Dance Fit

There is something the novice can never know. Professional dance as a field of artistic endeavor is really tough. It takes hours of practice and more than 100% dedication. You think you know, but it is beyond what you could possibly imagine. It is exhausting and also exhilarating, and there is nothing like it for complete and absolute physical fitness.

Dancers are supreme athletes, the most trained and the most disciplined of them all. Their stamina is exceptional. A performance of two hours burns thousands of calories. This is fitness to the max. And why not? Every single element of the body has been addressed, plus grace, flexibility, and artistry are layered on top of skill. It is multi-dimensional and all-encompassing, and watching performing practitioners is among the greatest experiences of them all.

To be dance fit is to be in tip top form, with a body shape to match. Dancers are being to envy. You might have noticed that various types of dancers exhibit particular physiques as a general rule. Ballet dancers have long slender limbs and torsos. Modern dancers can be more grounded with heavier legs. Tap dancers can be anywhere in between. Gene Kelley and Fred Astaire were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Nowadays, dancing is a glamor sport with ballroom competitions and TV shows like Dancing with the Stars; but don’t kid yourself. Athleticism is at the top of the priority list, and that means physically fit. A comprehensive gym system including pull up bars, trampolines and weighted vests should all be part of the dancer’s routine. I would add that this goes for non-performing street dance as well. Hip hop, funk, contemporary styles and salsa are pretty rigorous.

Getting dance fit a takes daily routine usually encompassing a gym workout and a barre program as preparation for a routine (a piece of choreography). Ballet is the essence and the beginning of most choreography of any real merit. It is like classical drawing to abstract painters. They have to get through that first basic hurdle to shine in a new and more personal mode of expression. The dancer is a live paintbrush, a human performer who enters another realm when on stage. The work that goes into creating a moving illusion is dissolved in the artistry and is part and parcel of it. The dancer’s body is his craft. He must protect it and take care of it at all times.

Most people could not stand the rigor of true dance training to become “dance fit.” They might take a cardio barre class at the gym which is a diluted form of the dancer’s fitness program. They might stretch on the floor. When it comes to the real thing, it is beyond the pale. There is not an ounce of fat anywhere on the professional’s body. See for yourself. You will know as we see it in its barest form. Costumes emphasize the line and form of the body, its essential and perfect shape. As displayers of lithe energy and refined elegance, dancers are magnificent specimens of everything we admire in humankind. Don’t miss the next performance in your neighborhood!

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