I’ve just had my first pointe class today.
It was, literally, like walking on air. And surprisingly, it hurt less than I expected. At the end of the class, I asked the teacher for some feedback, and here’s what she said: “You did well.” “Good posture, clean steps.”
Literally, walking on air.
But when I came home, my excitement wasn’t really shared by anyone. Everyone’s reaction was quite meh, and in fact I was even asked: What’s the point?
Well, my mood pretty much was deflated after that.
A conversation ensued about the “unnecessariness” of going on pointe. Some of the points brought up: it’s painful, bad for your body, and there is no value to it.
Erm, alright. Even after explaining the history and aesthetic value of pointe, and noting that it really is a mark of great strength and solid technique, the overall impression I got was that everyone thought it was pretty much a waste of time.
I don’t think so though. Yes, it hurts. But then again, every single sport requires intense training that comes with injuries and pain, much like ballet (or any kind of dance for that matter). You don’t improve by staying in your comfort zone. That’s part of the reason why I dance. There is always something to improve, to strive for and test yourself. Half the battles are often internal, to not despair and give up when you can’t pick up choreo, or do turns or jump as high as the girl next to you. I push my body to its limits and endure the pain, because I get better because of it.
As for ballet not having any value, I think this was meant in a sense of more competitive sports where there is some manner of judging how good you are. How fast you can run, how high you can jump, etc.
I don’t really agree though. Dance may be an artform, but it is an artform that uses athleticism as a way to get its message across. And while that aspect may be very subjective, the technique involved certainly isn’t. Put two dancers side by side, and you can immediately spot who has had proper training and who hasn’t (saw this in class, but we’ll get back to that later). There are definitely ways to judge the level of certain skills you need in dance, even though we don’t win gold medals, or compete in the Olympics or have crowds of thousands in stadiums cheering us on, don’t you dare say we aren’t athletes.
I know this is just an opinion, and everybody has a right to have their own opinion. And I do see the reasoning behind these comments. The reason I am upset, I think, is because it reminds me that dance is often derided as not being a proper sport, and the work that goes on behind the scenes often go unnoticed and unappreciated. But guess what? They’re right, dance isn’t a proper sport. It goes beyond that.
I just wish, sometimes, that there were people who I could talk to about dance. It’s times like these, these little milestones, that I wish I could share the excitement with someone. I’ve never realized the importance of having someone who believes in you, in your potential, who actually wants to share your experiences with you.
However, my belief in what I feel when I dance is stronger than the people that try and wear it down. I won’t give up.