Ballet dancing involves pleasure mingled with danger. With injuries and other physical hazards galore, ballet is dangerous when not taught or learnt properly. Research shows that almost every company or school has its own specialists for treating injuries. Pressures to maintain a ‘Balanchine body’ such as petite, thin, and long-limbed makes many students to suffer from eating problems.
Ballet dancers usually start at a young age, around 9 years, and become trained dancers in their late teen years. After graduating from a renowned academic and dance programs, they usually audition for dance companies. Graduating from a good university program helps young dancers to get into dance companies.
Some schools like the Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and School of American Ballet in New York, among others provide excellent training to ballet dancing. Students usually start with few class hours and then proceed on to more hours.
Students and novices get a chance to perform at competitions, musical shows, and the like.
Research shows that ballet dancers usually do not have a high pay scale, but with improvement, practice, and experience, they usually get bigger and more demanding roles in performances. Slowly and gradually, their earnings increase.
Awareness of the short career in ballet dancing does not dampen the spirits of those who dream of being a dancer. Ballet dancers undertake vigorous training and practice, and overcome all obstacles in their way to emerge finally as a graceful dancer, who stupefies the audience with beauty, gracefulness, and talent.
Some talented and famous dancers include Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Alicia Alonso, Briely Movric, Paloma Herrera, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, besides many, many others.
Out of all the famous ballet dancers of Russia, Baryshnikov’s dancing is as complex and captivating as his elaborate name! Heralded as one of the 20th century’s greatest ballet dancers, he started dancing in Leningrad, but later moved on to Canada in 1974, then finally to the American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet where he worked as both a dancer and choreographer.
He has also enjoyed great success as an actor on both stage and screen, as well as an influential modern dancer, consistently producing new works. His most recent dance contribution was the White Oak Dance Project, a touring company that he co-founded and directed from 1990-2002. Following this, he started his own arts center in New York a few years ago. He is a father of four and continues to reside in the New York area.
A celebrated dancer, choreographer and writer, this multitalented Danish ballet phenom began his career with the Royal Danish Ballet when he was only nine years old. He became a solost with them at age 20, and was also featured in a 1952 MGM film. Heralded for his impressive technique and artistic flair, he wrote a book entitled Beyond Technique, and went on to direct the Swedish Opera Ballet and then the National Ballet of Canada, until his death in 1986.
Growing up poor with a violinist and dancing father of French/Belgian descent, young Camargo performed as “premiere danseuse,” or “featured dancer,” at the Paris Opera ballet. She was able to perform footwork so complex, it was beyond envied by fellow dancers, and is given credit for both the creation of modern day ballet slippers and shortened ballet skirts (originally hemmed upward to showcase her impressive technique).
As a performer in 78 ballets and operas through the years, she later was the inspiration of a ballet titled after her surname. While it has not been performed since 1917, it was highly celebrated during its heyday. Marie Camargo died in 1770.
One of the most cherished of famous ballet dancers, Pavlova was a Russian ballerina in the early part of the 20th century. Credited as the first dancer to partake in a world tour, she is widely known for her Dying Swan dance, which is still cherished and admired today.
Originally rejected from the Imperial Ballet School because she was too small, her imprint upon the world of ballet soon became huge.
Besides her beautiful dancing, she revamped the pointe shoe, due to her extremely curved arches. Some accused her of “cheating” the craft, however anyone who saw Pavlova dance knew that she was simply magical. She died of pneumonia just before her 50th birthday.
These are only a few of the wonderful dancers who have influenced the world of ballet. If you are a current dance student reading this, who knows? You may be next to go down in history!