By Hannah Orange

On 8th April I went to see Dogs Don’t Do Ballet at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing. I was really looking forward to it because I hadn’t seen a live modern ballet performance in years.

When I got to the theatre, it was buzzing with children. They were excited to see the ballet and were practically dragging their parents into the theatre. This was probably the children’s first time seeing a live performance or their first ballet ever, so the excitement was understandable. It made me remember what I was like when I was their age, seeing my first ballet performance, Sleeping Beauty.

When the show started all the children are gobsmacked by the dancers, one child behind me asked their parent: “How does she stand on her toes like that?” It made me smile because that was the same question I asked my mum when I was their age.

The music was all Classical and that was amazing. We, as a society, are so used to dancers dancing to music with lyrics or with ‘modern’ instruments, that we forget that dancers originally danced to music which didn’t have lyrics or electric guitars.

As the show went on, the children were asking more and more questions and were getting more and more excited by the performance. The show was light hearted and had a light story line. A relief to me, as classic ballets such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker have quite in-depth storylines.

By the end of the show, the children were cheering and clapping and were genuinely amazed by the show they had just seen. In the entrance hall, some children were dancing and some were asking their parents a whole host of questions such as:

  • How does she stand on her toes for so long?
  • How does her skirt stay out like that?
  • Why were her shoes long and flat at the end?
  • How does he lift her up so high?

It’s funny because, these were the questions I asked when I was their age.

For people who don’t know, I learnt ballet from the age of 5 up to the age of 16 so I knew some of the answers to the children’s questions. So I am going to answer them now and hopefully this will help you, the reader, to understand ballet a bit better.

How does she stand on her toes for so long?

Two things: those shoes with the flat bit at the end and practice. They say that practice makes perfect and this is true for standing on point.

How does her skirt stay out like that?

Witchcraft by costume department (a.k.a really clever sewing)

Why were her shoes long and flat at the end?

The flat point at the end of her shoes allow her to stand on her toes. At the bottom of her shoes there is a block of wood; and yes it does hurt after a while.

How does he lift her up so high?

Training and trust on both parts. When the man lifts up the woman, she is trusting him not to drop her. She is also trusting him to put his hands in the right places so he is able to hold her up the air both comfortably and for long periods of time.

Why were the men wearing really tight tights?

This was a tricky one because I never really questioned it, it was something I just accepted. But to answer the question, it's a lot easier to dance in tights than baggy jeans. Plus dancing jeans, it's get really hot and makes dancing uncomfortable.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post, if you love this one, don’t forget to check out my fellow bloggers stuff on this blog!

Don’t forget to come to the next dance performance by the beautiful and stunning BalletBoyz! I will be watching it and I will be writing about it so stay tuned!

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Balletboyz - 9 May 2016