Punk Ballet, Indie Ballet and Alternative Ballet for Beginners
Skinny ballerinas defy gravity on the tips of their toes, and unless you’re already an indie ballerina ( and there are quite a few about), your response is probably half ‘ouch’ and half ‘wow… how? If only’. Thought you’d never try it? Think again, darlings! Tutus at the ready!
Ballet isn’t as strategical and boring as a lot of people think. Did you know Dita Von Teese used to be a ballet dancer? She even does some of her acts en pointe (that’s when a dancer stands on the ends of her toes).
Most little girls want to be ballerinas when they grow up, but not many people actually know a lot about this mysterious art.
Odd ballet facts and myth-busters
- You don’t need to be skinny to do ballet. Unless you want to audition for The Royal Ballet tomorrow, size really isn’t an issue.
- Pointe shoes don’t have wooden blocks in the end. It’s just a hard shell which encases the toes and is made of newspaper, canvas and acrylic cement (I have no idea how they came up with that combination). Yes, they really do balance on the tips of two or three toes. Only female ballet dancers do this – after sufficient training and when the feet and ankles are strong enough.
- You don’t need to be strong and flexible from the start to do ballet. The ballet training itself does this.
- Ballet isn’t only for girls. In fact, ballet was invented by a king in Italy and women weren’t allowed to practice it for quite a while. If you want to see some amazing and pretty damn masculine male dancing click here.
- Ballet isn’t boring! I can’t think of anything more fun than prancing about and throwing limbs around at impressive angles. It’s and extremely rewarding activity. And it’s really cool to be able to say ‘look what I can do!’ then do something interesting and flexible.
- Ballet terms are all in French. I suggest taking up ballet lessons and turning up in a tutu and a beret. Your teacher will be very impressed with this.
- Ballet isn’t that expensive. My classes are £52 a term, for an hour a week, and once you’ve got the uniform it lasts a long time!
Try some ballet for beginners
Put your heels together and point your toes outwards (so they face away from you) and you look like Charlie Chaplin, or a duck. This is first position. Go you!
Now bend your knees… that, my budding ballerinas, is called a demi plie! See? Piece of cake.
But you’ve done nothing particularly amazing yet. How about this: turn one leg out (like in first position) and transfer your weight onto it. Lift your back leg behind you and turn that out, too. Don’t forget to point those toes! Lift one arm to a 45 degree angle in front of you and take the other straight out to the side. It’s hard to balance, but once you’ve got it, you’ve just accomplished your first arabesque. And swearing as you lose balance and knock over your cherished mama’s antique vase is not ballerina-like behaviour…
If you want to try something a little jumpier, an entrechat could be the right thing for you! Put your feet in first position. Now, move your right leg over so it is in front of your left, and your right heel is touching the middle part of your left foot. This is called third position. Now, jump in the air, straighten your legs in the air, and land with the other foot in front.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple! This time, jump in the air, straighten your legs and switch legs in the air (like last time), but this time quickly switch them back again before you come back down – like you wanted to change your feet but changed your mind coming back down. Ta-da! An entrechat! You can even put your arms above your head to make yourself feel more like a ballerina!
If you , ho-hum, you know, kind of want to take up ballet, but, ho-hum, you’re not too sure, then quit with the ho-hum. Just do it. You can start ballet at any age, even in adulthood with little ability and no previous knowledge. It isn’t as hard as people think to catch up, or to find classes that will take you in your area. Get out the good old Yellow Pages (we UK girls love yellow pages!) and get some phone numbers to call and ask for more information. Or use the interfret.
Ballet vs. Alternative Style
Yes, it can be difficult being an alternative ballerina, but I go to a lovely school – some other schools might not be so accepting of pink hair etc. I say the more tattoos and piercings, the better – turning up to posh auditions would be an event in itself… and you should only be judged based on your dancing so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Not that you need to go to any auditions if you’re just dancing for a hobby…
Before you go… click here for a laugh and a half. It’s Dawn French doing ballet with retired prima ballerina Darcey Bussel (view it from four minutes onwards).
This is the most beautiful punk ballet photo we’ve ever seen. It was taken by Hello Kitty Kisses.