2013-06-30

Zee Bloody Birth of Ballet: Small Truth, Large Pulp-Free Fiction

“Dear Diary, 
When I grow up, I never want to stop wearing tutus and shiny dresses, and walking on my tippy-toes. I also hate when Mommy MAKES me clean my plate, so when I grow up I will only eat candy and smoke cigarettes. And I will dance and dance and twirl and NEVER GO TO BED!”
  -- Young ballerina thoughts.
from The Simpsons' "Smoke On The Daughter"
I was innocently watching a line of perfectly-synchronized ballerinas, doing impossible-looking moves on those ungodly ballerina shoes, and once again I was amazed at the freaking freak of freaking nature that is ballet and ballerinas.  
from houstonballet.wordpress.com

Back when the Black Swan movie came out, I heard a horrifying piece (why did I not just type the word ‘interview’ ??) on NPR on the life of the modern ballerina, and the toll it takes on a human body….and soul. The stress, the diet of wet cotton balls, it makes them feel full without calories. Obviously a human person could not possibly consume more than 300 calories a day to fit in those outfits. The dedication and training involved in doing those moves over the course of a lifetime, is nothing short of torture.

Not to mention, once a dancer has “made it” to the point of being actually compensated for his/her art? The real hard work begins: The schedule, the practice, the playing hurt because gods forbid your UNDERSTUDY get to perform for you, and steal the one paycheck you finally get for all your sacrifices.
Beautiful ballerina feet. I AM SO SORRY FOR THIS
from theperformanceclub.com 
It got me thinking about who invented this cruel ironically beautiful dance? Who was the FIRST PERSON to say, “Hhmm, let’s make the world’s most impossible dance, combine it with the most uncomfortable clothing in the universe, set it to breath-taking music and make it a big, fancy thing.”

 You may have already known this, but King Louis XIV is credited with “enjoying” ballet SO MUCH that he started the first school of ballet in Paris 1661. 

King Louis XIV?? Huzzah! Given my vast knowledge of his history, namely watching the movie 'The Man in The Iron Mask,' I know that this man may have been a king’s king, but he was clearly not right in the head.

King Leo as The Man In The Iron Mask, GREAT movie btw
I immediately pictured lil Leo DiCaprio as King Louis yelling “Let zem eat cake, and dance le ballet!” 

That’s the kind of thing the rusty wheels in my wonderland dome turn out.

If you’ve seen The Man In The Iron Mask, you saw the side of old King Louis that I’m talkin’ bout, Willis. The man who left Paris starving while he pursued money and women.

Historic semi-RELEVANT TANGENT, possibly saving you a web search:

War monger part? True.

The twin brother looked in a dungeon thing? Pulp-Free Fiction.

I had a talk with my smartest best friend Google, who told me ole King Louis was a ballet dancer and he performed in this get up:
 from contemporary-dance.org
Right?! I mean, these duds would cheese ME off? Et vous? Oui ou non?

This would probably cause a normal person to want to make some changes, but an egomaniacal kingI pictured him plotting his revenge for this outrage! 

He would make ballet “The Next Big Thing,” and lots and lots of people would have to wear these outfits and learn that foot-and-soul-crushing dance. He would show them.

Zut alors! He would OPEN A SCHOOL (“Acad’emie Royale de la Danse”) to teach hundreds - non MEEELLIONS - of people to do this dance! They would have to devote their lives, and their very health to learning to do this.

I pictured the pompous king, talking to the French homme who helped him start this school, Pierre Beauchamps (great name, btw), and it went a little something like this:

from fanpop.com

King Louis XIV(in a horribly dramatic French accent): 

 “Let us be sure, when zey dance this dance, ze leettle ballerinas, zey will have to wear very tight, shiny tutus and show 90% of their bodies. 

Zey will not be able to drink zee wine and eat zee croissant if zey wish to dance! Mwu-ahahah!”(<-- French evil laugh)

Pierre Beauchamp
from answers.com

Pierre Beauchamp: 

“Very good, sire. 
How about zee shoes? 
Shiny, oui, bon, but let us also make them very, very uncomfortab-leh.”

from contemporarydashdance.org/ballet-history










King Louey: “Oui! Let them wear ‘orribly pointy shoes, and zey must dance ON ZEE TIP TOES. For HOURS!“

Beauchamp: “Sacre bleu! Sire, forgive me but that seems impossi-bleh.” (what? That's how they say that in France.)


KL: “Well then, put zee wood in the toe part of the shoe, let them practice balancing on it for years. I need this, Mon Dieu!”

PB: “As you wish, my liege. That may damage the dancer's feet.”

KL: *steepling fingers in an evil Monty-Burns-fashion* “They shall never be able to walk normally! Assuming any of them survive past ze age of 25 on a diet of only tobacco leaves and milk of the poppy,” (or Yee Old Absynthe or whatever the fudge was the Oxycoton of the 1600’s) "Zis will ensure all the dancers who dance this dance will only be YOUNG!"

PB: “Excellent, sir. If I may? This is why you are KING.”

KL: "Of course eet is! Now bow to me and make it so, you pig dog!"

End scene. *That thing with the fingers*

That is how I picture it going down.

For the rest of you that love to dance, but also like to eat...and say walk...don't fret Boba Fett. The answer came to me in searching for information about the first school of dance.

I did not doctor this in anyway, this is a live screen shot:
from stason.org


41 comments:

  1. Oh my! I want you to know I heard the horribly dramatic French accent :)

    Funny!

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    1. hahaha Merci beaucoup, mon ami. A tip of the invisible beret to you. I'm glad you liked it. I will have nightmares about those ballet feet, but totally worth it.

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  2. I cant stop hearing (in my head) everything I read as French... THis was a great post...very funny...sickening feet though and I always thought mine were hideous.

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    1. Oh no! C'est tres terri-bleh! <-- THAT really is how they say that. I know what you mean though, I keep speaking in a 'orrible French accent to my children and they are NOT amused.
      Same about the feet, and I KNOW mine are hideous. It's the ultimate irony, the beauty of a ballerina in full costume, and then...their poor FEET. Ballet is the OFFICIAL dance of Irony.

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    2. omg...my kid (hes 24 and just called home from his home) just hollered at me "STOP IT ...YOU ARE NOT FRENCH!" LOL...crap!

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  3. I don't care what anyone says....nothing is worth feet like that, ewwww & OW!

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  4. I'm sure some guys would think the idea of dating a ballerina is hot, but if I saw feet like that, "it" would probably go so limp it'd retract into my stomach.

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    1. I feel ya. And I feel like ballerinas have the body build of young little boys, so if you're not attracted to that? Be happy about it.

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  5. Interesting post. I grew up around dancers, so the feet I got used to at a a young age. Also, I visited the island in France on which the man in the iron mask was imprisoned;I totally didn't believe the whole Dumas-story/DiCaprio movie thing...but it sure lent the island a feeling of possibility!

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    1. Wow cool! I mean the island, not the feet. Sorry about THAT :)

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  6. J'taime ze French...;) Ee gad, the feet. Dancers have a hard life. I had a friend in high school who wanted to dance. She had nasty feet too. lol We both ended up in New York; me for acting, she for dance. Once she realized what awaited her in the world of dance, she gave it up and went to law school.

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    1. Sounds like she made the right choice! Did you ever do any acting?? I'll have to search your blog! I'm glad you "aime"d it!

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  7. You're ridiculous. And I love it!
    Incidentally, my feet are pretty damn crappy and I've never danced anything remotely like ballet in my life. They actually look kinda like the scary picture--minus the toe shoes in the background.

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    1. hahahaha you don't even want to know how horrible my feet are, and I barely take leisurely walks! Maybe not as bad as the picture, but pretty creepy. I hate all feet. Except baby feet of course.

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  8. OK seriously, I am cracking up "you pig-dog!" How is it you pull off a French accent in writing?? YOU ARE GIFTED AND A GENIUS. I now worship you. My head is bowed. Don't chop it off. Please.

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    1. hahahaha I'm not that kind of king! I like to type out how I hear words, grammar Nazis be damned!
      I have to credit Monty Python with the "pig dog" thing. I believe it's from The Holy Grail <-- my fave movie.

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  9. That picture is AWFUL. I never thought of it that way, but ballet is a strange form of torture I think. Thanks for linking up on the hop!

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    1. After that interview I heard before Black Swan, I thought so too!

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  10. Funny post! I love the line: And make it so, pig dog!

    Also after reading your post, I feel like I can speak French now!

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    1. Oui oui, mon ami!
      I'm so glad you liked it!

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  11. Found your blog on the Never Ever Ever link up and now I'm following on Bloglovin'! I wanted to be a ballerina when I was younger (mostly because Mary-Kate and Ashley had a ballet party). I almost died at the sight of those ballerina feet! So gross! Ahh!

    Tiffany
    tiffanykhyla.blogspot.com

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    1. Sorry if you had to revisit any of the meals you ate today! I just felt, after all of their hard work, they just really had to be seen. I hope everyone who read this doesn't get violently ill every time they see ballet now :/

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  12. I love how your smartest friend is Google. Also like your duck hat.

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    1. Google knows a lot of shit, but isn't snobby about it. Like, for example, if you type "DO a barrel roll" into Goggle, it will do a trick, and if you type "gay" it will show you an amazing rainbow, and if you type "Atari breakout" it will play an awesomely fun, colorful game with you. So it's not JUST smart, it's fun, too!
      Thank you re: the hat. My sister bought them for us when we volunteered at The Overnight for AFSP.org, an amazing charity!

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  13. Also read in French accent, but in all fairness, I do that a lot!

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  14. I still have a pair of bloodied toe shoes in the attic. I'm a lazy dancer now, but my feet do look much better!

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    1. I'm sure you're much happier. I would imagine :)

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  15. I bet those Frenchman have OUTRAGEOUS accents! ;-) This totally made me flash to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Thanks so much for the laugh and for that horrible foot picture that I can never unsee. I needed that when that dude was asking for foot pictures on my Facebook blog page...

    Thanks for hooking up with us on the Humor Me Blog Hop! Come back again next week. Merci...

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  16. And NOW I must watch this movie of which you speak...

    Great post, totally made me chuckle and chortle.

    -Cristyl @ www.mychillthoughts.com

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  17. This is so hilariously true! Loved reading it! I love how you made reference to things that we can all relate to in pop culture like the Man in the Iron Mask.

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  18. Woops I can't edit my comment! Here is my site: http://getfithealthylife.blogspot.com

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  19. My dearly departed Mother decided when I was 5, that I needed to take ballet because of my horrible issues with balance. Let's just say, it ended with many tears from all involved and my ability to STILL fall up stairs (yes, up). I embrace my clutzy side and wear it as a badge of honor against ballerina abuse!

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  20. That's funny, I too took a ballet class as a very young girl and have fallen down and UP many a get of stairs!!

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  21. I'm turning 36 tomorrow, and have between learning ballet for 3 months now. I did my first performance last Saturday, it was worth it! I simply cannot WAIT to dance en pointe- and don't tell me I CAN'T, because of my age/my beginner status... I CAN DO ALL THINGS, THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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    1. That's awesome! I would never tell you that you can't do anything! Whatever happens, you'll have fun and learn. Hopefully you won't have those ballerina toes :)

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