This article is from the December 2012 issue of KC Stage
The three things every ballet dancer must have are beveled feet, legs that pull all the way up, and port de bras or control and placement of the arms. These three technical elements simply make or break ballet, and without them it is impossible to advance or get noticed by any professional company. The critical time during a young dancer's training when these three elements can be set correctly for a lifetime is the early adolescent stage from around 10 years of age to around 13 years of age. At this time, the body shifts from that of a child into a nearly adult form with the corresponding muscle, ligament, and tendon development, the bones grow out to nearly their final size, and the mental acuity of students sharpens greatly from the day-dreaming child into something much closer to an adult that can focus intently and retain subtle concepts.
During early adolescence, the very best thing to do for ballet and indeed for any dance training is to focus on and get a good mastery of ballet technique for feet, legs, and arms or port de bras. Once this foundation is laid correctly it will remain a resource from which the dancer may extract that effortless, graceful movement everyone wants and apply it to any form of dance from ballroom to jazz to hip hop and, of course, ballet. Ballet technique may be applied to all forms of dance because it is so exact and complete at locating every part of the body in space that a properly trained ballet dancer is completely at home using their body in any complex way and creating exactly the movement that the choreographer or producer is asking for.
Matt Reinschmidt directs Ballet North (balletnorth.com) along with his wife Laura Reinschmidt and holds a philosophy degree from the University of Kansas. You can see more at mattreinschmidt.blogspot.com. This article was previously published on EZineArticles.com, and is reprinted with the permission of the author.