To all of those out of there, those elite goddesses in the field of ballet... who give themselves wholly to the craft. All for ballet
Ladies, I have to bow my head and kneel in respect to you all, whoever you may be.
The demands to reach excellence in ballet are infinite, aren't they? Up with the sun, strenuous workout from the dawn 'til the dusk, pushing every part of the body to do the impossible. then after, the impossible is reached, it must be continuously worked on, every moment of every day.
Because it's not like any simple talent, it's physical ability. The moment you stop working on it, it all goes away.
Yes, those ladies are not merely professionals. They are soldiers. Their lives of one are endless access.
I can see you bear the war wounds of a professional. Crooked hammer toes, slight blisters, athlete's foot--even blooming under the nails like a lush garden. As we all know, folks--ballet is never merely a hobby. Especially if you want to be particularly good at it.
There are women all over the ballet world who do this. Who must. Many talk of "perfect feet." The ideal feet for ballet, to truly possess feet for professional ballet-- for the ladies in this field, are notoriously deformed---calluses, blisters, boils, warts, damaged nails, athlete's foot, bunions, and on and on and on.
And until those feet are good and strong enough, the pointe shoe must remain just out of reach. An ideal peak goal to be achieved. Like a big juicy carrot a few inches in front of a donkey's face.
It's a rite of passage. Not just to take a big milestone in her life in ballet, but new shoes. Special shoes. Powerful shoes. Every woman love shoes so. And ballerinas dream of the day they get to do those toe shoes.
But beware, those shoes come at a hefty price. And no, I do not mean the pricey cost.
The shoes can cause blisters, bunions, warts, calluses, broken toenails, athlete's foot, splints, arthritis, crooked toes – and that's just the headline.
Still, that's a necessary price one must pay to be part of such a craft. Ballet is sacrifice itself. And the reward is you become more than mortal. Do and feel more in a few weeks than most do in a lifetime.
It is a part of immortal history that Margot Fonteyn was not only a prima ballerina, but was named “prima ballerina absolutta” by the British Empire as well as given the rank of Dame. History looks at her as one of the finest there ever was in the sport despite her notorious “bad feet.”
Yes, that she had “bad ballet feet” is also a part of history–but this is only known to die-hard fanatical balletomanes. You know, people actually in the professional dance industry.
But unless you’re really savvy about the craft, you must ask, “what are ballet feet? What are bad feet for ballet?”
The kind of feet that are best equipped for ballet–high arches, high insteps that will suit jumps, pointe, pirouette, tendus and what-have-you. From being able to arch your foot and being able to balance on the metatarsal.
What this refers to is the fact that her feet had low arches, like “sticks of butter” and her legs were quite short for a ballerina. On a ballerina, long legs and arms are a must. Absolutely necessary as being able to stand up and walk. And Fonteyn’s were considerably short, and yes–flat feet.
Look, I myself have been praised by ballet pros for my very own feet–made for ballet, which I’ve been taking for nine whole years. Take it from someone who’s done the craft and played the sport himself for almost a decade: You don’t just have to be born with it.
If you want the glorified curve in your foot, for it to stand tall and prominent, you’ll just have to work at it. Doing pointe exercise with an elastic band until those arches come up. Mold your feet into the proper shape like they’re made of clay.
Yet this little woman, one Margaret Fonteyn was given the title of “prima ballerina absolutta,” an honor given to the precious ballerinas who seem to be heaven-sent in the profession. Madams Anna Pavolva, Natalia Makarova, and of course, Fonteyn.
Ballet master and innovator himself George Balanchine critiqued the first lady of Royal Ballet herself Margot as, “Hands like spoons, bad feet, can’t dance at all.” But he also attacked Rudi as, “a passable dancer whose problem is he always tries to be the prince.” Mr. Balanchine wanted the only star of his ballets to be his own choreography. Any dancer who’s career and reputation outshone his own made him feel threatened.
He founded a school and company where he was God. That’s why he called his students/employees “dear.” He liked to think of them as his own children. One of those true artistes who was all ego.
Look, kids: Technique is one thing. But Margot had a way of onstage, a charisma and persona that isn’t really taught. Makarova’s technique was flawless. She was born for technique. But technique can be taught. Margot had a way that transcended mere skill or exact body type.
Fonteyn was an icon in her field, regardless of how “proper” her feet (or her short legs) might have been. There is more to the ballet than mere physical dance. She was a ballerina.
So take this to heart, dear friends and readers, scholars of the ballet: the exact body type, feet, etc. is not written in stone or law. While the conventional way increase the odds of you getting classical roles and employment sooner–perhaps–remember, the ones that break the mold are the ones people remember. The ones who are granted Damehood. Absolute Prime Ballerina. Like the gifted lady in this picture.
Remember, dance is an art form. A form of self-expression. And when you are not true to yourself or don’t have the faith, there’s just nothing there at all. No art. No dance. No beauty. No truth.
Still, judging from what I see. It all for good reason. To all those who put themselves through the endless ordeal, this life of nothing but sacrifice and constant testing of medal--yes, you are a ballerina. Those battered, beaten, bleeding feet speak deafening volumes.