Editor’s Blog – I’ve fallen in love with a foot!
This week I spent an afternoon watching the Nederlands Dans Theater 1 ballet class. I was sat in the studio on a sofa next to a black grand piano where the pianist accompanied the ballet mistress’ exercises. In the middle of the studio 4 barres were locked together to form a square, with dancers both on the outside and inside of the cube, surrounded by the regular barres along the walls.
The class was full of famous names: Ema Yuasa, Lydia Bustinduy, Myrthe van Opstal, Anne Jung, Chloé Albaret, Brett Conway, Roger Van der Poel, Marne van Opstal, Bastien Zorzetto, Danielle Rowe, Sarah Reynolds many more.
What struck me was the quality of the male dancers. Whilst we’re used to seeing hyper flexible, perfectly turned out female dancers, seeing male dancers stretch their legs to their ears and beyond, full centre splits, grand battement and développés matching the girls is simply spellbinding. Male dancers these days have set standards so high, they are just as flexible and graceful as their female counterparts.
As the NDT1 class got started the incredible Portuguese and Dutch dancer Roger Van der Poel took his place using the grande piano as his barre. He began class barefoot and I sat only inches from his amazing cou de pied.
Watching his relevé was like watching a mechanical structure, each bone, tendon and joint exposed, raw, stripped to the core. His toes create a perfectly flat platform for his 90 degrees relevé supporting his entire body.
When he points his foot, his arch is so high his toes almost back under themselves. Roger Van der Poel is an incredible dancer, so flexible, graceful, so in control of his body, watching him in class is like watching a piece of engineering warming up with each plié, relevé and tendu. You can feel the power being generated.
I’m so in love with his feet and would love to photograph them!