“You Know You’re a Dancer When…” – Guest Post by Kelly Munzenberger

Dance is a beautiful art, a perfect blend of athleticism and artistry coming together to entertain an audience. It takes strength, stamina, and lots of practice. Today, in celebration of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performing at Wharton Center this week, we are going to give you a glimpse into the sometimes crazy but always magnificent world of dance.


1. “5,6,7,8” is your equivalent to “Ready, set, go.”

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Dancers generally learn dances by the counts of the beat of the music, putting each move to a number between 1 and 8.

2. Having a good attitude means something much more than being a positive person.

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In ballet, an attitude is a dance pose (pictured above) created by Carlos Blasis, an Italian ballet teacher in the 17th century, who took inspiration from Giambologna’s statue of Mercury.

3. You always wondered why Barbie ballerinas had pointe shoes with ribbons that tied up her whole leg… how do they even stay like that?!

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Real-life ballerinas tie their pointe shoe ribbons tightly around their ankle. A ribbon coming undone while on stage is a major no-no, so to handle this, ballerinas often hairspray the ribbons after they’re tied to make them sticky, or in some cases even sew them for extra security!

4. You’re not grossed out if your hair feels hard and crunchy.

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Those perfectly neat buns don’t stay in place through triple pirouettes by magic! Dancers keep their hair secure using almost unthinkable amounts of gel and hairspray. The result is hair that feels like a helmet on your head, and definitely takes more than one shampoo to get out.

5. You like to tell people that you speak a little French.

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Traditional ballet terms are all in French. From plie (to bend) and relevé (to rise), to glissade (to glide) and sauté (to jump), you’ve learned your fair share of French vocabulary words through your years of ballet classes. You’re perfectly comfortable telling someone to complete a “large circle of the leg, on the ground, in an outward direction” in French, however you’d probably struggle to order a sandwich if you found yourself at a Parisian café.

6. You spend money on beautiful brand new pointe shoes, only to spend the next few hours using destructive practices to “break them in.”

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From banging the shoes on concrete, to cutting off parts of the satin and burning the ends, to applying water to certain parts of the shoe and Jet Glue to others, every ballerina has her own routine to personalize her shoes. Even bending the shoes in half to break the sole is a fairly common practice! With professional ballet dancers going through a pair of shoes per week (or sometimes even per performance), this process can be time-consuming!

Are you intrigued yet? Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will be performing on Thursday, April 16th at 7:30pm! This is one of our last dance shows here at Wharton Center this season, and if you’re interested in more, check out Ira Glass: Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, here on April 18th! Tickets are can be purchased online at whartoncenter.com, or by calling 1-800-WHARTON. $15 student and youth tickets are also available. MSU students can redeem using their APID at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. See you at the show!

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Posted in At Wharton Center, Dance, Guest Blog, Performing Arts

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