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Ballet Talk for Dancers

The perfect body?


Guest Twinkie

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Guest Twinkie

This topic has always bothered me a little. I was turned down by a summer intensive because of my body type back in February. Now, I'm not fat or anything but I'm referring to the things about your body you can't change. At this certain audition, the woman teaching the class said that I was a beautiful dancer, but I had bad feet. I admit my feet aren't the greatest but I work with what I have as best as I can. She also mentioned that my torso was too long and made my legs look short. How am I supposed to fix this?! I am worried that as I attempt to enter the professional world these flaws will haunt me. How can I deal with these setbacks? :blushing::wacko:

 

I think that this is a very important topic for many dancers and perhaps some explanation in this definition of "the perfect body" will help students understand what exactly these auditioners are looking for.

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Listen to all input of this sort (about things over which you have no control) with an "In my opinion..." mentally added by yourself. Feet are bad? What's bad about them? Work on that. Long-waisted? Nothing you can do about that. Don't worry about it.

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Twinkie, there is really no such thing as a "perfect body", however, there are some bodies which are more suitable for classical ballet than others. Things like leg length versus torso length, rotation, hip flexibility, and the feet, are very important in ballet. Unfortunately, while feet can be improved to a certain extent, if there is not enough arch and instep and flexibility in the foot, it will not make a classic line. The same goes for rotation and flexibility. They can be improved. But, the proportions of the body cannot be changed. It doesn't mean one cannot dance if they have this structure, however, it does indeed make their odds of a professional career in classical ballet a lot more difficult. If there are enough things going against what the companies are looking for, it could be somewhat like a 5'5 male trying to make a career of basketball. :blushing: But there are lots of other dance forms that do not have the physical requirements of classical ballet. And, not having these requirements does not mean that one cannot become a good dancer. It just means that one might need to consider the possibility that their chances might be better in modern, or maybe jazz, or Broadway. But the training in ballet is still very important for anything one chooses to do later!

 

But do keep in mind that we cannot see you here, and therefore none of the above may apply specifically to you at all! Your feet might not really be bad, and your proportions might not be nearly what you said. It's all a matter of degrees, and that we can't see. :wacko:

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Knock, knock! Twinkie--keep looking! While there are things specific to ballet like Ms. Leigh has outlined here, there are many companies who will accept dancers with one thing or another off that strict regulation.

Keeping your options open for other types of dance is always a good thing not due to any body restraints but in general. The ballet world is harsh and jobs few so that is something you should do anyway, body type or not.

 

However, I just saw something Patricia Barker, longtime Principal at Pacific Northwest said in the new Pointe Magazine about her gorgeous feet and legs:

" I had to work very hard to overcome the strength issues that come along with these feet of mine.  And the hyperextended legs did not help matters much either, and for the record.  I am a bit turned in.  See, no one has a perfect ballerina body, but I have always tried to work with what I have and use it the best that I can."

Don't sweat the things you cannot change (such as a long torso, shorter legs), and work to change the things that you can (stronger feet, higher extension that might make shorter legs appear longer from stage) and enjoy your dancing life without this stress.

 

vj

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Guest Twinkie
:thumbsup: Thanks for the input. I'm going to keep working on all those little imperfections. I think the reason the rejection from this summer intensive bothered me so much is because I have never been told anything that negative concerning my body. This was also the first time I had been to a summer intensive audition and been declined. Classical ballet is my passion and I still fully intend on making it into the professional world. Again, THANKS A BUNCH! :P
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if i may add something about the long torso-short legs problem, a friend of mine has the most extreme disproportion there, what i call the 'superhero body.' no hips, very wide shoulders, torso twice the legs. now, when watching dancers, i notice body type and proportion almost immediately, but when this girl is dancing, she makes the longest lines with her legs, and i would never have noticed the extreme length of her torso if i had never seen her in street clothes! so maybe you cant change it, but you can overcome it.

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Just a comment, but I seem to remeber my teacher telling me that she had a similar problem, long torso ect......She said that she always wore a really high cut leotard to give the legs a longer look and a really low front on it. That way the leotard sort of hid the proportioins some what and she got all the places she needed to. Of course, it might not work at all, but you could try it if you were going to an auditiong. I guess your body is always your body though regardless of how you try to disguise it and not many people would be fooled for that. :shhh:

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Don't forget that the original post also discussed feet. Proportions are important, and so are feet. If you have both going against you, it's a pretty rough road these days. At least in classical ballet. Not that you can't become a good dancer. You can. The problem is that ones chances of getting work professionally are hard enough even with a good facility.

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Guest abstractlines

A low v-neck cut leo with (as mentioned earlier) high cut legs will give the illusion of having a shorter torso/longer legs. Square cut leos and leos with a high neckline (mock t-necks) tend to make the torso look longer and should be avoided if possible. I have a similar problem but I am 6'1'' tall so I have a long torso and long legs...and uh...long arms too...

 

Also, I find that having a leo that has a different color on the bottom half is more flattering on us long torso-ed people...actually dividing my body like that is one of the reasons I wear black tights on the outside of my leo. It just seems to make a huge differerance visually--esp if the color change is slightly below waist line. It is quite amazing how small tricks can make all the difference in the world--it can really fool people.

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Twinkie,

 

In your second post, you mention working on those "imperfections." My thought is the first thing is not to call them imperfections. It's the body God gave you, and quite a miraculous thing at that! Learn to love it, and know it's strengths. Learn to work on the weaknesses. But, also know that there are not many things about it that you can actually CHANGE.

 

mc

:grinning:

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knock, knock... parent here.

 

The wall of my gym, that I just joined last week, says, in huge writing on the wall...

 

"Don't let your weaknesses convince you that you lack strength". I find it very encouraging.

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Guest theskysthelimit

do you wear a skirt to ballet class? If you don't, go find one because wearing one around or just belowyour natural waist will make your legs look much longer proportionally. Also..what about being the other way around? I have L O N G

legs (5'5 1/2 with a 35 inch inseam) and having a short body tends to make me look very stocky. what do i do to hide it?

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I think you are totally confused, theskysthelimit! :D Wearing a skirt BELOW the waist makes anyone of any size look like they have a long torso and short legs! :thumbsup: And long legs are wonderful for ballet, and should make any one look anything but stocky! :blushing:

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Guest lightupthestage7

Ms. Leigh is right about long legs being perfect for ballet, theskyisthelimit. I used to have nice long legs, but now my torso grew and is really long, so I'm with you on that, Twinkie. (Hopefully my legs will grow again :D). Yes, definitely try to make the best of whatever you are given. That is what I am trying to do, too!

 

 

--Di :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's true, even if you have long legs, and you don't have a waist that curves in, it CAN make your torso look stocky. Go for leotards with princess seams, or a different color bra area, or the layered cami look on top, to give the illusion of curves. Stay away from "ballet cut" legs, that really cut your leg off from your body. Try the crazy ABT leotard with the high cut legs (but be warned, a small is really an extra, extra small in that leotard. I wear a small in everything, but a large!!!! in that leotard). Also try a hip alignment belt, or one of the skirts that are super short and don't go quite all the way around you, or low cut short shorts to give yourself a waist.

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