Ballet is…

By Emmaly Wiederholt

Let’s point our toes and get to the pointe: the topic on the table is good ol’ ballet – yes, that couple-hundred-year-old dance form we can thank Louis the XIV for inventing and the Nutcracker for perpetuating. Is ballet still relevant? Is it important to practice? Is it dying out like a rare bird? Is the culture around it healthy? Are the stereotypes true? I’ve asked several dancers with varying backgrounds in ballet to weigh in over the next two months. Below are my two cents. And while reading, please remember to engage your abdominals, drop your sacrum, open your sternum, elongate your torso, etc.

To me, ballet is…


Ballet is the most demanding physical and mental practice I know.

Ballet is a pursuit.

Ballet is something I want to practice throughout my life.

Ballet is a loaded word.

Ballet connotes elitism and privilege.

Ballet is for rich people.

Ballet is for thin people.

Ballet is for beautiful people.

Ballet is idealized.

Ballet is absurd.

Ballet demands perfection.

Ballet demands too much.

Ballet is endlessly complex.

Ballet is more than splits, kicks, and turns.

Ballet is more than technique.

Ballet is more than aesthetic.

Ballet is a language.

Ballet is a means of expression.

Ballet is still teaching me.

Photo by Brian Henderson