www.whyville.net Jul 28, 2013 Weekly Issue

Veteran Times Writer

The Bad Ballet Breakup

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Ballet, like most things in life, comes with many hardships. Almost every dancer can tell you their own unhappy stories of bun headaches, itchy costumes, or having a knee do a full 180 on stage (NOT a pretty thing to hear about). There's a certain heart-wrenching tale though that almost every aspiring dancer has heard -- one that leaves all the rest in the dust! Well, maybe not the knee story, but . . . It's the grim tale of Mr. and Mrs. Heel and their ill-fated romance, like "Romeo and Juliet", only way more tragic. And as with many childhood stories, there's an important lesson to be learned: the 5 positions of the feet.

At my studio, we tell this story to all the new ballet dancers to help remember the 5 positions because whenever your feet are on the floor, they're in one of these positions. You don't need expensive shoes or hours of lessons to follow along though. So from here until the end of this article and by the power vested in me, I now pronounce your heels man and wife!

First Position:

Happy Valentine's Day! What? It most certainly is not July, silly . . . *scoff* To celebrate, put your feet in the shape of a 'V' so your knees are over your toes and have Mr. and Mrs. Heel give each other a big kiss! Aww, aren't they precious? They're definitely going to last forever, right?

Second Position:

Oops, guess not. Mr. and Mrs. Heel are in a heated debate over whether pineapple or mango is the superior tropical fruit. I'm siding with pineapple, but don't tell Mrs. Heel. Since they're mad, move them to opposite sides of the room, but make sure they stay directly underneath your hips. Don't wanna kick them both out of the house!

Third Position:

Well, some time has passed and Mr. and Mrs. Heel aren't quite as angry. Move Mrs. Heel (you can pick either foot) back in so that she and Mr. Heel can talk things out. She should be right about in the middle of your other foot, with each set of toes pointing in the opposite direction. Remember, your toes should always be facing away from each other. They're sworn enemies, so things get ugly when they're together.

Fourth Position:

Uh-oh. Mr. Heel has really done it now. The term "Mango Maniac" may have come into play . . . Get Mrs. Heel out of there, once and for all, by adjusting your current position and sliding her directly forward. Once you have your feet in place, readjust yourself so that your weight is equally distributed between both feet.

Fifth Position:

Mrs. Heel wasn't about to stick around some pineapple lover, no way Jose. So she found herself a new, better mango-loving guy, Mr. Big Toe. Slide her back and have her give him a big kiss! Poor Mr. Heel, seems like he got the short end of the stick. I told you it was a tragic story.

Now that you know the saddest love story of all time, you have the building blocks to becoming a first class, prima ballerina. No matter where you go, whether you plan on going pro or just want to spin around your living room with pretty ballerina arms, it all comes down to the 5 positions.

Now I challenge you to memorize the 5 positions story without looking at any pictures. Do you think you can do it?

Author's Note: Sorry for any little technique mishaps or bad pictures. I spent quite some time trying to contort myself in each position, iPad in hand, so I could get pictures with decent views. I imagine it would have been funny to watch though. Thanks for reading!


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