Most people know that Ballet is a powerful and elegant style of dance, some people even know that the techniques learned in a Ballet class support and help you to improve in all styles of dance. Ballet even helps actors develop their movement skills to be able to communicate more fluidly on stage. Meet some of our staff and students discussing how much Ballet means to them
Boys and Ballet
I first started dancing when I was about four years old, I started with modern and tap. It wasn’t until a number of years later that I decided to join a Ballet class. After realising how much it would benefit me, especially if I wanted to proceed in Dance as a career.
Progressing through the grades has really, really helped me to develop my technique and to improve in ways that I could never imagine. I feel like every class I go to, I learned something new. And I can take that into all my other dance classes instead of just applying it to ballet. That syllabus has really helped me because I feel like I’m prepared and I know the right technique that I need to be using when I go to auditions.
When I very first started ballet, I honestly didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know the right technique, the posture and I didn’t realise how much it actually influenced you in other classes. But now I feel like although I still have obviously a long way to go. I know a lot more about the right way to be standing the different like positions and I just know a lot more about it. I’m not 100% sure where I want to go in the future, but I know that whatever I do, I want to be dancing all day, every day.
Being a beginner at Ballet
At first, it was really scary to study Ballet. Because obviously, it’s the core of dance. I had my ups and downs in ballet. And it was really, really hard at first. But I would push myself as far as I could go. So I would know that I can do that step, I can do that move, I can do that turn. But I just need to practice more. When I started, I thought, oh, I’m going to be at the back of the class. But now I’ve pushed myself more and I’m feeling very confident, knowing the movements, knowing the steps and thinking that I can do it.
It’s not where I was at the start at the start. I was, I was so scared, just to be at the front. And I was copying all the people at the front. But now I know that if I try my hardest, I can get to that position where I am at now. Hopefully for the future, I can push myself to get into the acting and drama schools. To get into one of these top schools you need to have a strong technique and a good sense of dance. That’s why I enjoy Ballet so much because it helps me to improve in my other dance lessons as well and improve in my core and my strength in dance.
Ballet and Modern Dance
Ballet is the heart and core of every dance style. No matter what discipline you study, there’s always something you can take from a ballet class and incorporate into your own style. I think the main style that goes with ballet is Modern. Ballet helps with strength and flexibility, I think it particularly helps with like technical movements such as like leaps and kicks because these are all frequently used in both ballet and modern.
I think one of the elements Ballet and Modern share is the concept of movement and shape. Ballet teaches you how to establish turnout and rotation in your hips. This is easily transferred into a modern lesson, because it helps you have height on your sidekicks and extensions. I think another similarity between the two styles is the terminology used. And I think this is really helpful because it means you can transfer the skills you’ve learned between your classes and it helps you to progress faster. I think ballet is heavily influential in all styles from contemporary to jazz. It makes it easier to learn and understand.
Ballet and Contemporary Dance – Chris Bradley
Ballet is a really important part of any dance career and in particular with Contemporary dance it is actually how the form emerged. So Isadora Duncan back in the 1900s had trained in ballet. And she loved dancing and she loved to move, but she decided that Ballet was slightly too constrained for what she wanted to do. out of Isadora’s work, lots of practioners started to emerge who were working against the traditions of Ballet. More recently, we’ve got choreographers like Matthew Bourne, who has become one of the biggest names on the British dance scene. One of his most famous pieces of work is Swan Lake, traditionally, a piece for a huge corps of female dancers, Matthew flipped on his head and he made the swan a male and the corps become a corps of males. He brings a whole new dimension to the work. You’ve got this very traditional Ballet, and Matthew then flips that and he brings in men and shows this other side of swans, which is aggression and vigour and power and a lot of that work whilst it’s still Balletic in nature it still goes up in the air, there’s still lots to jumps in it, but it also conveys the sense of power that we find in swans.
In the contemporary institutions all around the world. The dancers, the young people training in dance will do ballet several times a week because the the technique and the base that that provides is absolutely invaluable.
Ballet for Actors – Gemma Kendall
When I started my actor training, and ballet was on my timetable, I was a bit confused as to why it was on there because I was training to be an Actress, not Dancer. Then we had our first ballet lesson, and I understood exactly why it was there. The strength and the discipline that goes into training in Ballet is exhausting. And it’s really important for actors too.
For actors, it’s not enough just to get a piece of text and to speak it. You need to understand how the body moves, how it operates and Ballet is perfect in identifying your core, your strength, and utilising the space, the weight. As an actor, it’s really important to experience training in ballet, It will support your skills as an actor and give you confidence when you need to move in the space.
Understanding how the body moves is vital for all actors and for that Ballet is perfect.