Ballet is one of the oldest and most beautiful art forms in our society — both athletic and picturesque. From pirouettes to arabesques, it is more of a sport than most people originally think. The challenging movements are generated by massive amounts of power that only someone with lean, sturdy muscles can produce. The graceful twists and turns are created by those agile enough to isolate their movements into small, yet powerful efforts.

Although beloved for hundreds of years, ballet has crept into mainstream pop culture in recent years. Most recently, ballet dancer Sergei Polunin gave us his visual interpretation of the Grammy-nominated hit “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. The choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi is both dark and poetic, drastically contrasting against the luminous, empty space the dance takes place in. Showcasing the beauty and grace of ballet, viewers experience an emotional response that can only be evoked through something as expressive as this.  

Sergei Polunin, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle from David LaChapelle Studio on Vimeo.

And who could forget 2010’s “Black Swan,” when a dark depiction of ballet became a focus  after the film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won one for Natalie Portman’s jaw-dropping performance. Her eerie dance performance (below) and highly acclaimed film brought light to the world of ballet.

Switching gears, ballet stepped away from it’s artistic roots in film and music, and towards a more athletic viewpoint in Under Armours recent advertisement showcasing Misty Copeland, an American Ballet Theatre soloist. She’s balancing on pointe shoes as the camera pans over her and a ballet school rejection letter is read by a woman’s voice in the background. She then goes on to disprove the disheartening letter, in a breathtaking routine accross a dimly lit stage. 

Under Armour is notorious for their traditionally masculine based brand, so this commercial was essentially groundbreaking for the brand. Promoting the “I Will What I Want” campaign to “create a movement of WILL thru innovation and action,” Copeland’s video showcased the strength, power and athleticism behind ballet.

In the fashion world, ballerinas have been increasingly recruited as fashion models not only due to their crazy-toned physiques, but their incredible abiliites too. Splendid visuals are created using different poses against a gorgeous back drop, showcasing not only the ballerina’s talent, but the beauty behind the work as well. Take, for example, Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, who posed in a Norma Kalali swimwear shoot in Maui to promote the brand’s new line.

Image courtesy of instagram.

To top it off, television has picked up on the publics’ unwavering draw to ballet. With shows like “Breaking Pointe” on The CW, and “Bunheads” on ABC Family, the magnificance of ballet is brought to viewers’ conciousness. Although, both have been cancelled, each show stirred a newfound appreciation for the art of ballet among their audiences. 

Read More: 4 Ballet-Inspired Moves to Improve Posture 

Read More: 5 Ballet-Inspired Moves to Tone and Tighten the Inner Thighs