Dancers have a wonderful reputation of being overachievers, super hard-workers and multitaskers who can focus on many things at once. This is why they make the best employees! I think of ballerinas as super heros. There's a deep history to making these super hero dancers...
Here are five things you might not know about dance.
1. Ballet originated in Italy. We can thank Catherine de Medici who was a huge patron of the arts and brought ballet to France when she married King Henry II in the sixteenth century. The Ballet Comique de la Reine was the first ballet performance and Catherine was the instigator bringing over Italian masters to choreograph the dance. The court was so impressed with the ballet that they tried to copy similar dances then eventually replaced Italian ballet masters with French, and that’s why the language of ballet became French.
2. Before a dancers goes on stage, they say "merde" to their fellow dancers backstage as a way of wishing each other good luck. It seems quite funny if you speak French. Back in the Catherine de Medici days, people would take their horse and carriage to the performances...merde would pile up! Backstage helpers would let the dancers know there was merde...which later meant a simple "good luck " (just a more fun way of saying it remembering dance history).
3. For the first one hundred years of ballet, only the men danced. King Louis XIV loved to dance and star in Versailles court performances.
4. One tutu can cost up to $2000 and require up to 60-90 hours of labor and several months. It's a labor of love! You can see how much love goes into making a tutu here.
5. Most ballerinas wear out two or three pairs of pointe shoes per week. Dancers may carry a wide variety of supplies to break in their pointe shoes: tape, toe pads, scissors, sewing kits, mallet, cheese grater (to rough up the soles of the shoe), pliers, lighters (to singe the ends of the ribbons). Ballerinas use rosin on their pointe shoes to keep from slipping. Rosin is made from pine tree sap.
I believe with all my heart what Martha Graham said was true..."Dance is the hidden language of the soul."