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Ballerina looks


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#31 Skittl1321

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

In ice skating I always get great compliments on my arm carriage from ballet. Even though I like fast, peppy, easy to smile to music my coaches usually picked slow music to highlight my arm movement.

However, last night I tried on clothes to wear to my class tonight and looked like a hippo in a leotard... So the ballerina looks apparently don't go past my shoulders.

#32 pink_Chiffon

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:33 AM

I think it would be a great shame if all those kids with totally unsuitable bodies who dream of being a ballerina were to decide not to learn to dance, because they were told from the outset that they would never make a career of it. 

 

 

This is what happened to me when I was 11. I learned ballet in Korea from 5 until I finally quit when I was 12 (I even started pointe). Yes, middle school and moving played a part too but it was also after being told time and time again that even if I study ballet really hard, I'll never even pass the door at an audition with my body type. I started developing earlier than most girls in class (skipped training bra, had the same size bust since then) so I looked obviously awkward. Since then I've struggled with an eating disorder, still struggle everyday with negative body image issues and weird eating habits.

 

Just read a feature article in Pointe magazine about Kaitlyn Jenkin who plays Boo in Bunheads. I love the show and love the story how she got the part in this TV show. The producer said that they were looking for a girl with lack of that "ballerina" physique but couldn't find anyone who can dance strongly en pointe, because "most girls who look like that quit ballet before they can develop their pointe work..." 

 

 

Now that I'm 28 and I choose to do ballet for less competitive reasons, I'm reminded everyday what my old teachers were saying about my body.  I'm 5'4" now, and yes I'm in a different country now, and I'm considered "petite" by most vanity sizing standards, but as soon as I walk in and look at myself in the mirror, it's like I'm haunted by the old teachers' voices!

 

 

It's so sad that those teachers are still teaching and their old students now grew up to be teachers too... they probably continue to stop young kids' chance at dancing and expressing themselves through music and movement because they are brainwashing the kids into thinking that they're not good enough to even try. :(



#33 Clara 76

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:59 PM

Get those voices out of your head! They are occupying space without paying rent. Kick them out. :thumbsup:


"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor"- (Currently poking Poseidon in the netherworld with his trident)

"Christian Louboutins are uncomfortable, but I screamed the first time I put on a pointe shoe." Mila Kunis


#34 Redbookish

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:49 PM

Brilliant, Clara! Something for all us of us to remember.



#35 pink_Chiffon

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:37 PM

:) Thanks Clara, I need to work on that.. Spent a couple of hours this morning looking at liposuction surgery clinics, hypnosis clinics that promise weight loss, etc. Then stopped feeling very pathetic about it. haha.

 

Maybe the hypnosis clinic is not such a bad idea, I can ask about POSITIVE SELF IMAGE session =P


Edited by pink_Chiffon, 22 May 2013 - 01:39 PM.


#36 Roseweave

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 04:17 PM

So... I'm in my 30's and I still want to be a ballerina. I also want to be a space pirate and a fairy-tale princess, none of these ambitions have come close to fruition.


Wow I'm in my 20s and I'm the same! I was even thinking about this the other day, about if I could ever become a ballerina, and then I thought of other awesome things I Could be... like a Pirate! I sometimes think of myself as a sort of princess too, I use a name with "Princess" in it on other forums so I'm used to being called that!

While a lot of people would disagree, I think these things are largely down to how you define them. Redbook said earlier that "Ballerina" is a title within a company, but taken literally it just means a female dancer of ballet and that's what it tends to mean in the public image, or at least a prominent female dancer rather than one in the background(though I'd be fine with anything really). I think maybe we get too worked up on these sort of labels when defining your identity. I can see how it can be disrespectful to others who may have worked hard for a real world title but I think the idea of a Ballerina is part fantasy anyway for most people. If you feel you've "Made it", achieved something at least resembling that end goal, then maybe that's enough?


Among other things I tend to see myself as a witch... but more of a fairytale witch princess than a neo-pagan or wiccan type witch... I tend to dress the part a lot, I have a great witch laugh. Does that make me a real witch? Maybe not but I feel closer to my internal self than if I didn't! 


The idea of "Ballet fashion" is kind of interesting to me and something I'd like to look into myself. Again, that seems like something that can help you inherit this image, and idea of being somehow a part of Ballet, an artefact of it, which to me is probably what a lot of people want when they want to "Be a ballerina". 

Sorry if I offended anyone with anything I said! I still have a lot to come to terms with, both in knowledge and my own identity.


Edited by Victoria Leigh, 22 May 2013 - 07:30 PM.
Link removed. Not ballet related.


#37 Redbookish

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:08 AM

The thing is, that professional dancers really don't subscribe to the "ballerina" fantasy. It may well be that's where they started at the age of 9 or 11, but you only have to read some of the sections of this MB to read about the grinding hard physical work and mental toughness needed to have a career as a dancer.

 

As adults, we need to find our own ways to come to terms with choices not made (making a choice means leaving other choices not made), roads not taken. Quite frankly, a "ballerina fantasy" might be fun, pleasant, give access to dreams, but it can be counter-productive if you let it dominate the pursuit of a real skill (and art) through good training, and slow and steady learning. As adults, I think we need to come to a mature understanding of the  pleasure we can get from from achievement won by hard work.

 

If you go to class wanting the ballerina fantasy you are likely to be sorely disappointed. But regular expert teaching and training will result in dance skills. And you only need to look at some of the wonderful dancers in contemporary dance companies to see that the "ballerina" image is a very small part of the dance world.



#38 LaFilleSylphide

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 05:23 AM

^^ Redbookish couldn't have said it better. If I am in class aspiring to this fantasy that is really not realistic for me, I doubt I could enjoy myself as well as I do. I love ballet, I love the fakey ballet fashion (think Grace Kelly in a 3/4 sleeve leotard with full skirt), and I love feeling improvement in my body and seeing that my carriage is different - however, I think if I were fixated on an unattainable goal of becoming the next Kochetkova, I would love it all a lot less. To be able to have this kind of fringe involvement is already something uniquely awesome about being a recreational ballet student! In other professional art forms, it's not often that we can have such open access tastes of what the professionals do. We can take class, we can perform recreationally, we can watch performances. I could never hope to have a super model-like experience, or even taste what it's like to be a film actress no matter how much I wanted to. 

 

Well, actually the film actress thing was just an example - being that my normal day to day work is film directing, I guess I see enough of that. :P



#39 Roseweave

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:49 AM

The thing is, that professional dancers really don't subscribe to the "ballerina" fantasy. It may well be that's where they started at the age of 9 or 11, but you only have to read some of the sections of this MB to read about the grinding hard physical work and mental toughness needed to have a career as a dancer.

 

As adults, we need to find our own ways to come to terms with choices not made (making a choice means leaving other choices not made), roads not taken. Quite frankly, a "ballerina fantasy" might be fun, pleasant, give access to dreams, but it can be counter-productive if you let it dominate the pursuit of a real skill (and art) through good training, and slow and steady learning. As adults, I think we need to come to a mature understanding of the  pleasure we can get from from achievement won by hard work.

 

If you go to class wanting the ballerina fantasy you are likely to be sorely disappointed. But regular expert teaching and training will result in dance skills. And you only need to look at some of the wonderful dancers in contemporary dance companies to see that the "ballerina" image is a very small part of the dance world.


I think it depends what you define as a "Ballerina fantasy", though. I think nearly all of us are aware of what being a Ballerina actually entails. To a lot of people the Ballerina fantasy is simply living out the dream of being able to dance on stage, regardless of the baggage that it comes with. Because dance can be so difficult and there's such a gap between doing ballet for personal enjoyment and doing it with a larger professional company - with little in between - a lot of people see becoming what the general public would consider a Ballerina as their goal, because it takes so much work, but more important confidence and resilience to get there(and sometimes a little luck). People don't need to be Ulyana Lopatkina or someone to have what is from their perspective, a lofty goal in their own mind. 

At least to me it would be. I'm far too much of a late starter with too awkward a body to be "the best", and as an artist(a musician anyway) being the best has never been what's interested me. What interests me more is expressing myself in a way only I can do and therefore can't be easily judged against others. I believe this is what we should all strive for, competitiveness can be good but it can destroy you as well. Like if I had a dream role, it would probably be Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty and she doesn't even dance much in most productions. I just feel I'm naturally cut out for the Pantomime witch archetype. Just being able to do that in a relatively large amateur production would be good enough to me, I would have achieved something I never thought I would. I don't know if a "Super model" or famous actress like experience interests me at all.  I rarely perform to rooms of more than 40 people when playing my music and feel uneasy performing to even that amount.

I think there may be some degree of miscommunication in what people mean when they say they dream of being a ballerina. Keep in mind that equate ballerina with a prestigious title too isn't something that has been in common usage for some time, and wasn't originally in the first place(unless I'm mistaken). I think most people just want to be the best they can be, and be seen as a graceful and expressive figure that gets to entertain others through ballet. 


I got interested in ballet knowing full well I'd never be some sort of superstar. In fact I'm not sure I can understand the mentality of someone who goes into any art-form with that idea. There is the whole rock-star thing, sure, and I think rock-stars can be fun and inspirational in an "aren't they a character" sort of way, but to me it's always been about expression and having that expression recognised on some level - not necessarily the highest one.

Does what I'm saying make sense? 


Edited by Victoria Leigh, 23 May 2013 - 10:28 AM.


#40 pink_Chiffon

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:07 AM

this really reminds me of a recent interview I read about Sue Jin Kang (http://www.stuttgart...s/sue-jin-kang/) who is a principal dancer at Stuttgart Ballet. She's almost 50 now and still practices 18 hours a day! 

Anyway, she said in that interview that she never DREAMED about becoming a prima ballerina, that she's not dreaming big dreams but she likes to have smaller dreams every day, like going to practice even when she's tired, hurt, or injured. It made me realize that even professionals like her have many "excuses" skip a day but still fight through it. That and also they rarely focus on what other people do but only think about their own practice, schedule, technique, and their emotions. No time to compare and feeling jealous!

 

After all, it seems like what makes a person professional and amateur is dedication. 



#41 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:24 AM

Where did you find the part about "...still practices 18 hours a day" ? I just read the page you linked, nothing like that on there, and 18 hours a day would be beyond believable for anyone, much less someone her age and, one would think, intelligence, seeing what she has accomplished.


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#42 pink_Chiffon

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 11:20 AM


 
She's a pretty well known figure in South Korea, where I'm from. Her autobiography was released earlier this year and I found an English article about her book here where she briefly talks about her schedule: http://english.chosu...3012600296.html
She said in many other interviews that she only sleeps 3 hours a day and uses other times to train her body (I'm assuming training would include eating time) 
 
 
Her story got attention because she actually started ballet relatively late, after she started middle school or something like that. Until then she was studying Korean traditional dance (which is beautiful and difficult too, but I think few things are as rigorous as ballet training). So to compensate for her late start, she would often fall asleep in splits, to force her body to get used to things that she hadn't done before. Just after about 4 years of ballet training, she won the Prix de Lausanne. 
 
 
I think there's something common in everyone who is really well known in their field: they practice practice and practice and never let anything stop them from doing things they love. I'm gonna order her book soon :)
 
 
ADDED: To some people, 3~4 hours of sleep seems like impossible; but I function fine with 3~4 hours of sleep on average, and I think everyone has different needs, just like food.

#43 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:36 PM

Yes, it is possible to not require what is considered the "normal" amount of sleep, at least when one is a young adult. I can no longer do that, but I did fine on 4 to 5 hours throughout most of my career. However, there is the issue of just how much practice/training/physical exercise one can do without destroying what one is trying to build. The muscles need work, but they also need recovery. Excessive work is not productive, physically, but also mentally and emotionally. It's just not healthy in any way. 


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#44 pink_Chiffon

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:27 PM


I feel that this is now going off topic a little bit but I'll just say I'm 28, not really young adult anymore, just adult  ;) but I've had this sleeping pattern since middle school. I still function the same way as I had in college, business school and law school. I just don't need that much sleep :) Even as a child, my parents told me that they would often mind me awake and reading or playing with toys when they come to check on me in the morning. I don't use caffeine either, just maybe 1~2 cups of coffee a month? Also, I think a lot of what we do are based on habits -- exercising/practicing can also be a habit. I've heard from a lot of older people who are used to exercising every single day that they literally start aching all over if they ever skip a day. These people are anywhere between 19 to 67 years of age. 
 
 
Going back to Ms. Kang though, when she says she trains for 18 hours, I don't think she means 18 hours of STRAIGHT dancing. I'll have to read the book to find out but training could be strength training, stretching, physical therapy, etc. Obviously, not EVERYONE can or should do this, that's why her story is extraordinary -- the fact that she's still doing this and in the best physical health. 
 
 
The image of her feet (google it, it's kinda gory) became really famous, first for its shock value, but people also feel inspired by the sacrifice one person made for her love for the art. Her schedule thing is similar. Most people will find it shocking, and might not even want to believe that it's possible, but the point is that she pushed her limit for her love. She knows her body more than any one else, and she didn't have any major injury until few years ago, at which point she responsibly took a year off and focused on getting better. it's that self-discipline that I find amazing, not her schedule or her feet.
 
 
Can't say much about her emotional health as I don't know her personally but she seems to be happily married to her former colleague (also principal dancer from the same ballet company, now retired) for many years. 
 
 
I'm saying all this in her defense not because I feel that her way of life is commendable and should be followed by all dancers, but because while we were discussing how irrelevant that "ballerina look" or other seemingly unattainable things are to our ballet training as adults, I felt that her interview reminded me that people who actually achieve something (from the 3rd person's perspective anyway), focus only on their own training and inner struggle and don't waste time worrying about something not being unattainable. They rarely think "I have to pass that test by the time I turn 30"; instead they just study and train everyday because they just want to be a little better than yesterday. 

#45 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:19 PM

I consider people in their 20's still young adults! :wink:

 

But seriously, there is a big difference between focus, study, training, and self discipline, which all dancers must have, and being obsessive. I'm very glad to hear that she is healthy and doing so well. There is some degree of obsessive in all of us who have been there and done that in this career, and it is, in my opinion, necessary. But there are differences between somewhat obsessive and overly obsessive. I hope that she is in the former category. :)


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