Ballet fascinates many people and makes them fall in love with it right away. Later comes the desire to understand this art form better. Our selection of facts will improve your knowledge.
Not all ballet dancers are ballerinas
The ballet troupe has its own hierarchy. A person in the street may unknowingly call every dancer in pointe shoes a ballerina, but “ballet people” will never misspeak this way. Ballerinas are principal dancers performing the leading roles; others belong to the categories of soloists, coryphees and corps de ballet dancers.
A ballerina needs about 300 pairs of pointe shoes a year, a ballet dancer - about 100
The life of ballet shoes is very short, some manufacturers indicate a lifespan of 20 hours. In one evening, a principal dancer can change several pairs: one for each scene of the performance.
Most injuries occur during rehearsals; on stage such cases are extremely rare
However, if an injury occurs during the performance, it is a matter of honor for the dancer to finish the performance, or at least the scene, without the audience noticing it. The strong-willed personality of Olga Lepeshinskaya set the pattern in professional circles, she broke her leg in four places on stage but danced to the end and fainted only behind the curtain.
To do 32 fouettes perfectly on stage, ballerina must consistently do 40-45 at the rehearsal
For the first time 32 fouettes were done by the Italian ballerina Pierina Legnani on stage of the Imperial Mariinsky Theater in 1893 during the premiere performance of the ballet Cinderella. Since then, this element has been considered the pinnacle of female ballet performance. The ballet has firmly established the rule: "To do 100% on stage, you must do 200% at the rehearsal!" That is why when practicing they do as many fouettes as possible but not less than 40. The rehearsal record that earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records was achieved by Delia Gray, a student of a ballet school in Great Britain, who did 166 fouettes.
30’s are the prime of a ballet dancer’s career
Some dancers begin to perform in theaters while still being students of ballet schools. Contrary to stereotypes, the average age of ballet dancers in troupes is 25-27 years old. They often become prima ballerinas turning 30 years old. The youngest acting prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater, Olga Smirnova, is 29 years old, and the oldest, Svetlana Zakharova and Ekaterina Shipulina, are 41 years old.
A classical ballet tutu takes about 11 meters of tulle
Until the middle of the 19th century, ballerinas performed in beautiful dresses. But the technique became more complicated, and a lighter and more airy outfit was required. It was Marie Taglioni, who appeared on stage in a ballet tutu for the first time - it happened in 1839 in the ballet La Sylphide. Today there are two types of tutu skirts: short flat and long falling, that is called "chopin". The short one should keep its shape, so a denser tulle is used for it. This tutu can have up to sixteen layers, which explains the consumption of fabric.
You don't need to know ballet to be fascinated by it. But knowledge opens up new facets of understanding to the viewer. We will continue to share interesting facts - a new collection will be published very soon. That is why, it's high time to tell us what you would like to know more about.