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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ballet is for sissies. Oh yeah?

The truth? YOU WANT THE TRUTH? You couldn't handle the truth! If you are into ballet, you couldn't survive unless you were tough as nails and twice as determined.

That's Misty Copeland. author, entertainer, and American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. She is also a wit with an engaging personality as she demonstrated on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, the best and wittiest radio hour on NPR every Saturday and repeated on Sunday. 

In 2007, Copeland became only the third African-American soloist in the first two decades of the American Ballet Theatre and at 32 now, she is one of the best in the world.

I believe the ballet is a beautiful art form and while I am reluctant to see another Swan Lake I marvel
Jennifer Beals
at the grace and skill of the dancers. Not to brag, I have seen Black Swan, Billy Elliot, Flashdance and, though contemporary more than ballet, The Alvin Ailey Dancers. Oh, and I am happily a Facebook friend of Amber Skye Forbes.

I have even met Flashdance's Jennifer Beals just to show how strongly I am in the art. She was giddiously triumphant just after that Flashdance role and had a few young friends with her in a New York restaurant. As she walked buy, I congratulated her performance and she laughed and said "Oh, I'm not her," which caused her friends to giggle as she probably whispered "What a treat," which sounded in the din, strangely like "What a creep."

The New York City Ballet which has now performed "The Nutcracker 2,342 times offered these statistics on what it takes to be a dancer:
  • 460 over-the-counter pain pills consumed by the company in a week
  • 334 Band-Aids used by the company per week
  • 35 seconds for 16 dancers to change from leotards into dresses during Ratmansky's Namouna, a Grand Divertissement
  • 5,805 Altoids consumed backstage during a year-long season
  • 50 lbs of fake snow dropped during a performance of The Nutcracker
  • 40 hours of corps member dance time per week
  • 7 feet 7 inches: the length of Maria Kowroski's arabesque from fingertip to toe
  • 4 ft average height of a male dancer's jete leap
  • 18 minutes 35 seconds of the bows and curtain calls for principal dancer Wendy Whelan's farewell performance last year
  • 2 days: the average lifespan of a pointe shoe
  • 8,500 pointe shoes used in a season

So don't ever say ballet is for sissies unless you first walk a mile in her shoes.

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