By Miranda Madro
Romeo and Juliet and selections from The Sleeping Beauty, two of the most romantic Russian ballets, will be performed by Moscow Festival Ballet at Wharton Center on January 8. These performances feature exquisite costumes and lush scenery in the grand ballet style. Ballet fans will not want to miss these wonderful performances. But what about everyone else? What if you’ve never seen a ballet before? Why come to see this one? Why like ballet? Leah Seery, the Company Director of Spartan Dance Center, can tell you why.
“There are so many reasons to love ballet! For spectators, there is something magical about going to the ballet; the exquisite sets and costumes paired with timeless scores and beautiful dancing draw you in and transport you to another world. For dancers, there are even more reasons to love ballet. Ballet is one of the oldest forms of dance, and has the ability to unite us as dancers. It is a link to the past, and taking ballet connects us to a rich heritage crafted by generations and generations of dancers who have come before us, dating back hundreds of years. It is also universal — ballet is a language in itself, and students of ballet can connect across the globe without even needing to speak the same language. Lastly, ballet keeps you on your toes (no pun intended). You can spend years working on mastering a single step, and while there is joy in seeing the growth in your abilities, students of ballet know that there is always more to do; our legs can be higher, our port de bras more graceful, our dancing more expressive. That never-ending quest for perfection gets in your blood and stays with you forever, in dance and in life.
I began dancing at age 3 with ballet and tap classes at a local studio in my hometown. Since then, I have trained in multiple styles including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary, and hip hop. I moved to East Lansing in 2007 for school and began teaching recreational tap at a local studio. I was thrilled when Tiffany Russell invited me to direct a competitive company at Spartan Dance Center (SDC), a new studio she was opening in 2011 focused on providing fun, yet high quality instruction. As Company Director, I have had the opportunity to teach ballet to all levels of dancer, from age 3 to adult, and watching the impact that ballet has had on my students, both in their ballet skills, as well as their ability to execute other styles, has been incredibly rewarding.
I am lucky to have both boys and girls in my ballet classes, but like most schools, the girls far outnumbered the boys. Ballet was originally created by men, and males dominated the genre for centuries, but over the years, it has evolved into a very female-driven art. At SDC, we have a higher population of boys dancing than many studios, around 50. Hopefully, with the popularity of dance growing in the media through shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars,” we will see an increased cultural acceptance of males dancing, and more and more young men signing up for ballet class.
Anyone who takes ballet class can find love and respect for the art form, whether they are doing it recreationally for fun or seriously training for a career in dance. Athletes can gain strength and agility from ballet classes, and it’s a great workout for adults. If you’re looking to try out a ballet class or improve your skills, at Spartan Dance Center, we offer classes for everyone, beginner or advanced, 5 years old or 55 years old. Check us out at www.SpartanDanceCenter.com.
I have not had the opportunity to see Moscow Festival Ballet in person, but I’m looking forward to attending their performance at the Wharton…I recommend anyone who is able to attend their performance. Nothing compares to seeing the ballet live on stage!” – Leah Seery
Click here to learn more about Moscow Festival Ballet’s performance at Wharton Center on January 8. $15 student tickets are available for this stunning performance.