Dancers & Athletes

Dancers know all about it, but we, audience, see only the beauty of Dance and easily forget some facts about the physical challenges dancers have to face.
They are several athletes in one: high jump, long jump, hurdles race (without hurdles). But athletes have several advantages over dancers:
special foot-wear that helps the take-off and softens the landings,
they can turn and twist and tighten-up and loosen-up and throw their legs and arms in any way that will increase efficiency and spare their muscles and joints,
they land on soft floor, like sand and mattresses,
they specialize in only one modality,
where they have highly-specialized coaching.
In dancing, it’s their feet meeting directly the hard floor, nothing in between, nothing to enhance efficiency or spare them, all the jumping done with full poise and elegance.
Dancers are also rythmic gymnasts, in that they need the same flexibility, extension, balance and ballon. Gymnasts are always small, lightweight creatures, with almost child-like bodies – most are just teenagers, and retire well before the age of 25.
But the male dancers! Male dancers MUST be heavy-muscled, because they are weightlifters TOO!, and still you expect them to be as agile and flexible as those wispy adolescent gymnasts!
And what to say about point-shoes? What kind of athlete or gymnast must use such a make-it-still-a-lot-harder thing?
Dancers make use of all those different physical abilities one swiftly after another, and another and another, or worse, at the same time – while they feel and exactly follow the music, while acting, while taking care of their partners, while finding their place on stage, while caring about pretty lines, while smiling and making it look easy, while striving… to create magic!
Awesome creatures!
How can they possibly cope with all these different physical, mental and emotional demands, all the time taking high risks on their safety? And they can, driven as they are by the joy of dancing, and by the wish to please US.
Next time, let us remember and cheer them all the more!

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