If you are planning a night at the ballet, it's a good idea to read a little bit about the particular ballet you are attending. You will have a pretty good idea of what the ballet is all about by reading the synopsis in the back of the program. But watching a ballet involves much more than following a storyline. Professional ballet dancers spend endless hours practicing and perfecting their technique. Since you may not be aware of the vast array of ballet fundamentals, how can you evaluate the dancers? Here are a few things to look for.
- A Dancer's Feet:
Ballet dancers are known for their beautiful feet. Notice how their toes are always pointed, especially when they leave the ground. Excellent ballet dancers have incredible arches and flexible ankles. Watch for their crisp, clean footwork.
- A Dancer's Alignment:
One of the first things a ballet dancer learns is how to properly hold the body. Notice the incredible, unwavering posture of each dancer. Look how their arms and legs form graceful parallel and perpendicular lines with each step. Watch how they hold up their heads, necks long and stretched, chins up.
- A Dancer's Weightlessness:
One of the most amazing qualities of a ballet dancer is the appearance of being able to float through the air. Notice how the dancers appear weightless as they glide through the air. Watch the men leap high into the air and complete countless rotations before their feet hit the floor.
- A Dancer's Expression:
Notice the emotion on the faces of the ballet dancers. Excellent ballet dancers seem to speak volumes without uttering a single word. Ballet mime is a set of conventional gestures that allow dancers to speak without words. After you have watched a few ballets, you will become familiar with the basic mime gestures and find it easier to understand the underlying themes.