The performing arts have allowed humans to express their hearts' desires for centuries. Through music, drama, and dance, artists such as singers, actors, and dancers have been able to abstractly communicate with the audiences.
Learning to dance ballet will take you years of practice, training, and hard work.
Many people would recommend learning any new skill (especially if it's within the performing arts) from a young age. However, adults can also learn to dance, it will just take longer for an adult to learn compared to someone young. But, don't forget that training will take anyone years of dedication.
A ballet dancer can tell a story through the movement of their body. Ballet dance can be magical, exciting, provoking, or disturbing.
In this article, we will tell you about the basic movements in ballet, some of the best theaters, classes, and studios in the Houston community, how to find the perfect programs or classes for you, and the supplies you'll need to become a ballerina.
Learn about ballet and where you can get some lessons in the United States.
The basics of ballet
There are plenty of basic ballet positions for your arms, feet, and body.
Position of the feet
There are five feet positions. The first one is putting your legs and ankles together and opening your feet in a 180-degree position. The second position is similar to the first but with the legs separated.
The fourth position is crossing and separating your legs and facing your feet on opposite sides. The fifth position is the same but keeps the legs together.
Position of the arms
There are also five basic positions you can do with your arms. The first position is folding your arms in front of you at a 90-degree angle. The second position is stretching your arms to the side at a 180-degree angle.
The third position is forming an "L" shape with your arms by having one arm straight up and the other arm straight to the side.
The fourth position is putting one arm up over your head and the other in front of you. Finally, the fifth position is putting both arms up and forming an oval.
Movements in dance
There are three basic and famous movements in ballet.
- Plie (plee-ay) - means to bend and it's about keeping your feet flat on the floor and bending your knees.
- Releve (uh-leh-vay’) - means to rise and it can be done with one foot or both.
- Saute (soh-tay) - means to jump and you leave the ground by jumping off of both feet.
You have to keep in mind that all these positions are to take care of your physical health. Your physical health is very important as a dancer and if you don't take care of it you might miss weeks of training due to an injury.
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The best ballet theaters and studios in Houston
Some theaters exist at a national level, and others that aren't national (meaning across the country) are just local.
Houston is famous for having a ballet district filled with academies and theaters. The most popular theatre is the Wortham Theater Center. The Wortham Theater Center is a performing arts center and the building was built out of private funds totaling over $66 Million.
The Houston Ballet (located in Preston Street) is famous in the city for its excellent quality programs. Currently, Stanton Welch is the artistic director of this center, a distinguished professional dancer that has taken the academy and its dancers to success.
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Students of all ages can attend the Houston Ballet since the company offers classes for aspiring professional dancers, summer programs, workshops, adult programs, pre-school programs, and more.
The academy offers tickets for different performances all year round, and you can get season tickets too.
There are many more studios in Houston to mention but the ones above are the famous and popular ones. They've gained popularity because they've trained some of the best dancers in the city, and the country.
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Finding ballet lessons in Houston
Finding ballet lessons in Houston can be challenging since the city is so big. This is why you need to come up with a system that can help you filter out the places that don't fit what you are looking for.
You have to make sure that the company or school you choose is the best fit for you. To know this, we suggest you take a moment to write down what you are looking for in a dance center, company, academy, or school.
The first thing you need to define is your budget. Many programs are affordable but many others that are directed at people who are interested in making a professional career out of ballet. The prices will be different depending on your goal and expectations from the classes.
Another factor you should consider is location. If being close to the academy or school is important for you, then you should open up a map and see how far away you are from your school of choice. Many people also pay attention to details like parking, neighborhood, community, and so on.
There are many different types of dance schools. You will find places that only have a dance studio on their premises and other places that have a studio and a theater all in one same building.
You should also pay attention to the full program of an academy and see if they offer performances on things you'd be interested in doing. If you dream of participating in a performance of The Nutcracker, you should search for an academy that offers it.
If you don't care whether it is the Nutcracker or Black Swan and all you want is to find a program where you can develop your skills with other dancers, then searching a place's performances doesn't make much sense.
What you should most definitely look for is an academy that has professors with excellent dancing, teaching, and leadership skills. Keep in mind that your teachers will guide you through your process no matter if you're young or an adult.
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What does a ballerina need?
Certain supplies are necessary for ballerinas but these may vary depending on if you're attending a class or you are performing in a theater.
For a class, ballerinas must be comfortable. You must use garments that allow you to move around but also let your skin breathe and sweat. On the other hand, for a performance, you'll need an artistic look. Although you'll also have to be comfortable, performances are usually about the beauty of the dancers.
Keep in mind that your outfit of choice might vary depending on the season of the year you're in. For instance, if it is summer (June, July, August), you probably won't need to use tights, and if it's winter (December, January, February), you might want to get some leg warmers.
For you to have a better idea of what you'll need for ballet class, below you'll find a list of supplies you need to buy:
- Pointe shoes - these shoes have a flat, stiff front, and it's built specially to give ballerinas the support they need to stand on their toes for minutes at a time.
- Tutus - tutus were designed purely for an aesthetic purpose. It allows the ballerinas to look beautiful and feminine.
- Skirts - ballerinas can also use skirts to complete their looks. Skirts are associated with the traditional costume that was designed for classic ballet performances.
- Leotards - this is a skin-tight suit that allows dancers to move around freely. However, the biggest purpose of leotards is to make sure that teachers can see the exact movements their students are making. If ballerinas used t-shirts or baggy pants, teachers wouldn't be able to see if the student's left knee is aligned with their left shoulder (for example), and students can end up hurting themselves.
- Tights - These are also very useful for mobility freedom and most ballerinas use them when it is cold and avoid them during the summer.
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