We’ve all heard the stereotypes when it comes to ballet dancers: beautiful and flexible, with hair in high buns and tutus around their waists. However, so much goes on behind their elegant performances, seemingly-effortless turns en pointe, flowing costumes and full makeup. Many don’t take into consideration the fact that those performances demand hours of sweaty, breathless rehearsals; that dancing en point requires one to put all their weight on a single toe; that makeup and those costumes may be unbearably uncomfortable. Although it may seem easy, ballet is not all pink and fru-fru when you get down to the core of it.
Blisters? Check. Bruises? Check. Pulled muscles and broken bones? Check. Ballet may seem like a princess’s activity on the outset, but it requires the stamina of a football player. Dancers are constantly suffering from shin splints, broken and strained muscles or bones, foot injuries, and even mental illnesses from the stress and competition that ballet can bring on. The majority of ballerinas do not get paid much either, yet they tread on because dance is what they love to do. This unfortunate in part because they are on the job even when the day is over; they must continue eating healthy foods, resting their joints, and exercising even during off times.
It takes years of training to become a ballet dancer, with many bumps and bruises along the way. Yet many people consider it to be an effortless occupation, with only small amounts of true athletic ability needed. However, dance can leave one as breathless as taking dozens of laps and cause muscles to ache more than those of a soccer player, but at the same time a pleasant expression is a necessity in order to give the illusion of it being simple. Overall, ballerinas experience many more difficulties than others give them credit for, and do it all with a small paycheck and a huge smile.