Ballet: Part II

Continued from Ballet: Part I

Classical arts in modern times

Ballerinas make huge sacrifices from a young age for very little reward. Ballet isn’t exactly a popular form of entertainment compared to sporting events, concerts, movies, and even theater and musicals. Few can earn fame and recognition as a ballerina and their careers are short lived. In an interview, Ms. Lamb said: To lure young people, ballet companies should program “more current” productions with contemporary music and leotards, “rather than a tutu, which nobody has any relation to in the modern world.” That may be true, but I’m old fashioned and I prefer tutus over leotards.

Sarah Lamb at Monument Valley, AZ for the Royal Opera House

If appreciation for classical music and classical dance continues to decline, will the same happen to traditional martial arts? We also need to find ways to keep martial arts relevant in the modern world. Although it has a lot of competition from other activities, martial arts training has health benefits and most people see this. How many see it as an art form? Why is art important?

That’s a big question for another time, but I was surprised to find a Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles clip related to my post. Summer Glau (a former ballerina) plays a terminator who mimics the movements in ballet and even captures the human spirit. One of the main themes of the show was to ask the broader question of, “What makes us human?”

Ballerinas are tough

Watching ballerinas makes me feel like a sissy. A lot of people see fairy princesses in tutus, but I see dancers who’ve pushed their bodies to the max to do superhuman movements. They suffer through as much pain as any athlete (maybe more) and smile while they do it. Need further proof? See BuzzFeed’s reasons for why ballerinas are more hardcore than you.

Some dancers have the potential to be good martial artists because they’re used to pushing their bodies. Here’s a behind the scenes clip from one of my favorite movies, Serenity. It’s Summer Glau again, using her crazy flexibility and strength to train wushu for the fight scenes.

At first glance, ballet and martial arts appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. But for me, watching ballet dancers inspires me to be a better martial arts practitioner.

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