ROCHESTER, Minn. - Even with a little bit of skepticism about going to a competition, Ballet Blake in Rochester has rounded up its three best dances and is headed to a large event in January.
“Ballet is really hard. If you want to become that successful dancer, you have to be able to put in a lot of time and effort,” said Asia Vang.
Their movements are fluid, slender limbs moving in graceful arcs. Vang, Rachel Rettmann, and Annika Chang are gearing up to head to the Youth America Grand Prix in January. It is the national ballet contest in Chicago.
“Each person presents a solo or a pas depending on what you want to do. We perform it and the judges critique us,” Rettmann said.
Daniel Blake and his wife have been coaching these standout ballerinas for seven years and says the judges are nitpicky.
“It comes down to the hair and the fingernails,” he said. “That’s just the ends of the lines there. We’re talking about the shaping of the feet, the fifth positions, the technique, and artistry.”
When Asia was asked if she was nervous about being on such a big stage, her answer was simple.
“The good nervous.”
Make no mistake about it, these nimble, energetic dancers are athletes. Moving with such grace takes both athleticism and skill.
Rettmann says just like other sports, there’s always something to improve on.
“It’s actually more similar than most people might think. There’s always something for us to work on. We’re always seeking perfection even though there’s not really such a thing as perfection in ballet. You’re always striving to do more.”
But when everything finally comes together in perfect harmony, there is no better feeling.
“It takes a lot of work to create one beautiful dance and once you put that work into it, it’s just joy pretty much,” Vang added.
The Youth America Grand Prix is Jan. 17-20.