Eyes up! Spine straight! Heels forward! En pointe! Bras en Couronne! Ta-da! You just became a Balleri-na/no. Ha-ha! Just kidding.
Ballet is a World dance! On Wikipedia, it is said to be a type of performance dance which, ab initio, sprung during the Italian Renaissance but later morphed into a concert dance form for soloist and group dancers in France and Russia. This popular dance genre has notably influenced the techniques used in several other dances and cultures.
It may, however, be surprising that, although Ballet is said to have its history tied to Italy and France, it found a home in Russia. Right from the 18th-century, classical ballet traditions started in a new fashion in Russia and has since grown in popularity and prestige. That is why “Ballet” is mentioned as one of the benefits of learning the Russian language as though competency in Ballet comes from merely learning to speak the Soviet language. However, that is merely said to express how important and noble the Russian Ballet has grown to be.
Nigeria has a rich culture of dance and Nigerians are people appreciative of cultural variety. Have you ever imagined yourself hitting the dance floor among your friends with some exhilarating Oriental belly dancing moves or footing it with some artful Russian-ballet steps? If for anything, you definitely will be adding one gold star to your cap as an international dancer.
So, get your pointe and leotard at the yellow line: here is our guide for intending Nigerian students of Russian Ballet dance. Music, please!
Why Take Russian Ballet Dance Lessons?
Adding the Russian Ballet dance to your repertoire has many cultural, physical, health, social, and economic gains. Let’s glimpse into each.
- Cultural benefits
That Ballet hailed from Italy and France may sound not so interesting until you read that Italy and France are the top two of the five countries that set World culture. To cap it, this highly-decorated dance now finds home in a country which sits between two continents (Europe and Asia) — Russia. Sounds culturally-yummy! Learning the Russian Ballet opens the door for you to enjoy these influential cultures and delve into the history, music, and arts of these grandiose countries. Whether for children or adults, learning Ballet gives exposure to a whole new world of grand cultures.
- Physical benefits
The Russian Ballet is known for its fine leaps, aesthetic physical performances, flexibility, and rhythmic gymnastics. These are exercises that won’t only give your body more strength but make you more fluid and fit to carry out your routine. Ballet dance lessons often involve learning techniques that can tangentially help your body develop correct postures while improving your balance and coordination.
- Health benefits
When attending a ballet dance class, you sure must go with your endurance vest because ballet dance lessons often involve short bursts of high-energy combinations and cardio that will increase your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health. Would you love to build stamina, strength, endurance, and body flexibility? Become a student of ballet!
- Social benefits
Ballet classes in Nigeria and beyond also serve as a community for diverse people to meet and relate. For adults and children students, ballet dance classes offer social opportunities that can engender beneficial networking, build individuals’ spirit of teamwork, esprit de corps, and foster communication. Also, if you have a plan to visit Italy, France, or Russia sometime, aside from learning the relevant language, learning ballet dance could make integrating easier for you.
- Economic benefits
Taking Russian Ballet dance lessons could be a way to dance your way to fortune, especially in Nigeria where more tutors are needed to meet demand. You can learn Russian ballet to join the highly-sought and well-paid pool of private Ballet tutors in Nigeria who take home classes or even open a dance academy. If you are also very good, you can perform as a soloist or join/create a dance group and get invited to high-brow concerts and dance events. Did you say 'thank you for the sweet offer'? You are welcome!
Now that you have enough reasons to stop tip-toeing and start toe-dancing, let’s look at some superb moves and postures that you may encounter as a new student in your Ballet dance class.
Ballet Dance Outfit and Techniques
Once you remember ‘leopard’, you should be able to recall ‘leotard’. But while you know what the former means, you might not know the latter. Leotard is a skin-tight one-piece garment with or without sleeves and no legs, often worn by dancers and acrobats, according to Wiktionary. It is a popular costume for female ballet dancers. There are also other female outfits including the swan lake and the tutu.
For male ballet dancers, they could don a nutcracker, male swan lake, Coppelia, and coat bodysuit. Both male and female dancers wear dance boots or the pointe shoe for their dances and training. The pointe shoe is a shoe with a strengthened toe for dancing en pointe.
Below are some positions and movements in Ballet dancing that you would love. Massage your feet and straighten your limbs; it is time to groove!
- Ballon technique: This technique is one of the magic moves of Ballet. When done right, the dancer will appear to defy the law of gravity. It involves making a seemingly light and effortless jump and suspending in the air with the legs and arms stretched wide.
- Pointe technique: Although not known as this, many people identify Ballet with this toe-dancing technique. This technique demands that the dancer dance on the tips of his/her fully extended feet.
- Arabesque position: Arabesque is one of the beautiful body position in Ballet dance that many love. To pull this off, the dancer stands on one leg and stretches the other leg behind his/her body with both legs held straight. If you like, take your next picture with this pose (Grins).
- Grand jeté: This is another beautiful jump in Ballet dance where the dancer springs from one foot to land on the other with both legs extended oppositely to form a full-split in the air.
- Pirouette: Pirouette is the act of spinning on one foot with the other raised foot touching the knee of the spinning foot.
There are many more exciting movements and positions in Ballet. But before you go on admiring moves and leaps, remember that these moves are easier said and watched than done. So, first, you must start a ballet dance class.
How Can I Take Ballet Dance Lessons in Nigeria?
The answer to the question above rests on the preferences of the student. Before deciding on what method of learning to adopt, you must consider your need and how much money and time you have to spend. While you think about these, below are some options you could choose from.
Watch videos to learn Ballet dance
Content sharing has become so easy with the internet. You can find several videos online on social media, like YouTube and Instagram, and can — for free — learn basic techniques in the Russian Ballet. Here are some YouTube channels that you can subscribe to for Ballet dance lessons.
- Moscow Ballet
- Ballet Flowers
- Tutorial Classical Ballet
- Ballet WorldTV
- The Royal Ballet
Although these channels provide free lessons in the Russian ballet, they are hardly enough to make you a skilled dancer. More so, your learning curve can also be greatly slowed if there are no complementary learning sources.
Enrol at a dance academy
Are you more serious about learning the Russian Ballet dance? Perhaps you'd like to become a professional ballet dancer? Learning at a dance school is a viable option to consider.
Many dance schools in Nigeria offer professional multi-level training in traditional African dances, training in Western dances including Irish dance, hip-hop, salsa, and Spanish dance, the Oriental dance of belly dancing, and classical ballet.
Dance schools offer a structured syllabus and a social opportunity that can found in group learning. Unlike learning through online videos, enrolling at dance schools affords you the chance to have a dance buddy, receive considerable supervision from a tutor, and have your concerns attended to.
Here are some dance schools in Nigeria where you can take a Ballet dance class:
- Strauss School of Music and Dance, Abuja
- Nigerian Ballet School, Port-Harcourt
- The Leap of Dance Academy, Lagos
- Apex Dance Company, Lagos
- Naths Art Dance School, Abuja FCT
Hire a private ballet tutor on Superprof
It is also very possible to learn Russian ballet by hiring a private home dance tutor, and there are many benefits to choosing this option.
More than attending a dance school, private tutors provide closer supervision and are always there to answer your queries. These tutors are often very experienced and provide stellar training in the art and science of ballet dance. Unlike attending a dance school, getting a private ballet dance tutor offers more comfort, a personalised learning method without jeopardising quality. Also, unlike watching online videos, learning in the company of a private tutor speeds up your learning curve and can adequately lead you to sufficient mastery. Perhaps, you may even be lucky to get a tutor from whom you can pick a few expressions of the Russian language.
However, these benefits can only be realised if you get the right tutor. Getting the wrong tutor will cost you money, time, and effort. To reduce the risk and guarantee commensurate value for your money, Superprof profiles skilled ballet dance tutors that are available whenever and wherever in Nigeria. Superprof is an online knowledge-marketplace where intending students meet awesome expert-tutors that offer in-person private dance training as well as dance lessons via webcam.
Approved tutors on Superprof have individual profile dashboards where intending students can read about each tutor’s methodology, experience, modes of lesson offered, rates, and reviews from past students. Superprof tutors are responsive and responsible and have a culture of excellence. That is why the majority of dance tutors on the site offer their first lessons for free. With this window, you can assess the tutor, consider your needs, and choose whether to continue or discontinue with him/her.
So, would you like to be the Nigerian Vaganova? Your dance coach awaits you on Superprof!