Swan Lake is the most popular ballet, drawing sold out seats for every showing of the drama. The dancers gracefully pounce on the scene, meticulously and seamlessly. They seem to almost be floating on the stage; elegance is an understatement for their talent. What the crowd doesn’t see, however, is the time, energy and tears that go into becoming ballerinas. What is the training like for a professional ballet dancer? To perfect their craft, ballerinas are put through the test of rigorous practice, rigid diets and countless blisters all to put on a show.
Ballerina’s days’ usually start early and with a complete breakfast. They forgo sugary options such as cereal and opt for a more wholesome breakfast of fiber and proteins. To get energy for their day full of practice, breakfast is a crucial meal for the dancers.
For lunch, Ballerinas often choose salads with added proteins. This gives the dancers a mix between antioxidants and proteins for muscle recovery which is important for building muscles. Because they practice during the day, ballet dancers tend to eat less carbs to avoid bloating during the day. For dinner, after their daily practice is done, dancers eat more carbs along with vegetables and proteins.
Eating clean is a staple for ballet dancers for aesthetic and energy reasons; they eat smartly and methodical. As for the physical training, some dancers are practice from 8am – 6pm, but it doesn’t stop there. Dancers need to be in the best shape and often add extra hours of cardio to their day. Some dancers wake up early workout, go to school or work and then finish their day with an 8-hour dance practice. Talk about a packed day.
Professional ballet dancers, are training to be the best and perfection is the goal. Even with natural talent, some dancers have to practice a routine or move 12x a day to get it perfect. The ones who can’t get it right have to sometimes stay behind after there 8-hour practice to practice again!
No pain, no gain. Ballet dancers are in constant pain doing the most intricate moves and can be injured after their constant practices. “Pointe,” a popular ballet move that involves standing on the tips of your toes, is an extremely painful but common move for most ballets. Pointe not only causes blisters and sometimes bruised toe nails, but it can also create rips and ruins ballet shoes.
The training isn’t gruesome physically but some ballet instructors use verbal tactics that can harm dancers as well. With perfection as the goal, tough love and harsh criticism of a ballerinas dancing can ruin her self-esteem. The constant pressure to reach a goal can be traumatizing to a ballerina.
The beautiful show of Swan Lake is built on pain, dedication and hard work. The ballet dancers subject themselves to a healthy diet, created to optimize their performance. They spend hours and hours of their day perfecting their practice and getting down routines and they endure painful routines and ridicule just to put on the show.
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