Myths about ballet debunked
Close your eyes for a second and think of the first image that the word “ballet” conjures in your mind.
Perhaps it is a lavish production with slender dancers moving across the stage with grace and precision, and to classical music. Or young girls in tutus, looking like ducklings in a row, holding onto a barre and learning to keep their balance on tip toes.
Each of these images, while commonly held views of ballet, paint but a narrow picture of that world of dance. The ballet scene in Singapore is much more diverse and dynamic, and the first-ever International Ballet Grand Prix Singapore aims to help people see the dance form anew.
Held this month and organised by the non-profit organisation Singapore Dance Alliance, the ballet competition is open to dancers aged seven to 18. It is a chance for aspiring ballerinas to pursue their passion and be recognised for their dedication to the art form. Participants also stand a chance to walk away with ballet scholarships in Singapore and abroad.
The Grand Prix, however, also caters to non-dancers. Performances in the semi-finals and finals will be open to public audiences. Conference and dance workshops that art part of the Grand Prix are also open to the public, including adults, to help them enrich their experience and understanding of ballet.
Through educating the public about ballet as a rigorous discipline of study and profession, the Grand Prix hopes to create new opportunities and broaden the horizon for young dancers in Singapore.
So, those common misconceptions about ballet? The organisers of the Grand Prix were only too happy to help us debunk them.
Ballet is expensive
Forget the atas image you might have of it – ballet is not more expensive than other dance forms or sports and hobbies for young children. Classes at dance schools can start from $270 for a three-month term. The only other requirements are a leotard, soft ballet flats and unwavering parental support.
Ballet is for girls only
The stereotypical view of girls taking up ballet classes has been changing over the years and more boys are taking up the dance form with strong support from their parents. At this year’s Grand Prix, eight boys will be competing across all ages and the organisers hope this number will increase in coming years.
Ballet is just a hobby
While there is no lack of children learning ballet in Singapore, few pursue it as field of study and profession. One possible reason is that they are unsure of how to further their education and seek career opportunities in dance. The Grand Prix therefore, aims to nurture a future generation of dancers who will bring ballet to greater heights in Singapore and beyond.