Ballet Papier artist Berenice has been busy once again. Just look at the purr-fect picture she has drawn of me dressed as a black cat for Halloween. What a treat!
Halloween is the perfect excuse to dress up in a costume and feel supernatural. To celebrate, my latest post for the Ballet Papier blog is all about the superpowers that we ballet dancers share.
Ten Superpowers you didn’t know you had — all thanks to ballet!
Ballet is a demanding art form and we dancers put everything into refining our technique, working on flexibility, strength and grace, and always performing at our very best. But did you know that every single ballet dancer (not just those otherworldly professional ballerinas) boasts an impressive range of superpowers, all as a result of our dedicated training?
Explore your superpowers this Halloween!
Superpower 1: The power of the Quick Change
The ability to get dressed at a pace akin to the very liveliest allegro combinations is a skill honed to perfection thanks to all the quick changes of attire that ballet requires. From tugging on your leotard and tights in the back of mum’s car on the journey from school to the studio, to transforming into a tutu-clad swan for the white acts of ‘Swan Lake’ backstage at the theatre, we have got speedy dressing down to a fine art. Not to mention the hair – a swift ballet bun poses no challenge for us!
Superpower 2: The power of the Recycled Costume
Speaking of apparel, years of ballet productions mean we can always magic up a great outfit for Halloween. All those old costumes stashed at the back of the wardrobe get a new lease of life when dressing up is required! Whether trick or treating or partying with friends, ballerinas have plenty of options to choose from for getting gorgeously glamorous or ghoulishly gruesome on the spookiest night of the year.
Superpower 3: The power of the Party Trick
When we want to liven up a party or just dispel rumours that ballet is “easy” or “boring”, our repertoire of party tricks is full to bursting. Splits? Arabesques? Pirouettes? They seem normal in class but, to a mere mortal, all those ballet fundamentals can seem superhuman. Plus, a dancer’s flexibility comes in handy for the contortions needed to tie yourself up in knots as the last person left standing in the classic party game of Twister.
Superpower 4: The power of Communication
Dancers are also blessed with the capacity to communicate without saying a word. We use our bodies to express different emotions and create different personas. You are probably more aware of other people’s body language too so you can interpret how those around you are feeling, no conversation necessary.
Superpower 5: The power of Shared Understanding
Communicating in ballet class is the same the world over. Our global language uses French (so dancers have a knowledge of French from an early age) but ballet also gives us the superpower of being able to fit in with other dancers anywhere on Earth. You could join in a ballet class in any country and fit straight in thanks to our shared vocabulary.
Superpower 6: The power of Strength and Grace
All of those ballet classes develop superhuman strength AND grace which means that in the “real world” a dancer is easy to spot. Perfect posture, fitness and effortless elegance are all desirable traits that ballet training nurtures.
Superpower 7: The power of Flying
The power to fly is one of the most sought-after superhero attributes and ballet dancers come close to flying every time they defy gravity in weightless jumps and hover in the air in exciting leaps. Just picture your highest ever grand jeté — yes, that was you soaring across the studio!
Superpower 8: The power of Storytelling
A love of ballet helps your imagination fly if you immerse yourself in the narratives of classic ballets like The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker and explore more contemporary tales. An understanding of the vast variety of ballet plots means that dancers have the power to entertain younger siblings with a different story every day. Who knows, you might inspire them to want to dance too.
Superpower 9: The power of Hard Work
The likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are focused, determined and ready for anything and ballet dancers are too. Ballet gives us a strong work ethic and we understand that preparation is key. Packing your dance bag takes precise planning (so many shoes to remember!) and you put in all those hours in class as preparation to dazzle when you take to the stage. As we are always being critiqued and constantly striving to improve, dancers are extremely teachable and fast learners too.
Superpower 10: The power of Passion
The very greatest superpower that ballet dancers share is our passion. Our overwhelming passion for dancing inspires and encourages us to learn more, practice more and get more involved in ballet by interacting with other ballerinas – and being part of the Ballet Papier community! Ballet truly is the passion that unites us.
Ballet Papier is a decorative arts brand created by artist María (Berenice) La Placa.
The range includes drawings, greeting cards, notebooks and T-shirts which all feature detailed motifs of dancers. Characters from the world’s favourite narrative ballets are depicted throughout the collection and there are also plenty of other enchanting, inspiring and fun designs to choose from.
Ballet Papier can trace its roots back to 1992 when María La Placa began drawing ballerinas for her young daughter, Ambar Gavilano. These illustrations proved popular not only with Ambar but also with her friends and developed into a small family business in Barcelona (María adopted the alter ego Berenice to allow her to separate her artistic styles). And so Ballet Papier was born, a brand with an ambition to unite dance lovers.
My evolving role as part of Ballet Papier reflects the generosity and talents of both Berenice and Ambar. Berenice’s beautiful illustrations have combined with Ambar’s dance and social media skills to create a globally-recognised brand. I am now privileged to not only be a writer for the Ballet Papier brand, writing blog posts, but also an editor, a creative collaborator, an ambassador — and a muse!
As a creative collaborator, my words are featured in an assortment of Ballet Papier products, while being a muse means sometimes receiving beautiful bespoke illustrations such as the Happy Halloween one.
Georgina Butler is a journalist, a dance writer and a dance teacher who specialises in teaching classical ballet. She previews and reviews productions, writes features and interviews people from the world of dance.