After years of trying to develop a beautiful line in ballet, and watching my fellow dancers try as well, my eye is trained to unconsciously look for ballet lines. I see them everywhere: in architecture and nature, in the way light plays off of buildings, in fountains and even random trash piles that resemble the famous Dying Swan pose.
But what is the ballet line? Is it the overall picture created by a dancer on stage? Many teachers and dancers will tell you it is the shape of an arabesque or even the shape of a dancer’s leg. While these are all part of what helps or hinders an individual’s line, I’ve realized it is the little things that add up to create the whole.
One of the most influential teachers in my life has been Conrad Ludlow. During class he always mentions, “what is important is the intent to do,” meaning it is not necessarily the result that matters, but the thought behind it. While this may seem simple, it’s been a revelation for me. Line is developed by the honest intention of doing the correct step with the correct placement, paying attention to simplicity and detail. This is what shapes and re-shapes a dancer, and gives them the much sought after “ballet line.” Energy and the “intent to do” are what create beautiful dancers.