The Ballerine Series
by Gino Tioseco
20 inches x 13 inches
Ballet as Paradox
by Susan S. Lara
(After The Ballerine Series by Gino Tioseco)
It is not for the lily-livered. It demands rigorous discipline and body control. It is all about muscular strength and power, hip and pelvic integrity. You live the paradoxes by instinct: every molecule of your body is in motion even in stillness. You're thinking up even when you're going down.
Pull in those stomach muscles, tighten the muscles in your bottom, pull up the muscles in your legs. You will have strong, well-toned legs, but they will never be flawless, they will always be studded with bruises, abrasions, scars. Dodgy ankles will be an almost everyday occurrence. Lift your chin, it will lengthen your neck; look up and out, never down at your feet; keep your shoulders down. This is your stance, not only before, during, and after performance; this is your stance for the rest of your life.
Behind the curtains on performance night, you do mundane chores like sew ribbons to your pointe shoes, put extra bobby pins to fasten your hair. On stage, you're lithe, willowy, wraith-like. Whether you're Princess Aurora or one of her fairy godmothers, you show no trace of the back-breaking rehearsals that make it easy for you to be soft and pliant. You appear almost spineless as you bend; feel weightless and feather-light as you float in the air and land without the merest whisper, lightly brushing the floor with your feet. You are gracious in your acceptance of the applause and acclaim that acknowledge your perfection. When the curtain falls and the lights dim, your thoughts are on tomorrow's performance. It will be the same, but not quite the same.