I’ve never watched a full episode of the ‘Dance Moms’ TV show but the commercials alone would have been enough to scare me away from enrolling my children into a dance class- if I didn’t already have nearly twenty years of wonderful experiences right here at Ballet Society.
With three daughters who have all enjoyed every aspect of their training here, I’d like to share with you some of the things I have learned about dance and dancers over the years.
Since I have not received dance training, what I share is from the ‘mom’ perspective. Dance has been part of the human experience since the earliest recorded events. Early historical records show that people have long danced in celebration when they are happy, as part of their worship, and as many of us can attest, people also enjoy watching others dance as a form of entertainment.
A brief overview of Ballet could start with the definition. The word ballet comes from the Italian balletto, which comes from Latin ballo, ballare, meaning "to dance", which in turn comes from the Greek "βαλλίζω" (ballizo), "to dance, to jump about". Ballet is a type of performance dance which originated in the 15th century Italian Renaissance courts. Classical ballet developed under King Louis XIV, of France who was an avid dancer and performed in ballets himself.
In 1661 Louis founded the Académie Royale de Danse (Royal Dance Academy) which was charged with establishing standards for the art of dance and certification of dance instructors. Through this process, ballet has become a highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary. Primarily performed with the accompaniment of classical music, ballet has been widely influential globally as a dance form. Professional ballet dance works are staged by choreographers and performed by highly skilled artists, using mime and drama techniques, and are typically set to orchestral music. This genre of dance is challenging to master, requiring much training and practice. Later techniques developed which include expressionist ballet, neoclassical ballet, elements of modern dance and contemporary ballet.
Live ballet performances can be as inspiring and entertaining as Broadway productions and the messages brought to the stage through ballet productions range from the classic story ballets like, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Cinderella; to comedic tales like Coppelia, Ferdinand and the Bull, and Peter and the Wolf; and can also include contemporary or abstract ideas choreographed to a variety of music styles.
Although I enjoy watching many different dance styles, in both class and performance venues, what I value most about the dance training my children have received is the beautiful life skills they have discovered along the way, which have positively impacted every aspect of their lives. Have you ever read Shad Martin’s response to, “Why do you pay so much money for your girls to dance?” He articulates perfectly what I often share with people. I’m very thankful that my children have been partakers in the beautiful world of dance!