by Jacqueline Anne Go
Dancing ballet is anything but easy.
On the surface, you see us dancing on the tips of our toes wearing a fluffy tulle skirt and a sparkly tiara, doing all these turns and leaps that seem to look effortless. But behind all that are hours of hard work and torture that our bodies go through on a daily basis.
My teacher once said that dancing ballet is like training in the military. Precise head and arm movements coincide with the extreme extensions of our legs. Strength of the upper body, alignment of the center and stability of the muscles should be engaged at all times– without making it look tensed. That Sugarplum Fairy you see at The Nutcracker?
That solo is two whole minutes of hell– performed with a smile.
The Art of Ballet Dance
With high hopes of becoming a model someday, my mom enrolled me to ballet lessons at the age of four to improve my posture. Unfortunately, modeling was not something I wanted to pursue as I went on dancing for the next twenty-four years. I grew up spending my after school hours and weekends at the dance studio while everybody else was at at the mall or attending parties. In school, I was the go-to dancer and choreographer when invocations and intermissions were necessary.
When my family decided to migrate, I had to leave my ballet school and transfer to a city where no adequate ballet training could be found. My heart was crushed. That’s when I decided to become a ballet teacher.
I spend at least thirty hours every week at the dance studio training kids and adults of all ages. I have taught over a thousand students their first plies and have coached those who have brought home the city’s first medals in competitions.
But the true satisfaction as a teacher is not the number of shows we’ve done nor the awards we have received, but being able to share the beauty and fun of dancing.
In ballet, we are taught to “Give it your all or not at all”.
There are no small or big roles and we dance our heart out in every performance. In the end as we take our bow, that applause our audience gives us, that feeling of accomplishment, is our satisfaction.
Though we work hundreds of hours tirelessly and push our bodies to the extreme, why do we continue to dance? Because dance brings us together in many ways.
Now that I have become a ballet teacher, the accomplishment and satisfaction of my students are mine as well. Next time you see a ballet dancer on stage, you will not only admire all the training she has given her body to be able to dance effortlessly, but you will also respect this dancer who has extreme discipline and a big heart.
Jacqueline is a graduate of B.A. Communication at the University of the Philippines, Baguio. She studied ballet at Children’s Dance Workshop and is a former aspirant at Ballet Manila. Today, she is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Ballet Baguio, the city’s premier classical dance school. She is also the founder of Paper Dance Philippines, an online crafts shop.