Picked up a book at my local used book store the other day, called Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren.
It’s a sort of a photographic encyclopedia of every ballet step and position there is, all in black and white with an almost flip-book level of thoroughness. It also has photos of how things look when done incorrectly.
It’s super awesome.
Anyway, one of the chapters is entitled “The Ideal Body Structure and Proportions for Classical Ballet Dancers”. I think it’s super fascinating that a person’s potential for dance, at least at the professional level, is determined as much by their body as their training or passion, and that you can see whether the body has what it takes before the person has even reached full height.
Is it function following form?
This chapter includes a chart, so just for fun I ran through it to see how I measure up.
First up is height: between 5’2″ and 5’8″. Check!
Weight: 85-115 pounds. Ha! No ma’am!
Small bust. Check!
Narrow hips, small posterior. Well, you know how magazines often have “dress for your body type” articles, and the body types are represented by fruit or flowers or geometry? I’ve only seen one article ever that gave an actual test, which was measure your hips, then shoulders, and if your shoulders measure smaller, you are a pear. I’m a pear. So, no.
Slim thighs that appear to be about the same width as the calves. Ha ha ha! That’s ridiculous!
Small head. No, seems very average to me.
Long ams and hands. Check!
Slight hyper extension in legs. Check!
Well arched foot with all toes approximately same length. Arches good, no on the toes thing. I wish they had a photo of this. So I could laugh at it.
Just to be complete, as a sort of non-ballet control in this experiment, I asked Mr. Adult Beginner all the questions on the chart entitled “The Ideal Male Dancer’s Body”. Which he submitted to in the same barely tolerant way that a cat will submit to being dressed in doll clothing.
Height 5’9″-6’2″. No, too tall.
Weight 135-165 pounds. Ha! No sir!
Straight back. Check!
Small posterior. I was refused permission to write anything at all regarding his posterior.
Thigh muscles slightly larger than calves. Check!
Average head. No, he has a fairly large hat size
Wide shoulders without overly developed trapezius. “What’s a trapezius?”
Long arms and hands. Check!
Long, moderately arched feet. Check!
So there we have it. Basically, neither of us will be kidnapped and dragged into dance auditions anytime soon.
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