Ballet Nightmares You'd Never Guess
Beautiful and Horrible
- The pain threshold of a ballet dancer is three times higher than that of a non-ballet dancer
- Ballet dancers seven times more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than non-ballet dancers.
- 45% of ballet dancers smoke cigarettes.
Ballet Boarding School
Schools in Russia start students as young as three-years-old in rigorous full-day ballet training, with little real book education mixed into the program.
At the Vaganova school in Russia, a source said, "One student had his legs hanging over a tall chair, with weights placed on his knees and his feet on another chair pushing them down," he said. "This way his legs would not bow out and would instead hyperextend."
But your legs can freeze in hyperextension, and the only way to fix that is to break the bones and realign them.
One girl accidentally kicked her choreographer off the stage and into an empty band pit, fracturing her leg and concussing the choreographer. Another girl clipped a male dancer in the nose with sharp fingernails during a lift...part of his nose came off.
"I heard four pops, pulling my fibula and tibia apart. I also tore a few tendons in my foot. In the dance world you are expected to go on, so I danced the rest of my set like that.
Sexism... Toward Men
"We need [to meet] certain standards and have to be dancing Ken Dolls out there," Luke elaborated. "Our dance belt really makes our butts pronounced, so we have a lot of older, female patrons who support us. Since they want to ogle us like guys do to Hooters waitresses, the director goes through us each day -- we need to be weighted every day to check for no weight gain, or if we are too skinny or not having enough muscle mass. It's so important that one of my former companies docked $25 of the pay of the lightest guy and the heaviest girl every month."
The Bolshoi Scandal
January 17, 2013 was a dark day for one of the world's most renowned ballet companies. A masked man threw sulphuric acid at the company's director, Sergei Filin, to blind him. The attacker turned out to be a male dancer, upset that Filin had not sufficiently promoted his girlfriend in the ballet. He only spent six years in prison.
The Cost of Ballet Shoes can put Dancers out of Work
At $80 a pop, ballet dancers can go through a dozen shoes in a week. Dancers have left companies because they couldn't afford the expenses. A ballet company can spend $100,000 on shoes alone.