A Ballet Education Book Collection The Guide to Male Ballet - Page 3

Introduction Surviving in ballet is hard enough, but surviving as a boy in ballet might just be ten times harder. Boys used to be scarce in the ballet world, but now there seems to be an abundance. There isn't just a surplus of boys/men; there is a huge crop of budding talent among male dancers. While the era of the male dancer seems to have passed, a new generation of male ballet dancers takes center stage. The first generation of super start male ballet dancers included men like Rudolf Nureyev, Edward Villela, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques D’Amboise and Fernando Bujones. They made ballet more accessible, relatable and presented ballet as athletic, powerful and regal. These men ushered in the powerhouse male ballet dancer, the refining of technique combined with the mechanics to master ballet: Ethan Stiefel, Angel Corella, Jose Manuel Carreno; Paris Opera’s Manuel Legris and Jose Martinez. Royal’s Carlos Acosta. The tail end of this generation of powerhouses includes Roberto Bolle, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Steven McCrae. Now we are looking at the new generation of men: Jeffery Cirio, Justin Peck, Daniil Simkin, Ivan VasVasiliev, Chase Finlay, Myles Thatcher, Aran Bell, Jim Nowakowski, Derek Dunn and more. The newer generations of male ballet dancers are technical beasts, and more importantly interesting movers. Now that ballet technique is more refined, and men are mastering the mechanics of physics, the only place to grow is in the dynamics of their dancing. This is why the world is focusing on men now. The women of the 2000s are/were dynamic and captivating. They had mastered the technique, enhanced the mechanical engineering of pointe shoes, and become technical powerhouses. Now, men are caught up, but the dynamic emerging from this group of men is somewhere between Balanchine, Forsythe, and Modern. With influences from choreographers like Benjamin Millpied and Alexei Ratmansky, the new aesthetic of movement for men is becoming quite captivating. So, how does a young boy embarking in ballet now have a chance? I remember when I was auditioning, a technically clean triple pirouette and a double tour is all you really needed to get through an audition. Nowadays, a boy has to have an 180 penché, at least a triple pirouette, high developpés, beautiful feet and perfect turn out. It's exhausting just thinking about it. Not to mention once you are ready for a company you better have a plethora of tricks up your sleeve. It is a scary thought, trying to survive as a male ballet dancer in today's times. Here in this edition, we will kind of go over some things for boys in ballet to help make this journey easier. With the first few blog posts about male ballet dancers doing well, I thought I would expand on some things that might be relevant. I hope you enjoy, Surviving Ballet: The Guide to being a Boy in Ballet.