"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Ballet ~ Oh so Parisian

Aesha Ash

"Dancers are the messengers of the gods." - Martha Graham

Ballet emerged in the late 15th century Renaissasnce court culture of Italy as a dance interpretation of fencing. Ballet developed as a separate performance-focused art form in France during the reign of Louis 14th who was passionate about dance. In 1661, King Louis 14th established the Academie Royale de Dance (the modern day Paris Opera Ballet). And the rest, as they say, is history...

Linda Celeste-Sims

It had always been there at the back of my mind - "I want to become a ballet dancer." At the age of 24 I decided to do it already. While I knew almost nothing about the art of Ballet, I did know that ballerinas (professional & amateur) began to study the art at the age of 5 or 6. But I didn't give a flying hooey! I was grabbing life by the tutu and nothing was going to stop me.

Misty Copeland

Soon thereafter, I took my first ballet class - at a tiny school a few blocks from my home. Since, at the time, it was rare for an adult to begin Ballet classes, the average age of my fellow beginner classmates was 14! That didn't stop me - I was going to dance.

Linda Celeste-Sims

Within 1 year I was dancing en pointe. I have taken a Ballet class 3 days a week for the last 15 years. I danced through 4 babies in 5 years (to the day I gave birth, returning a few weeks after), through my 30s and have just entered my 40s. It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

Misty Copeland

About 10 years ago, I began to attend a new Ballet school - Salt Creek Ballet. By this time a small but goddess powerful movement had begun in the U.S. So many adult women and men were determined to study classical ballet that professional schools began to offer adult beginner to expert classes for the first time. At my new school my classmates were generally older than I - retired professional ballerinas, ballet teachers, and lay afficionados like myself. The average age is 50, but don't let their age fool you, these women are amazing!

At Salt Creek, about one week before I gave birth to Rory (my oldest).

I can't believe my belly was that big!

Plie, Adagio, Reverence - every movement, every moment of Ballet is a revelation. A ballerina, whatever her level of skill, is intimately connected to her inner and outer selves. The physical movements required for ballet requires the dancer to completely focus on her body - her breathing, her carriage, her center. Whatever is worrying you is blocked from your mind - you're too busy regulating your breathing, pulling up, turning out, and pointing your toes as hard as you can (all at the same time!) Ballet is as close to Zen as a person can get - heaven!

Misty Copeland & Linda Celeste-Sims

And what does ballet do for your body/to your body? It gently sculpts your body, gives you strength and endurance. Ballet also unconsciously alters how you move: you sit and walk taller, kind of float when you move. It requires great strength, discipline, and grace - all neatly packaged in a sensually feminine body.

Misty Copeland

No, Ballet does not make you skinnier or taller once you've reached a certain age (you'd have to go 6 hours a day, 7 days a week). That's not the point. Remember?: "Beauty and elegance are not about age or height or weight - they are about a sense of ease, a sense of dignity, and a sense of individuality shining through." Monsieur Fekkai, unwittingly, perfectly describes and explains the beauty and revelation that is Ballet.

I'm entering my 15th year of Ballet and I'll dance for the rest of my life - amen!

Misty Copeland

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


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