The Whole Pointe of Ballet
By POON YUN XUAN – We delight at the sight of ballerinas twirling, leaping, flying across a magnificent set, captivating the audience with their seemingly effortless grace.
However, if you’ve never done repeated Dégagé and Plié barre exercises and practised pirouetting en pointe till your calf muscles are sore, it’s hard to imagine how much effort, time and discipline go into every performance. A Chinese saying goes, “For three minutes on the stage, one must put in 10 years of effort.” In fact, ballet dancers often take a lot more than 10 years to perfect their professional skills. Indeed, it takes effort to make ballet look so effortless.
Top image: http://singaporeballetacademy.com.sg/alumni/
Singaporean Artist Chua Bi Ru from the Singapore Dance Theatre has appeared in a significant number of professional ballet productions, with classics such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Giselle under her tutu. To encourage you to watch ballet performances and better appreciate the dedication and passion of the dancers, we ask about her ballet journey.
Medhatter (MH): How much time do you spend on rehearsals each week?
Chua Bi Ru (BR): About 44 hours a week as a whole company. But our rehearsal hours are dependent on the performances we are working on during that period and the roles we are cast for.
MH: Do you have a special/lucky ritual you do or a food you eat
before a performance to prepare yourself for it?
BR: I do not really have a special ritual, but no matter what role I’m
dancing, big or small, I’ll always eat a banana before a performance. It
gives me energy to dance!
I will also make sure that I drink a lot of water before the show so
that I am well hydrated, and at times, I will have some sweets and
chocolate for extra energy.