Martha Graham once said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” Ballet is one of the world’s most graceful and elegant forms of dancing. The first ballets were danced in Italy but it eventually developed in France under Louis XIV. Ballet thrived in St. Petersburg, Russia and developed most of the ballet dancers. Choreographer George Balanchine was the first person to bring ballet to the United States. He was born on January 22, 1904 as Giorgi Meltitonis dze Balanchivadze and founded the School of American Ballet on January 1, 1934. He is a very prominent and talented choreographer who has created more than 300 ballets.
Balanchine changed the look of ballet and created new standards that we still use today. Ballet is very demanding for women because they are expected to be very skinny, tall, and have long necks. In addition, ballet dancers are predominately young white women. Before a certain time, they were actually bulky. Balanchine formed longer lines and thought slender women looked better performing on stage. On the whole, Balanchine changed the whole culture of ballet.
Personally, I believe the standards society holds for ballet is silly. Female dancers who are trying to keep this image could possibly become anorexic or bulimic. Do we really need super thin girls dancing across the stage? Ballet dancers have so much pressure on themselves to be thin and to look a certain way. It could be easy for a young dancer to think that an eating disorder is the only way to stay thin. At an early age, dancers are constantly trained to focus upon their image and to improve their performance in order to attend ballet school. Competition is rough and stressful among ballet dancers which can ultimately grow into a critical eating disorder. In my point of view, I do not think the standards for ballet should be this extreme. All of the pressures on a dancer could eventually lead to danger and or even death.
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