A ballet dancer is a person who practices the art of classical ballet. Both females and males can practice ballet; however, dancers have hierarchy and strict gender roles. They rely on years of extensive training and proper technique to become a part of professional companies. Ballet dancers are at a high risk of injury due to the demanding technique of ballet
Ballet dancers typically begin training between the ages of 2-4 (for females) or 5-7 (for male dancers) if they desire to perform professionally. Training does not end when ballet dancers are hired by a professional company. They must attend ballet class six days a week to keep themselves fit and aware. Ballet is a strict form of art, and the dancer must be very athletic and flexible.
Ballet dancers begin their classes at the barre, a wooden beam that runs along the walls of the ballet studio. Dancers use the barre to support themselves during exercises. Barre work is designed to warm up the body and stretch muscles to prepare for center work, where they execute exercises without the barre. Center work in the middle of the room starts out with slower exercises, gradually leading up to faster exercises and larger movements. Ballet dancers finish center work practicing big leaps across the floor which is called grande allegro.
After center work, females present exercises on pointe, or on their toes, supported by special pointe shoes. Males practice jumps and turns. They may practice partner work together.
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