, they come to class and strive to be better than they were yesterday, never better than the dancer next to them. Ballet is linear; emphasizing form, extension, and lightness in the body which comes in handy for jazz, modern, contemporary, and even tap and hip-hop. This might come as a surprise to many people who do hip-hop and tap because they feel that the structure of ballet doesn’t allow the dancer to relax and keeps them too stuff. But that is very false because knowing the opposing techniques as a dancer gives one more knowledge of their body and movement quality, all in all makes that dancer more versatile. So, if you were considering taking a ballet class, now would be the time to make the jump!