Monday, May 6, 2013

Power in disguise

We've all got one of those things that adds a little fuel to our souls making us live that little bit louder. Ballet in its raw discipline, strength and artistry is my thing. The challenge (as a dancer) to seamlessly disguise a fierce muscular power with flawless grace is the greatest thing my body knows.

pain in grace

I had the most amusing conversation with a gym-goer the other day; in the middle of my skipping-rope spins she saw it as a great time to chat and asked what I do other than 'jump-rope' for fitness and muscle tone. My reply (mid jump) was "ballet, a lot of it." Skipping rope still spinning, I smiled (even if a little unsettled) at the frowned confusion that came upon her. Then there was the verbal reply which had my rope slamming to a halt. "Oh, right...ballet. But ballet dancers are really, really skinny. I guess you're... small...but...strong?" I should mention, I'm perfectly happy with my build less commonly related to that of a ballet dancer (I'm not anorexic).

That conversation plus a few more have shifted my thinking to the masked strength of the ballet dancer and how often this talent gets a confused wrap. I've been confronted with the opinion that the ballet barre is lined with delicate, fingernail-precious men and wafer-thin-lettuce-munching ladies (admittedly, I do have lettuce for lunch today...); prancing-folk that just don't cut it in the athletic department! I won't deny that there's the dancer who has a touch more of a delicate side that to him and the female who's bony limbs look a little less nourished. Thing is, the ballet dancer has to be one heck of an athlete, stable-as-a-rock, machine-like with a physique envied by the heaviest of gym-junkie-weight-lifting-posers.

A ballet dancer is trained to fool their audience in thinking the most challenging feats to be effortless, weightless, dream-like visions of artistry. I guess, if I go by the conversations of late, I can say they're doing a damn good job of it! Sneaky little rascals.

male dancer, female dancer

maximum, single handed

male dancer

Enjoy the few images that say a tonne more than words could.


  1. How the dancers bodies can DO that, I don't know!

  2. I like the picture that shows the pain behind the grace. Very poignant


  3. Gosh! Ballet is such an inspiration to me and I am not even a dancer, just the fact that their bodies are so well trained makes me want to become more flexible/strong! The picture of the dancer's feet in and out of point shoes is an interesting contrast, the pain behind the beauty.


  4. I love love love ballet. I always wanted to take it up, but can't afford the classes. I feel like It is too late to start now!

    Amanda Rose

  5. I love ballet and it always amazes me how much muscle tone and strength they have.

  6. Sigh. This is a subject that always gets me riled up... I spent the ages of six to nineteen as a high-performance athlete, doing gymnastics and ballet. I wouldn't say I was particularly talented, nor was I particularly built for it, but I won enough awards for most people around me to know what I did even if I hadn't specifically told them - and to treat it with skepticism. My twenty hours a week of training may not have given me a magazine perfect body and certainly didn't lead to anorexia, which I suppose is what my peers expected, but my inability to attend parties was met, time and time again with, "Oh, but it's just {insert gymnastics or dance here}." It's not just anything - dancers and gymnasts are athletes; some of the best out there, in fact, and they get no recognition for it. Suffice to say I share your frustration :)
    PS: Looking forward to your first outfit post!

    1. I was nodding to everything you wrote - I completely relate to missing out on all the parties, etc etc etc, and the comments of "oh it's just dance."

      Funniest thing just happened and I know you'll appreciate this. Right before I got to replying to your comment, I had someone approach me and make a remark about my "very short 30 minute gym workouts not being anywhere near enough for good exercise" (I jump rope for 30...don't get me started on that...). I responded politely and mentioned that I have at least a couple of hours of ballet every night. Then they followed that up with "what, so ballet makes you sweat does it? is it even a workout? don't you just need to be flexible to do that?"
      I bit my tongue, smiled, shook my head and walked. I understand not everyone knows what goes into it...but I'm amazed that they think it's just a stretchathon!! :D

      btw, the outfit post went up...I reverted it to draft by accident. It's just a little further down.

      Maria xxxx

  7. I'm so inspired by ballet - everything from the costumes to the culture to the physicality of it. When I was young I wanted to do it professionally (I was told I'm too tall) but now I just love watching it and occasionally doing some moves to show off in clubs! LOL. I can still do the splits, which is a nice party trick :)

  8. tell me you and dancing branflake read eachothers blogs?

    1. actually i must visit hers again soon! I only recently came by it...via your blog!! how come??


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