Learning About Ballet

Learning about ballet can be rewarding, fun and may even lead you into performing. Ballet is the basis of dance and whether you’re a beginner, adult, teacher or professional there’s always something more to learn.

There is much much more to ballet than little girls pirouetting on a stage in a dance school recital, or going to see a production of Swan Lake. Learning basic ballet steps gives you an excellent grounding for many forms of dance – modern, hip-hop and ballroom and even ice dancing are just examples.

When you think of a famous ballet dancer, names such as Rudolph Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn and Anna Pavlova immediately spring to mind. What about some of the other less obvious names, dancers who you don’t automatically associate with ballet;

Gene Kelly: The 18 minute ballet sequence with Leslie Caron in “An American In Paris” most likely led to him receiving an honorary Academy Award for “….his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film”

Patrick Swayze: Formally trained in ballet, appeared in Broadway and West End shows (Grease, Guys And Dolls, Chicago).

Catherine Zeta Jones: Learned tap and ballet in a church hall! Played the role of Velma Kelly in the award winning film Chicago.

Some of the old movies are an excellent source of inspiration for learning about ballet, among them of course The Red Shoes, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty (Kirov Ballet). Other films with excellent ballet sequences include An American In Paris, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Singin’ In The Rain and West Side Story.

Learning ballet takes time, hard work and plenty of practice and although it is considered better to start as a child, adult dancers can still benefit from basic ballet training. Finding a ballet class is the easy part, and it is essential that dancers take proper lessons from a good teacher. However many dancers – and teachers – looking to learn more about ballet can supplement their training by studying ballet videos or DVDs, books and online resources.

Learning ballet terms, the positions, posture, and even how to warm up properly are all necessary if you want to learn to be a ballet dancer. And remember the golden rule – practice, practice, practice!

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