Ballet just as tough, grueling as football; dancers deserve more respect, adoration

Most TCU students wouldn’t think twice if they were deciding whether to attend a football game or a ballet performance. But they might make a different choice if they realized how similar the two really are.Both are physical, require excellent conditioning, teamwork and an extraordinary amount of time.

The mental preparation and physical training for a pas de deux – French for “step of two,” a type of partnering ballet – is not that different from those of the quarterback and a receiver trying to complete a pass.

Both must know where they are supposed to be so the event occurs in proper form.

Dancers in the corps de ballet – the dancers in a troupe who perform as a group – are like offensive or defensive players who must work as a unit. They may sometimes be in the background and get only a little limelight every once in a while, but in all truth, without them, the game could not be played.

The average ballet major at TCU has rehearsal almost every night, including Saturdays, when preparing for a performance. And that doesn’t count regular classes, which, for the most part, equal at least five hours a day.

This semesters’ first fall performance includes all of “Giselle” – that’s a ballet, not the supermodel. If you haven’t seen it, the performance will be a treat.

The dancers on this campus put just as much, if not more, time into their craft as athletes do.

A study of dancers from the Pacific Northwestern Ballet Co. showed that dancers receive just as many injuries to their lower bodies as professional football players. Often the injuries were more severe than injuries that take players off the field, yet the dancers kept rehearsing and performing. Rarely can a dancer take a week off of rehearsal for an injury.

Dancers – like football players – work and train all their lives to be able to perform to the caliber needed. Shouldn’t they receive at least some of the adoration given the football players who win games? If football greats, like former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, can take ballet classes to improve their game, it must not be that bad.

Dancing – not just around your room in your underwear, but the type that makes your feet bleed from wearing pointe shoes for hours on end – is art, but it is also physically, mentally and emotionally demanding.

Perhaps just as much as football – but with less padding.

Erin Glatzel is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Las Vegas.