Madeleine Eastoe and Andrew Killian in The Merry Widow. Photo Jeff Busby
Ballet is exciting to do, and to watch.
It is an entertaining theatrical art, performed on stage to an audience. Ballet is about art, but it is also about life. Classical ballet technique was established centuries ago in the courts of Europe, and it has been evolving ever since as dance teachers, artists and researchers refine approaches to training and add to the vocabulary of steps and movements that are unique to the ballet discipline.
Ballet dancers are fit, strong and flexible, and they are lifelong students. They take class every day of their lives to keep in shape, to maintain the quality of their style and technique, and to enjoy the community of other dancers. To be able to perform at the best of their ability, dancers need focus, commitment and a capacity for hard work.
A ballet performance enables dancers to communicate with an audience. The creation of a ballet starts with an idea or a movement which is nurtured, tried out, modified, tried again, talked through, tried again, refined, practised and presented, then reflected upon and finally remembered.
On a crowded stage, dancers are able to kick, run, jump and turn without hitting each other. This is because they have a highly developed kinaesthetic sense, a sensibility of who is where, a perception of speed and trajectory, and respect for one another’s performance space. A performance is a successful model for our crowded world, where people working in concert learn to adjust and compromise.