Knowhow-Now Article

Demystifying Ballet Dance Steps Towards Mastery And Perfection

Most people think that being a ballerina means wearing pink stuff like pretty pink tutus and pin satin pointe shoes. The truth is being a ballerina is more than being cute in pink outfits; it is hard work. Ballerinas deal with a lot of pressure and, of course, pain. For the love of the dance, they endure and love the pressure and pain as well. This is perhaps hard to believe because ballerinas and danseurs perform without showing pain or hardship; this is what makes ballet dancers so amazing. In performances, they show controlled strength camouflaged by grace and elegance. Ballet is most challenging because certain ballet dance steps and movements defy dancers’ certain natural body alignments and structure. Hence, to become a professional ballet dancer, years of training is needed. Some famous professional ballerinas and danseurs even start as early as three years old. Learning the ballet steps needs to be gradual, hence, time is needed.

One of the first ballet dance steps that baby ballerinas or beginners learn is the step called Plie. This literally means “bent” a continuous and smooth bending of the knees. The Plie can be grand-Plie which is a bend to the deepest position or demi-Plie which bends until below the hips. When doing a Plie, proper turn out needs to be observed in order for the knees and thighs to be directly above of the toes but the heels must stay on the ground. This is taught as early as possible because this step is needed for other more complicated steps such as saute or jump, releves, and glissades. Port de bras are a set of different arm positions and this literally means “carriage of the arms”. Port de bras are also one of the first few steps that are learned by baby and beginner ballerinas. These arm positions are taught as early as possible because they are part of the basics and they are very easy. However, ballerinas need to learn how to make it look graceful, flawless and poise and this is hard work. The port de bras starts with bras bas then first, second, third, fourth and fifth position.

The longer the training, the more complicated the dance steps become. This is the challenge of advancing ballet dancer to become a real trouper or a professional. After surpassing the baby class and the beginner class, steps are going to be a bit harder. Ballet dance steps that are taught at the age of 10 to 12 include: pas de bourree, soubresaut, sissone, pas de chat, single frappee, and also echappee. If one wants to become a great dancer, the dancer needs to be serious at this point and onward. Flexibility is also given emphasis around this time.

The next level marks the hardest transition as the budding ballerina is introduced to pointe work or the dance routines using pointe shoes. Thus, strength needs to be reinforced, though grace must never fade. Ballerinas at the age of 14 onward are going to start to feel the pressure and pain because dance steps are going to be very complicated. Some of the dance steps include double frappee, battu, changement, arabesque, attitude, high developpee, grand jetee, pirouette, fouette and many more. The challenge that ballerinas face at this age is doing all of those steps on pointes while observing proper turnout.

Ballerinas who are on pointes are already taught how to do partnering dances or pas de deux. This is danced by two individuals; particularly a male and a female. The hard parts of these kinds of dances are the lifts. There are easy lifts but there are others that are very complicated and risky such as fish dive, angel lift, over-head lift and many more. Ballet dance steps in pas de deux also include promenades in arabesque and attitude as well as supported pirouettes and whips.

To become a great ballet dancer, it takes more than just being in a pink tutu; one needs to master the different ballet dance steps with fluidity and precision. One must master each and every step because a ballerina cannot afford to commit mistakes while on pointes that can mean injury. Perfection is, therefore, a constant goal that can only be attained with discipline and a great passion for the art.

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