Professional dancers make ballet look graceful, elegant and effortless; but this of course couldn’t be farther from the truth! Becoming proficient in ballet dancing requires effort, discipline, commitment and the odd tumble; in short if you want to be the best ballet dancer you can be, practice makes perfect!
Why does ballet require lots of practice? We explore below:
Technique Takes Time to Master
While all forms of dance require practice to master technique; ballet is particularly technique-heavy. So much so that many of the terms for movements first described in ballet have been adopted by other forms of dance. There’s good reason for this emphasis on technique: ballet involves plenty of lifting, jumping and leaping, and incorrect technique exposes dancers to a higher likelihood of injury. A dancer with poor technique will also look out of place when performing with more technical dancers.
Many ballet positions are ones that are slightly unnatural to your body; hence the importance of practicing technique until your body feels comfortable in different positions. It’s also important to make sure you’re wearing quality Pointe shoes which support your feet. At More to the Pointe we stock hand-crafted Gaynor Minden shoes which are designed to offer your feet optimal comfort and stability.
Professional Dancers Practice a Lot!
Professional dancers work very hard to deliver impeccable performances. Although a significant portion of their effort is devoted to fitness routines outside dance classes; they also invest many hours practicing choreography and technique. With ballet there’s always more to learn and more to practice! Many professional dancers will train for about a decade before being selected to join a company. Once in a company, dancers might rehearse up to eight hours a day, six days a week. They will even practice for several hours on the day of a performance. Luckily most dancers who pursue ballet to this level are very passionate about what they do!
The Science Behind Practicing
When we hear sayings like ‘practice makes perfect’ so often, it can be easy to simply dismiss them as clichés; however, in the case of this saying, there’s a huge amount of scientific evidence to back it up. Scientists have been able to demonstrate that as you repeat a task over and over, your brain actually produces more of a substance called myelin.
What myelin does is it helps your neural pathways work faster, meaning over time, the task you practice become easier. Even as an adult your brain is capable of producing more myelin on the axons which connect your neurons, this process is slower than in children and very young adults but it still works!
Note it’s important to recognise that practicing only makes perfect if you practice correctly. If you practice the WRONG technique, over and over again, guess what? Your brain will master this incorrect technique and it can be very hard to change the habit!
Make your practice perfect, with quality, custom fitted ballet shoes; contact More to the Pointe today.