We had the great privilege today of drawing at a Ballet BC practice session, courtesy of our Urban Sketchers leader Sigrid, who seems to be remarkably well-connected (first a maker of habitable dumpsters, now a professional ballet-dancer - maybe she knows a couple Vancouver Canucks too?) My previous knowledge of ballet involved a niece's recital and Edgar Degas, so I didn't know what to expect, but I was completely overwhelmed by the intensity of their morning workout. After a few minutes of stretching and warming up, they spent 45 working at the barre, with an instructor giving a detailed set of instructions at three times normal human speed and exactly in time with the rhythm of the dance - imagine someone rapping to Tchaikovsky - then a pianist in the corner played music that went with the instruction as the dancers all went through the moves. And then another, and another, and another. Then 45 minutes of dances on the floor, again with a complicated high-speed set of instructions to start each one. You kind of expect grace and beauty from professional dancers - even in their sweats - but I was in awe of the physical strength and energy that went with it, let alone the concentration it all requires. Sometimes I see professionals in some field, like hockey players, and I think "They're doing the same things I can do, they're just vastly better at it". But in other cases, like improvising musicians or, now, ballet dancers, I think "The laws of my universe clearly do not apply to these people."
The pictures below are: warm-up, work at the barre, dances on the floor (if some of them look like they are doing disco moves, that's the sketcher's fault, not the dancers') and how-many-dancers-can-I-draw-and-paint-in-the-last-5-minutes?