Ballet is one of the most well-known dance styles due to the dancer’s elegance. Ballet originated during the Renaissance Period in the 1500’s in Italy.
Ballet dancers must have incredible strength and stability in their legs, arms, feet, toes, and core. Dancers will often take ballet at a very young age some as early as two or three. They start at a young age because their muscles are more flexible, which allows them to gain flexibility as they get older.
Beginning ballet dancers will start by learning first position, second position, third position, fourth position, and fifth position. They will also learn pirouette turns, grand jetes, chaines, and chaisses. By learning ballet steps at a young age, dancers can quickly increase their skill level and technique.
Every ballet dancer aspires to achieve the ultimate goal: pointe shoes. In order for a ballet dancer to do pointe they must first learn the majority of all ballet steps. A ballet dancer usually starts pointe between the ages of 12 and 15. Only highly skilled ballet dancers will do pointe as it takes a lot of practice and time. The pointe shoes allow the dancer to go on the tips of their toes which makes the dancer to create sharper ballet lines.
Pointe shoes are custom fit to the dancer’s foot for sizing and comfort. The main part of the pointe shoe is the hard toe box which is essentially the point part of the shoes. The shoes are half of the art form of pointe. The dancer’s feet are vital, and the dancer must train their body to withstand the impact of dancing on pointe. Pointe shoes start at $75, but can be more expensive depending on what kind of pointe shoe it is.
Professional ballet dancers go through hundreds of pairs of pointe shoes every year. In fact, the NYCB spends $600,000 a year on pointe shoes, which amounts to 170 pairs of pointe shoes for around 50 dancers.
Non-professinal ballet dancers will go through 2-4 pairs of pointe shoes per year depending on how much they dance. That ranges from $150-300 per year that is spent on pointe shoes.
Ballet may be challenging but it is truly rewarding for both the audience and the dancer. It provides the audience with an elegant and graceful performance that is absolutely remarkable. The dancer feels a sense of accomplishment and pride. Any dancer will tell you that the best feeling in the world is when you are onstage and you look out at the audience and you see smiles on their faces and you hear the roar of applause.