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Timeless beauty of ballet dance
The graceful swishing of streamlined tutus and the understated elegance of pointe shoes – watch a ballet dancer in action and it’s hard not to get entranced. This old dance has survived through the ages because of its beauty. It’s not hard to find many young girls aspire to be ballerinas: they are the very picture of grace, elegance, and timeless beauty.
Ballet dance has evolved through the years but it has become no less popular. Once seen as a dance and art reserved for the elite upper classes of society, now it has become much more and is much more accessible to everyone. Although many ballet schools still offer the rigorous hard training for those determined to become prima ballerinas, for those who simply want to try out this artistic way of expression can do so without the long-term commitment.
Ballet remains popular and these days, many women opt to take it as a form of exercise. Many gyms and ballet studios these days offer a specialized exercise routine using the dance as a kind of workout. And it is a very popular workout as well: practitioners get toned arms and legs, burn many calories because of its cardiovascular activity, and they learn the elegant art as well.
For women who would like to try a form of exercise through dance — and learn a classical form of dance expression — ballet is a very good option. The customized workouts in these modern times can adapt to every level: novices and beginners or those with a background in dance. Practices using barres and other ballet techniques have been adapted for workout use, which helps give practitioners the strong, lean, toned bodies of experienced ballerinas. Get a great workout and the physique of graceful ballerinas with today’s modern customized workouts that emulate this classical dance.
To non-ballet dancers or aficionados, there is no difference to ballet shoes (slippers) to pointe shoes. But to those in the know, there is a world of difference between these two kinds of shoes, though both are worn for dancing ballet.
One major difference between these two is the fact that all ballet dancers, male or female wear ballet shoes when they dance. Pointe shoes however, are usually worn by female dancers. Although male dancers performing women roles in dance companies such as Grandiva and Les Ballets Trockadero also wear pointe. Males playing Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream or the ugly stepsister in Cinderella and other unconventional roles might wear pointe too. Ballet slippers are mostly worn during ballet classes and rehearsal, but women dancers change to pointe shoes during the performance or for center or pointe work.
Another main difference is in the physical feature and structure. A ballet shoe or slipper is soft and lightweight and is made of either satin, canvas or soft leather and comes with a thin flexible sole. It has to fit snugly on the foot to ensure maximum flexibility and safety. Traditionally, a ballet shoe has a leather sole which does not extend all the way to the tip of the slipper. But a modern version of the ballet slipper has a split sole for greater flexibility. The split sole also accentuate the contour of the foot when it is pointed.
On the other hand, a pointe has two major features not found on soft ballet shoes: a box and a shank. A box is the squared front of the shoes that supports and encloses the toes. A shank is a rigid object that stiffens the sole and serves as a support for the arch of the foot when it is pointed. The box of a conventional pointe shoe is normally made from compactly wadded layers of cloth and paper that are glued together and flattened in order to form a platform at which a dancer can balance. When the glue dries, it hardens to provide the needed stiffness to support the weight of the dancer. For more modern pointe shoes, the box is sometimes made from rubber and plastic, with the plastic providing the rigidity. I would like to thank In Motion Training Center for providing us with information for our website. You can visit them at inmotiontrainingcenter.com
How Pointe shoes are made
Pointe shoes are produced in different models each offering a special fit because every dancer’s foot is unique with disparity in mechanical strength, flexibility, shape and toe length. But whatever model or manufacturer of a pointe shoe, each and every model incorporates these two features.
How Ballet shoes are made
Ballet shoes are made from satin, canvas or soft leather. On the other hand, the outer side of a pointe shoes is wrapped with fabric, usually satin, to hide the box and other structures inside the shoes. Some pointe, however are covered with canvas. But both a ballet and pointe shoe for ladies are most often available in pink. Pointe shoes are not normally found in black or white but male dancers usually wear white or black ballet shoes. Tan colored ballet slippers are also worn for modern ballet performances to give the appearance of dancing barefoot.
The history of Ballet can sometimes be confusing to understand. The start of Ballet can sometimes be looked upon at the 1581 performances of Ballet Cominque de la Royne in Paris at the Palais du Petit Bourbon. This date makes Ballet one of the youngest performing arts known today. To understand exactly where Ballet came from you need to look at performances that happened before Ballet was called Ballet. The change and development of Ballet after 1581 would include French, Russian and even North America at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
The earliest of ballet performances were a form of entertainment to the Italian Renaissance courts. The early form of dance included poetry, music, art and dancing and usually would take place in large banquet halls. Performances that took place in front of a banquet meal usually related to the food menu itself.
As the Italian courts further developed Ballet it began to include a score, which was first seen at the “Queen’s Ballet Comedy”. With Ballet being watched from above, the choreography routine was highly emphasized to include elaborate dance patterns accompanied with songs and poetry that were more pleasing to watch from higher elevation. The French ballet was designed mostly for the entertainment of the rich, so high quality performances were always a must. Ballet performances were accompanied by expensive costumes, stage settings and expensive effects to “wow” the audience. Towards the middle of the 1600s the birth of the proscenium stage was born. Professional ballet performers just starting their career in dance were permitted to dance. Concluding the proscenium was the grand ballet that was reserved for the king and courtiers.
During the reign of Louis XIV which was during 1643-1715, ballet reached its peak. The 5 positions of the feet came to light by a French choreographer named Pierre Beauchamp. Ballet with spoken scenes were alternated with dance interludes and were the first of its kind.