I recently challenged myself to re-write my profile bio to get more specific about who I am and what I am trying to do here on instagram and one thing really had me stumped. I started typing and trying to find the different words to describe myself with, and eventually I came up with two words "ballerina painter". I deleted it, then typed it again, and then deleted again. This happened a few more times before I had to sit back and think about what it was about that title that made me so uncomfortable. Perhaps it's the knowledge that traditionally the word Ballerina is reserved for only the very few who have reached the highest level of virtuosity. Also I balked at the thought that maybe I'm implying that I am a professional dancer or was once a professional dancer which I most certainly am not. In today's day and age a female ballet dancer is colloquially known as a ballerina which got me thinking also about what makes someone a ballet dancer and thus a "Ballerina".
What I came to the conclusion of is that to me, a Ballerina is someone who has the utmost respect and love for the artform. She is in constant pursuit of a high level of training and artistry. She takes class regularly, working diligently on developing her body and her mind to be able to move beautifully, with grace and dignity. She knows ballet terminology like the back of her hand and her reflexes have been tuned in so that she can move to music without thinking about what the next step will be. She knows Swan Lake from Serenade and famous dancers of the past by their first names only. She often dreams of ballet when she sleeps at night and when the music of a variation she’s danced comes on, her body remembers it before her mind does. This can be true for a child of 12 years old at a professional academy, but it can also be true for a 65 year old retiree, a 37 year old mom or a 23 year old college grad student. If you checked most of the above boxes:
Yes. To me, you are in fact a ballerina.
And yes, in case you were wondering I kept ballerina painter in my profile. 🩰
Are you a ballerina and what makes someone a ballerina (or ballet dancer)?