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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Articles: A footballer at the Royal Ballet

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Thanks for sharing. I loved the part where they said that one does not know any dancers names but those from footballplayers....I would not know a single footballplayer who is active at the moment, haha. The article is extremly well written and I had to laugh out loud many times. :thumbsup:

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Hee - I was just about to post the link to this. I loved this line:


"Attending rehearsals at the Royal Ballet at its home, the Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden, is like being witness to a top-secret military experiment involving evolutionarily advanced, medically strengthened humanoids with fully rotating sockets, rubber bones and spines made of string. In the next world, we’ll all be like this"


They're a bit rough on footballers, though, as much as the article is very jokey. The mental demands required in reading a game of football are immense, and footballers are often unfairly derided as thick.


I would like to see some flexibility training from ballet incorporated into footballers' training regimes. Even watching the players warming up is nailbiting: their flexibility is often awful and their hamstrings always seem 'on the edge'.

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Yes, if you hadn't beaten me to it I was going to post this too. It is great to see a positive article about ballet, celebrating how difficult it is, and praising those who have achieved success, rather than the more common line of accusing ballet of being elitist in a derogatory way.

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Fantastic article - thanks so much for posting it!

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Loved this article....non-ballet son asked why Carlos Acosta sounded so familiar< (son is a huge Arsenal and Everton fan).....he had run across a poster of Carlos in his sister's apartment when visiting with her. :flowers:

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Time for a contrary opinion. Though interesting to hear the experience of an “outsider,” I don’t care for articles like this one. Why? Because in my opinion they emanate from a feeling of insecurity about ballet and I don’t think dancers need or should feel insecure about what they do. Articles like these all take the same line of attack—i.e., ballet is physically more demanding than (your physical sport of choice). The argument is that people from other activities have great difficulty doing what ballet people do. You never see an article about how some other physical activity is more demanding than ballet. Nor do you think of how difficult it would be for ballet people to do what others do. This lack of symmetry indicates in my mind the writer’s feeling of weakness, a need to say “I’m as good as you are.”


Though there are some similarities in terms of the psychological makeup of high level physical performers, in terms of physical qualities there are very few similarities between them. Each activity has its own set of requirements, both physical and psychological. These activities are just not in any sense comparable. Those performers at the top are so good at what they do it is staggering. I think we should appreciate what people do and just leave it at that. Secure people do that.


One last thing that bothers me about these comparisons is that dance is an art form while sport is a contest. In a contest, the goal is winning or your relative standing among performers. In dance, the goal is to create feeling and thought in an audience. Just not the same in my mind.

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Sorry, Garyecht I can't agree with you. This is a high profile article which will reach many people who know little about the realities of ballet. All it is doing is correcting the popular misconception that ballet is a fluffy pink activity for little girls, a few delicate boys, and adults who have never grown up!

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I take your point Garyecht - some ‘comparison’ pieces could indeed be seen as a ‘defensive strikes’, and in some cases are exactly that.

This article in particular though written as it is from the footballer’s point of view, I just enjoyed as an amusing and well written article which marvelled at the physical prowess of ballet dancers. On this occasion I can’t agree with all your comments on the article - although I can agree with your comments in general. As the mother of a 15 year old male ballet dancer, I certainly wouldn’t want to perpetuate the idea that ballet is something that one should ever need to feel defensive about.

However, to redress the balance a little and to demonstrate that ballet dancers do sometimes get those comparisons from sportsmen, you might prefer this radio article. It responded to a comment made by a member of the British bobsleigh team shortly after he was injured when his team crashed out of its heat at the Winter Olympics.

"It's just one of those things ... but it's bobsleigh, you know, not ballet dancing"

The Chief Exec of Sadler’s Wells was asked to comment and he makes several of the points that you make above.

I hope you enjoy this one better :)

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I felt the article was meant to be more humorous than to provide any real meaningful comparison. While it did provide an "outsider's" insight on the demands of ballet, it appears that it was run in the Arts and Entertainment section. I'm reasonable certain that the huge majority of people who will actually see and read the article will be those who already understand ballet. Like us.

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Dear Convent Garden:


Thank you so much for thinking of all us when you posted the link to this wonderful article.


I will share the article with my DS, who for the past 9+ years has excelled at both sports, ballet and football (soccer).


The two sports go hand-in-hand, with his football skills improving tremendously with the help of his ballet training.


He just recently gave up football as he is now seriously focusing on ballet.


Have a terrific weekend!



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It was indeed run in the section called "Culture". But this is the section that as well as ballet, opera and classical music reviews also includes, items or reviews on books, films, theatre, pop and jazz music, and the TV listings. So I do think the article may have caught the eye of people who wouldn't read the ballet reviews and were initially looking for something else.

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The radio interview was very interesting - thanks for that CG. It also brought up a very important point about dance injuries. Sadly there are very few dance physios/doctors who have the necessary knowledge about dancers, their bodies, the physical demands of the art and the dancers' abilities, to deal with them properly. I have mainly been blessedly injury free throughout my long years in dance, but when I have had something - I have found that regular physios simply didn't know how to deal with me. I remember when I broke my ankle some years back - I needed to work on getting the flexibility back, so I went to the local health clinic physio. She didn't have a clue why I was there, because when she examined me she found me still to have normal flexibility in my ankle. Then I showed her my other foot in a pointed position and the penny dropped. I have had occasional back problems and when I say that it hurts and stops me doing things, they always tell me to bend forward and try and touch my toes. Of course that's not the problem - lifting the leg in arabesque is - something normal people don't even think about doing.

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