What is it about Male Ballet Dancers?

Several months ago I wrote a post about male ballet dancers. That entry was a brief accolade to the immense commitment professional performers undertake in order to perform the art to the best of their ability. Today’s entry is a simple celebration of the amazing physical acumen and talented achievement of some of the greatest male ballet dancers.

Personally, I know almost nothing about ballet, but I appreciate the people who do.

While I enjoy all dance, I confess the male ballet dancers intrigue me most. They’re beautiful, first of all, and they demonstrate some pretty amazing feats of strength, control, and balance.

My interest is also due in part, to the mysterious, contrary, and somewhat scandalous association of effeminate posturing that the lay community attributes to male dancers of any ilk. Not manly enough is the typical comment. I don’t understand that attitude.

Only the very foolish would think such nonsense.

Conditioning hardens muscle. The athleticism and dedication of ballet dancers is intense. A singular demonstration illustrates a dancer’s stamina, endurance, and flexibility.

The grace and poise the dancers exhibit seems so inherent to me, but is I’m sure, the result of countless hours of grueling training and practice.

Ballet can be sensual and slow, or hard and fast, but it is always profoundly evocative. Sometimes even sexual.

The photographs which most appeal to me are those showing a dancer in motion. Airborn. Elevated. On wing. The strict conditioning required to make such leaps look effortless is daunting. The care dancers focus on providing for their bodies is admirable. The healthy human form is a glorious thing.

I love ballet dancers in pose because I can’t absorb the images fast enough when the dancers are actually moving. As a result, this has surely left me a very lopsided appreciation for the medium.

Captured on film, the structured beauty  is lovely, recording the briefest extension of muscle and the ultimate stretch of sinew. It is the documentation of the exquisite and ephemeral joy of expression. Enjoy.

Imagine what is required to achieve these results. Do you strive for perfection in your life? What sacrifices do you make for your passions? Don’t you want to try this, just once?

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  1. #1 by Wendy S. Russo on January 14, 2012 - 3:03 pm

    I love ballet. I think, if I had to choose another activity that impressed me like ballet does, it be the Tough Mudder competition. If I could chose two, the other would be free climbing. I know football coaches that include ballet as part of pre-season training.

    • #2 by Leslie on January 16, 2012 - 9:24 am

      Holy Cow Wendy! I had to go look up the Tough Mudder competition….those people are crazy! I had this fun visual of a bunch of ballet dancers leaping and twirling across the obstacles. Now that I’d like to see! Ballet, endurance competitions and free climbing all hone the body and push the limits of physical ability. So inspiring.

  2. #3 by Bridgette Booth on January 17, 2012 - 10:14 am

    One of my daughters was involved in ballet for years, so I grew to have a deep appreciation for the skill, beauty, and athleticism necessary to perform.

    I have a friend whose son is a male dancer and he gets a lot of flack (he’s straight, handsome) for not being in a “sport” when in fact, he is pushing himself much harder physically than many of his peers are in their chosen sport. In fact, I remember a well-known football player who danced off-season and performed in some city ballets. He said that it was harder than professional football. Hmmm…..

    • #4 by Leslie on January 17, 2012 - 4:45 pm

      I know there are many demanding athletic fields, but dance (especially ballet) is amazing to me. I think partly it has to do with the incredible amount of physical control a dancer needs over every part of their body. Not to mention the grace of motion and endurance. It really must be intensely demanding. I’m always amazed that people can sneer at male dancers – good thing they learn patience along with all that conditioning. That’s what we need! A bully ballet dancer – throwing punches and pulling guns…wait, I already did! lol

  3. #5 by alicamckennajohnson on September 17, 2014 - 9:41 pm

    I love dancers, the power, the skill, the beauty they create. My kids, even the foster kids learn quickly you do not talk during So You Think You Can Dance. I am addicted and I will send you to bed!

    • #6 by Lesann Berry on September 18, 2014 - 8:59 am

      That’s too funny – silence or bed! I haven’t seen the show but I can imagine it’s fun. I’m always astounded at what dedicated dancers can do with their bodies. Somehow, ballet dancers defy physics.

  4. #7 by Elrize on May 29, 2016 - 7:48 am

    My husband is a ballet dancer, and next year he will start an all-male ballet class. I think there’s a lot of men who actually admire the strength and elegance of ballet, but are too scared and embarrassed to try it, especially since there are so few male ballet dancers (at least, in my country). Hopefully if the men have a safe environment where they can learn to express themselves, they will find what an amazing art-form it really is ^-^

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