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Ballet is a very elegant dance, but it is also a dance on the toes. If you want to become a real ballet dancer, you have to overcome many difficulties and go through many ups and downs. Now I would like to introduce to you the top 10 fun facts about ballet dancers. Friends who are interested should learn about it together!

10 fun facts about ballet dancers

1. Ballet skirts are all handmade

In addition to pointe shoes, a ballerina’s tutu is essential to her performance. It’s also a significant expense for professional companies, as a high-quality tutu can cost $2,000. But they also last a long time, and generations of dancers may wear them. A single tutu can take up to 120 hours!

2. Not all ballet dancers are young

Just like ballet is stereotyped as a female art. It is also considered a young one. And most professionals retire between the ages of 30 and 40. Some are retained as character artists by larger companies. These are often dancers with companies such as London’s Royal Ballet, where during their primary careers they are listed as soloists or principals. They now play roles that are less physically demanding but artistically challenging. For example, a male character artist may no longer be playing the prince in Sleeping Beauty, but he will be playing the evil magician Van Rothbart.

3. An on-site pianist accompanies daily ballet classes

If you think of a ballet company, you hardly think of accompanists. However, pianists play an important role both in daily lessons and in rehearsals and performances. Since replacing the violinist in the late 19th century, pianists have helped shape the musicality of young dancers and have accompanied countless rehearsals and even performances. Their job is anything but easy. Not only do they need to be able to play a wide variety of pieces at different tempos in class, but they must also be proficient in ballet terminology.

4. Ballerina and male ballet partner

While much of the focus of classical ballet is on the female dancer, the male ballet partner is equally important. He supports ballet dancers in some of the most beautiful and challenging parts of the classical repertoire. Many dancers, like American Ballet Theater’s Marcelo Gomez, pride themselves on being a good partner. This included making the ballerina feel safe on stage and ensuring that the lines of her body were showcased in flattering lighting.

5. Some shoes can only be worn for one hour.

Professional dancers’ shoes are only worn for a short period of time. A season usually only lasts a few months, and a dancer can wear up to 120 pairs of shoes. Since pointy-toe shoes are very expensive, ranging from $60 to more than $100 a pair, they are one of the major expenses for professional companies. One such company is the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, which reports spending nearly $100,000 a year on women’s dance shoes alone. Some principal dancers use several pairs of partners in a performance, especially if they are starring in ballets such as “Swan Lake” or “Sleeping Beauty.”

6. About new pointed shoes

New pointe shoes are very difficult and dangerous to dance with. Over years of training, every dancer discovers how they like to adapt, or how to break out of their shoes to better fit their feet. Some of these measures are extraordinary. For example, some dancers scrape the soles of their shoes to make them less slippery, ground blast them to reduce sound on stage, cut a section of the stem to make them more malleable, or apply shellac to stiffen them. One brand even asked dancers to use a hair dryer to melt the shoes, mold them to their feet, and then put the shoes in the freezer to harden.

7. Being allowed to wear pointed shoes is a rite of passage

For an aspiring ballerina, the biggest milestone is “hitting the sky”. The graceful movement of tiptoeing in satin shoes inspired many young girls to take up ballet. If pointy-toed shoes are worn too early, students may be at risk of serious injury. Generally speaking, bones are too plastic before age 10 or 11, and many experienced teachers decide to wait longer. In addition, a girl’s technique must be strong enough to use the shoes safely. Exact numbers vary, but most professional teachers agree that training for two years or more is required several times a week.

8. Most professionals maintain a healthy diet

It is often said that the ideal dancer’s body shape includes long legs, a short torso, narrow hips and a thin neck. This has inspired countless young dancers to become concerned about their weight to an unhealthy degree. However, contrary to popular belief, not many dancers are anorexic. Although aspiring dancers often have an unhealthy relationship with food, and some may suffer from it, this does not apply to most professionals. In recent years, some companies have struggled to hire healthy-looking dancers.

9. Ballet dancers train harder than most professional athletes.

It takes 10 years to train a professional dancer, many of which involve more than 20 hours of lessons per week. Dancers not only study ballet, but they also have to take modern dance and character dance classes. According to NFL player Steve McClendon, ballet is the hardest part of his training regimen. Despite McClendon’s muscular build, his dance teacher encouraged him to achieve the power and grace of the art form. The combination of aerobic and anaerobic movements in ballet class provides a full-body workout that targets rarely used muscles.

10. Ballet was originally danced by men

This art form originated in the Italian courts in the 15th century. When one of ballet’s earliest patrons, Catherine de’ Medici, married King Henry II of France, France became the center of its development. In the first few centuries, works were usually performed by courtiers, and most of the performers were men. The first female principal dancer did not appear until 1681, and it was not until 40 years later that women began to match the skills of men.

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