Career Development Plan - Proportions For Ballet?

Career Development Plan - Proportions For Ballet?

Dear Odette,
I am 17 and have been doing ballet since about 11. I am not aspiring to a proffesional dancing career but would love to continue dancing with a semi-professional company I am with now.The only thing is, I have noticed that my proportions aren't very good for ballet. My legs are not very long but my torso is long. I am about 5'5 but many other girls in my class the same height have longer legs. I am very flexible and am quite strong en pointe only it seems that other girls with long legs look better on stage. My question is; are there any technical disadvantages to having long torso/short legs? does it make arabesque or certain other positions difficult? So far i have been getting small parts due to my expressiveness but am worried that i will never get main roles as I can't create the pretty long lines like the other girls...
thank you so much,


Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - Proportions For Ballet?

Hi Lizzie,
Thanks for contacting me. You ask a good question which I am sure is also on the minds of many other young aspiring ballet dancers. Ballet can sometimes feel like it is all just about the 'look' and the 'line', but don't forget you are an artists too as well as an athlete. Ballet can go beyond just looking at a dancer's line, but we can all naturally get into the habit of comparing ourselves with other dancers and looking at someone else with longer legs or better lines. It is easy to wish you had their body. The truth is you can work with what you have and create an even better outcome.

Your body shape won't hold you back if you don't allow it to. I have seen all types of body shapes in ballet within a range, and not all have super long legs. They are athletic and strong.
In fact, some dancers with longer legs or more natural lines may find it easier to execute the positions, but they could get into the habit of 'relying' on their body rather than 'working' it properly. It is often said those dancers with less natural body facility often result to working even harder, because they have to really work every muscle in order to accomplish the ballet technique.

For now, you must work to bring out your strengths and target your weaknesses. Keep working hard in each class being eager and confident, then you will be well on the right track no matter what.

Best wishes,

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