Classical Dance Forms: Why They are Important, and How They Are For Everyone!

As a dancer, I realize that we live in a more progressive world and industry, where sometimes some of the most successful dancers are those who are well trained in many genres and are versatile in their abilities. This is the kind of dancer I believe I am and want to continue to be. 

 Photo by Kelly Dasher

Photo by Kelly Dasher

I come from hardcore classical ballet training from age 5-18, and I loved every minute of it. The discipline I had and was encouraged to maintain with body control and fundamentals truly shaped me every which way to the dancer that I am today. And though I went heavily into contemporary dance from there, and then into more Ballroom and Latin dancing, those years of training have stuck with me ever since.

There are many "classical forms" of dance out there, not just ballet. That being said, ballet is the mothership, the homeland, if you will, from which many dance genres pull from. Anytime you see some one point their foot and straighten their knee in a performance- they are using a ballet step, whether they know it or not. Not only does ballet literally spell out movement and coordination for you, but other classical forms like jazz and modern pull from ballet and give the technique a twist. Honestly, while I was training hard in ballet growing up, my ratio of study was probably 1 non-ballet class (like modern or jazz) to every 5 ballet classes. Then, as I worked in getting my degree in contemporary dance, the ratio flipped- for every 5 contemporary or modern classes, I had maybe 1 ballet class. And let me tell you, for who I am and my makeup- I always felt like I needed more ballet. That's not to say that everyone is like that, but I can feel how it keeps me in check, keeps me centered, and reminds me how all dance can be unified.

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 NOW, let's address the stereotype of ballet. Tall, skinny, lean, serious dancers. And to that I say- sure, they are out there, just like there are non-dancers like that too- and more power to them. BUT, here me out- ballet IS for everyone! That stereotype exists, sure, but not for those who want to experience it for themselves without the goal of prima ballerina in mind. If you are limber enough to move and have a bit of drive for physical stamina, I promise you that ballet is for you. Flexibility is not a prerequisite. On the contrary, ballet works with you for stretching to help you improve your flexibility! You do not have to be super tall or super skinny- take me for instance! I am a petite woman, 5 feet 1 inch tall. Ballet gives dancers a true focus on balance and coordination. Anytime in any dance form, if you find yourself doing a turn of any kind, it is ballet basics that can help you get better and feel great about it. 

SO if you are an adult, I urge you to reach out and try a ballet class. Not feeling ballet? Try a jazz class or modern class. Better yet, try all 3! I am speaking to you as a predominant dancer in Latin dance right now, but I know that it is my ballet training history and and continuation that helps me incorporate new tools. Almost any adult studio near you should have an open ballet class of sorts. Release your inhibitions and give a shot. Also, like in ANYTHING, try not to worry about what everyone else is thinking about you. Give yourself the chance to feel it.

I myself teach ALL kinds of dance, from ballet and contemporary, to jazz, salsa, waltz, and more. And it is hard for me as a teacher when a dancer is asking for help or improvement in their salsa spins, or their balance, yet doesn't go out and take a ballet class. I am trying to give this to the dance community- an open and welcoming class to show you the world that I love and come from- the world of classical dance. It is such a beautiful art form that can show you the beauty of your body. 

 

Join me monthly for my masterclasses, where I incorporate these techniques into my class. No experience required, just an open mind and an open heart.

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