Whatever you’re doing at the moment, hit pause and take a minute to think about the ballet. What does the ballerina in your mind look like? Are they young and matchstick thin? Very likely, the answer is yes, and that is exactly what Springfield Ballet wants to change. “Ballerinas are all ages, skill levels and body types,” says Abigail Lind, executive director at Springfield Ballet. “Everyone has this image of what they think a ballerina looks like, but what they don’t see is what our dancers actually look like. Most of our dancers start with us at a young age, but we also have adult ballet classes for beginners.” Ballet is also incredibly athletic. Just ask Artistic Director Ashley Paige Romines who has performed ballet professionally. “Ballet requires some of the highest levels of athleticism with the physical and mental demands coinciding with a performance art,” she says. “Dancers cross-train to build cardio, core strength and balanced musculature that will serve them their whole lives.”
So if you’re picturing a ballerina, picture an athlete. Now mix in a range of ages and skill sets, and that mix-match of interest, talent and dedication provides a much better image of what a “traditional” ballerina actually looks like. As living proof, meet three dancers who got their start with Springfield Ballet.