Ballet dancer Claudia Suárez (pictured centre above) tells us why she admires the corps de ballet…
Every time someone asks me if I want to go to a bigger company and be a successful dancer, I always answer with a “Yes”, but I follow that up with, “But I want to go to the Corps de Ballet.”
Some people may take corps as a low position to be in, but in fact it is low, if not the lowest rank in a company pyramid. Yes, you are not in centre-stage, you are not dancing a variation or solo, and of course, you are not the character a story revolves around.
But the corps is a significant in the story. Can you imagine a Don Quixote without the town people? A Giselle with no Willis more than Myrtha? A Nutcracker without…everyone but Clara, the Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy?
The truth is that the corps de ballet works tirelessly. A principal role may be extremely harder technically, but dealing with dancing together and in line, standing immobile during the second act of Swan Lake, and dance every single performance day is also a hard deal. And I admire that challenging position. Even if I am the Shade #32 in La Bayadère.
Whenever I am assigned a soloist part, I greatly appreciate it and work hard to get everything right on stage. However, I pretty much prefer being in the corps, at least at this stage in my young career and training. And I know that every dancer in the corps has a character and a story too. One cannot only think that the dancers are just there ‘to fill up the stage.’
During my young career, nothing compares to the feeling when teamwork comes together. The most intense rehearsals I have ever had were dancing in the corps, repeating things numerously, trying to be together, have the same arms and heads, trying to get the right counts of music and follow whoever I have in the front, back, and either side of me.
The Corps de Ballet is a group to admire, in every company in the world. Even if they are in the far back, the company directors and ballet masters work tirelessly with them to achieve the perfect unison; one big body composed of unique dancers. They become the stage’s spine, and without them, the ballet would look empty.
Who knows if I am going to become a soloist or principal dancer? What I know for sure, is that I do want to spend a long time in the corps. Would you accept the challenge and join me in the lines?