Is ballet a sport or an art? A question asked constantly, with answers contrasting along a widespread range of opinions.
Ballet was born hundreds of years ago, meant to serve royalty not only as a means of entertainment, but as a new type of poetry: poetry through movement.
Though dance is dynamic, changing with the times, becoming more physically demanding and raised to higher standards, dance is not just a series of movements repeated over and over again, seeking the "correct answer". In dance, there is no "correct answer". There is the correct posture, the correct placement of the feet, the correct form of the arms, but there is no correct answer. That is because dance is not as simple as solving an equation. In order to create real ballet, and real dance, there must be something more, something that draws the line between sheer physicality and the true form of art.
When you watch a ballet being performed, it's utterly different from a marathon, from a swimming race, from golf, to any human eye. Ballet creates a unity not just between the body and the mind, but between the body and the soul. Through dance, emotions are expressed, emotions that lay at the core of your existence, that you can't say in words or even in actions. These are emotions that belong in one world only, a closed and secret world - the world of dance.
There is no simple way to explain what ballet is. Damaged by stereotypes, the true meaning of it is hidden beneath many layers, and must be deeply dissected to be unveiled. It's composed by a variety of elements, elements which form the final balance of a dancer. A dancer with great technique is not enough. A dancer with perfect musicality is not enough. A dancer must have everything, including that indescribable "something" that makes dance poetry. A touch of individuality, a unique style, all combined with the perfect movements.
Those that view ballet as a sport view it as a simple equation with a simple answer. To say that ballet is JUST a sport means that you are looking at the surface, that you aren't understanding the truth behind this art form, what lies deep down, below.
I myself used to believe that ballet was - at least, partially - a sport, in order to defend myself from those that say "ballet is easy", "it's not even physical work". Saying that ballet isn't a sport doesn't make it less valued. In fact, saying that only shows that there is so much more to dance than physicality. The beauty of dance lies in the ability to pour out your heart, to show what lies inside you. That is the way to touch the audience. Dance is so much more than just work with your body. It's a way to communicate with your soul, a way to communicate with yourself, a way to communicate with the past.
Ballet is not a sport, and it's not just an art.
It's pure poetry. A type of poetry that only dancers know, a poetry through movement.
Alexia Dochnal, 15 years old.