I know it requires massive skill, talent, determination and physical prowess, but, to my untutored eye, ballet always looks like a bunch of people jumping up and down. With out the slo-mo, I can’t see the grace; unless its on ice, of course.
At a performance of Don Quixote, one of the lead dancers did SEVEN of the second jump in the video in a row, making a big circle. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. The whole ballet was, actually. They were like human fireworks, performing such awe-inspiring feats of grace and strength in such brief moments that your brain could hardly take note of it.
I can’t find it on YouTube, but in the 1970s there was a whole news arc on football players and ballet dancers switching training. It was made very clear that the ballet dancers had no difficulty doing the football exercises whereas even basic ballet class was exhausting and overwhelming to the football players.
I believe this came to the attention of national news because Lynn Swan admitted to taking ballet to help him play football.
Ballet (and figure-skating) gets put down a lot by chauvinists because it is concerned with grace. But the very fact that it is graceful adds so much more challenge. After such moves, the heart is pumping like crazy and there’s a huge need for oxygen, yet the dancers have to rein it all in and remain absolutely poised. They don’t get a chance to collapse on the side-bench panting loudly, dousing themselves with their water bottle.
I was raised going to the ballet, and I am in absolute awe of what they can do. As Seki says, after they do these amazing things, they have to remain poised and cool. The only downside is that it makes me realized that I am, essentially, a big bag of fat and starch. Thanks a lot, ballet dancers!
Hey waitasecond. That’s not bullet time! It’s Six Million Dollar Man time!
I’m with you. I fully understand cerebrally how badass what they are doing is, and how even my palest shadow of an imitation wouldn’t come close, but I can’t actually see it. My snap judgement feels just don’t interpret it as anything all that impressive.
I have a feeling it is like watching a Star Craft championship. If you understand what you are seeing you are like “OMFG!!! That guy is doing 200 clicks per second and micromanaging so many things at once!!! This person isn’t human!”, but to someone who doesn’t understand, it looks like a nerd playing an unimpressive video game.
That said, I fully agree about ice ballet. Ice ballet lets them smooth everything out more and it is on freaking ice skates. My logical half and snap judgement feels half are in full agreement that ice ballet is amazing.
I used to work with someone who was on the Ice-capades. Having seen the state her feet were in, I can’t help but flinch when seeing dancer’s land… on their freakin’ toes! Aaargh!
I think I heard the same thing about Brett Favre.
EDIT: But it wasn’t true, probably the Swan story with the wrong guy.
I practiced martial arts for many years, and gained a massive appreciation for ballet dancers. They’re like, martial arts to the nth degree.
And the most wonderful kiss of my life came from a dancer at the English National Ballet in London. She kissed me on the cheek, and was gone. Fluttering I believe, to this day.
They are pretty freaking amazing, but I lack the knowledge to appreciate their art. I just can’t get beyond all the pain it takes just to get into the chorus line (or whatever it is called).
Mind you, I can’t sit still during an opera. I am, at heart, a philistine, in all the best ways.
In college I took a year of ballet and modern dance. I got teased for it. I said, 'I’m the only straight guy in a room with 20 women wearing leotards while they are jumping up and down. How is this stupid?"
There was one woman in one of my latter classes who had a stunning figure and very graceful. She was too young for me and not really the right personality fit. But I wrote her a note before I graduated to say just how much I admired her gracefulness in the class. I didn’t want to date her, I just wanted her to know.
Maybe it was creepy, I hope not, I didn’t pursue her or stalk her just wanted to say more than. “Nice routine”
“I could do that, but I have a diarrhea problem.”
I bet you’d taste great fried on a stick though.
ETA: I’m doubtful a ballet dancer would. Ballerina confit, however…
I would like to attend the most fancy-schmancy of operas roaring drunk, delivered in a rat-rod Duesenberg with ‘arriviste’ rattle-canned on the back of my tuxedo.
That reminds me of the smell of my shin guards munching skin because that’s what they do if you wear them all day practicing freestyle skateboarding.
Somebody please redo this movie back in the nineties, with Rodney Mullen doin some ollie impossible nosebone grab insanity.
Ach, gravity. You’re such a drag.
I suppose someone like Arnie wouldn’t necessarily be as self-conscious about this, as there doesn’t seem to be quite as much of a stigma about men dancing in Austria (from what I can tell). There are more women than men dancing in this video, but it does suggest that ballroom dancing is an established and accepted tradition that you are allowed to do without breaking the code of manhood or anything. I knew a European woman who was a professional ballet dancer in China for a number of years, she also said that it’s not assumed that the men are gay or effeminate for getting involved in ballet.