It’s not all tutus and tiaras — behind the scenes, ballet is brutal. Here are those truths all ballet dancers understand.

The gorgeous, sylph-like poise. The grace and splendour of a gravity defying grand jeté. The music and magic and pointe shoes. Is there anything quite like the ballet?

For us lucky audience members, every time is a treat, but beyond the Sugar Plum Fairies and tinkling celestes, is a world of brutal dedication, endless practice, and hair grips. Oh so many, many hair grips. Here are ten truths that all ballet dancers understand.


It’s a lot harder than it looks

Making something look ‘fluid’ and ‘effortless’ on stage is usually a combination of being in pain, anti-inflammatories and the relentless training you’ve had since you were a toddler.


You definitely don’t starve yourself

Contrary to popular belief you don’t just live on cigarettes! Being a dancer takes a lot of energy (and a lot of carbs).


You’re REAL good at sewing

Pretty ballet shoes don’t just arrive ready made. You’ve got to sew a lot of ribbons and a lot of elastic, shellac them and then beat the crap out of them before they’re ready – just in time for you to use them for one show and then throw them away!


Bliss is an ice bath

While definitely for a great cause, the ice bucket challenge was weak sauce! It’s your version of a relaxing soak after a hard day!


Your feet are just a tiny bit scary

Life as a ballet dancer means never being able to wear thongs…


People don’t recognise you with your hair down

Having your hair in a bun all the time is like wearing glasses – you just look plain weird without it! Fortunately, you possess more hair pins than you know what to do with (including countless ones between sofa cushions, under car seats, in jacket pockets, at the bottom of handbags…)


Don’t mention Black Swan

“Yes, it was about ballet. Yes, it was a really big hit film. NO, it’s not remotely like reality, stop asking already!”


Male dancers: Ballet is definitely not girly…

If being able to effortlessly pick up another human, hold them above your head, launch them 15 feet across the stage before faultlessly executing five double tours is girly, then yeah, sure! You’re a real sugar plum fairy!


… but you do wear way more tights than the average joe

Fortunately, you have absolutely killer legs to show off (plus the jock straps are usually padded, so that’s a bonus!)


It takes decades of gruelling, toe-shattering discipline and commitment to master…

… but you wouldn’t give up being a bunhead for anything. You’re en pointe.

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