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BalletNut

Reasons for liking ballet

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Many well-meaning people have asked me what it is exactly that I like about ballet, since I neither dance nor teach professionally. Some regard it as an idiosyncrasy; others see it as a pathological outgrowth of my childhood "I wanna wear my tutu to kindergarten" phase, which I should have outgrown already. :rolleyes: In any case, I have been unable to come up with a suitable answer without going into lecture mode. How would you respond if asked why you like ballet?

[ 07-09-2001: Message edited by: BalletNut ]

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That is a hard one to answer with absolute truth. As for myself, it kinda grew on me.

But, trying to be more exact, it must have been the music that enthralled me - I have always loved "danceable" music, no matter if it is classical, flamenco, pop, latin or whatever. Some music one (I mean myself)just cannot dance to. :)

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For me ballet has challenged my thinking without a word ever having to be spoken.

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My love of ballet MAY have started as a rebellion against my mother, who was a big fan of Martha Graham. I was sent to the New Dance Group Studio at age 5. My first teacher was Donald McKayle! But MY love was ballet. I guess, at first, it was because it was about fairy tales (to my young mind), pointe shoes, and pretty costumes. I had ballet paper dolls, and I read every book on ballet history that I could lay my hands on. I had my first ballet lesson at age 9 - after much pleading. I LOVED my pink tights and shoes and took them to bed with me. I insisted on wearing my hair in a bun, and I tried to Russianize my name, because I thought that all REAL ballerinas were Russian! I nearly flunked out of high school one year because the Royal Ballet were in town, and I went to their performances rather than do my homework. I also got into trouble for playing hookey to queue up for standing room to see Ulanova do "Romeo and Juliette": there was a performance scheduled for May 1, and because it was such an important holiday in the Soviet Union we were all SURE she'd dance - and she did.

As I grew older and danced more myself, I began to have a deeper appreciation for ballet as an art form. It's where my heart is. I hear music and I choreograph impossible steps in my head. Dance is music made visible. Dance is breathing. Dance is life. :)

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The following was written by John Fraser in his book "Private View: Inside Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theatre":

In the business of ennobling the human spirit, dancers offer us our only earthly chance to catch a glimpse of the angelic host.  Uniquely, their contribution to the mystery of life comes through trancending the metaphysical and intellectual to demonstrate - neither with sonorous instuments nor with eloquent words, but merely with their own bodies - that the soul aspires to the highest ground.

In a less eloquent vein, I'll just say that the sight of a long-legged woman in a short skirt dancing gracefully and elegantly on her toes does something for me.

~Steve

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Oh, BalletNut - I stopped worrying about 'normal people' considering me to be 'idiosyncratic' a long time ago. If I invite them to my house & they catch sight of the ballet-themed art, hanging toe shoes, 100s of videos, etc, etc, and make a funny face, then it's THEIR problem, not mine! :)

Why I love ballet?

1. Movement to music - something inside of me cannot listen to a piece of music without imagining dancers dancing to it. Even in a concert hall, I can't just listen to a symphony orchestra or band without picturing dancers in my head.

2. Spectacle - gorgeous costumes on gorgeous human beings, all displayed on a stage, surrounded by opulent sets. Visual 'Beauty' in every sense of the word.

3. Opportunity to learn every nugget of information about one theme - becoming an expert at something. Turning every stone. Constant seeking, reading, exploring, traveling. I'm still learning.

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I don't know. I honestly don't know. I think that's why I keep going.

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Originally posted by BalletNut:

How would you respond if asked why you like ballet?

One can always respond with, "why do you not like ballet?"

I've thought about it a lot and hypothesize that I like ballet for several reasons: It is beautiful and has a structure that intrigues my analytical mind. Also its a good excuse to learn about an obscure topic.

Cliff

[ 07-14-2001: Message edited by: Cliff ]

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It's easy to list reasons why I should loathe ballet: lousy music (for every Tchaikovsky there's a Minkus), silly stories, bizarre costumes and way too much make-up. I can't really explain why, despite the affectations, it fascinates me. The best reason I've come up with is that ballet provides a glimpse into an ideal, superhuman realm -- sometimes. When a performance is good, you're not so much watching a story as reliving a myth.

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For me, dance is a way to release tensions. When I'm stressed or upset, I go to class and feel better by tendues! It's my life and I can't imagine my life without it. Its a way to express emotions without saying a word. :)

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When I was a kid I collected comic books because I was enthralled by the exploits of men and women in tights who could defy gravity.

Clearly, for me, little has changed.

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I would say that I like ballet because movement is the most primal art. That movement magnifies emotion; love is never as sincere, as true, as beautiful as it is in ballet. That before languages there was just the gestures of the human emotions. What could be closer to the very center of humanity than movement?

And I would say that the fact people can dedicate their entire lives to the passion of ballet is incredible. That it at least deserves respect, if not devotion. I would say that the human soul is in full vulnerability and display every night in the great ballet theaters of the world, and no matter how far technology has advanced, there is nothing comparable. This only touches briefly upon the depth of my love for the art.

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Sometimes my friends question my mental stability. "Your feet are so gross and twisted." "Look, guys, the blister's OOZING.." "When are you going to get a brain and wear sneakers to class?" And I'll laugh along with them. After all, ballet is like some kamikaze mission. You dive headfirst into this world of pain, grueling torture, and backbreaking effort - for a career that will only last for as long as you can hover in the air.

Why, then? Humans have been called ugly, furless creatures who pollute the planet then blame others for it. But we can be beautiful as well. The principals are not the only dancers out there -- a well-trained corps can look hauntingly beautiful in, say, Bayadere. I think that it is the opportunity to drop off this ugly clothing of politics, social status, and general public opinion that appeals to me so much. Call me a loner, but I'd rather spend my time in a studio learning the 'tools of the trade' than scurrying around like a mall rat and contemplate my next lipstick color.

To reiterate: You drop your social mask to take on a different mask, whether it be Eurydice or Aurora, Kitri or your own choreographed piece. It's very pleasing once you learn how to tell 'the beautiful lie'.

--Luka

[ 07-17-2001: Message edited by: Luka ]

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People always ask me "why ballet?", when I mention that I started taking classes at age 22. To which I reply, "why not?". It's not a true answer but it gets them off my back for awhile ...

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That question is a very important one. People get so much involved and so much in love with something, they usualy don't ask themselves "Why?".

I like ballet for the following reasons:

1. Ballet is a way of expressing emotion through dance. It is aimed at presenting the human body in the most aestheticaly beautiful ways and movements, and it can illustrate feelings in a way words cannot. Even sitting in a comfortable theatre in the audience, watching a ballet, can help to allieviate some of the emotions I may be feeling at the time. The characters or subjects that are embodied by these performers can express joy, sorrow, anger, and chilvalry for me, and it is a wonderful thing to have.

2. Unlike opera or literature or film, ballet is not bent on presenting the material world as it really is. It shows the world inside of us. It is a world we would like to live in, but we cannot, and ballet offers a glimpse at this. This is a world of dream where love and happiness are all around you, and everyone is interested in something other than earning money.

3. Aesthetic wonders fill this stage that we are watching. As Jeannie said, beautiful costumes and gorgeous sets envelope beautiful and expressive people in a work that is aimed at showing beauty. It's enough to like anything.

4. I just do. I can't tell you anything else but that. Why do like what you like? :)

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Why do I love ballet ? .... well - sometimes it makes me feel as if I can fly.... that is a feeling worth working everyday of my life for.

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To see people who are the supreme examples

of atheletic/artistic prowness, is a joy. To

see ballet at its best, is to see humans at their best. I see the work, time, and pain that dancers go through to give us a balletic

performance. I am into sports also. But, so many athletes are cheating with performance

enhancing drugs, that the joy has been taken

out of watching the Olympics, Tour De France,

and other sporting events. Ballet, I think and hope, seems to be unaffected by performance boosting drugs. Maybe I am bringing up a taboo subject?????????

largely, .

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It's so good to post! Anyways...

I think I love ballet because I can express myself. I can dance the way I feel, not the way somebody wants me to feel.

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Why do I like ballet?

How does one sum it up in words! It is all I have wanted to do at first it was because I wanted to be able to 'fly' in the air like Nureyev after watching a video, but then reality set in that I do not 'fly' in the same manner because of very different styles, body types to name but a few. Although this has not put me off. I think now as I have read more seen so much and I know this will sound odd but i like its simplisity. The moving with the music creating beautiful shapes and for a split second being something different.

Also the grandness of it all, going to the ballet, taking part in the ballet just involoved is so special to me.

I have had some wonderful oppourtunities and I hope to continue the way I am going, but at the same time to continue learning about other asppects of the dance world, theatre and the real world as well. :)

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