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People started to think it was cute, and to encourage little girls to dream of being ballerinas, because apparently everyone wants their daughter to embark on a physically demanding career that will take over her life until her early 30s, at which point she will probably need to retire and rest her broken body. It’s no wonder ballet is so female-dominated, since you have to train from a very young age, and young boys are often mocked into quitting before being old enough to consider it seriously).
Why this happened is a mystery, but the overall effect is only to increase the spooky potential of the dance, because, as horror fans are well aware, if there’s one thing guaranteed to bring the creep factor, it’s little girls doing weird or unnatural things.
The potential for tense drama is only increased by the love ballet dancers have for their profession, which necessarily occupies most of their waking moments from their early teens.
The dangers that accompany any career which requires one’s body to be in peak condition at all times also offer plenty of scope for ramping up dramatic tension, which is why films like make their heroes’ love interests ballet dancers, causing the audience to bite their nails in anticipation of any kind of accident.
Ballet: A few ballet poses towards the beginning, though the only bit of sustained dancing is actually a Scottish jig.
Spook factor: The whole set-up in the mysterious room is fairly spooky, but to create added chills, throw in a clown (everybody hates a clown), the screeching sound of bagpipes warming up, and a ballet dancer.
Even adult ballet dancers are predominantly in their 20s and the majority of the corps de ballet are usually women, so the potential for stories of tragic, ethereally beautiful and eternally young heroines is increased exponentially.
This is possibly why many famous ballets themselves lean towards the eerie, the tragic or the fantastic, from ghost lovers ().
The set-up: Forced to go into an asylum for Daleks, Amy loses her protection against a nanogene cloud that will slowly convert her into a Dalek to serve its systems, as it has many before her. Spook factor: Amy sees a disparate group of people in a room, including a young girl in a white ballet costume, pirouetting at the back of the group. An insane Dalek that thinks it’s a young ballet dancer, twirling manically in the background of a scene. It could have been about a killer clown, or vampires, or a mummy, or witches, or any number of monsters, if the teenage heroes hadn’t chosen the zombie redneck torture family.
Not suitable for little girls: None of the film is, but the Sugarplum Fairy might make them particularly reluctant to go to ballet class.
The set-up: A Major finds himself at the bottom of a mysterious and apparently inescapable metallic room with high walls, accompanied by a clown, a homeless man, a bagpiper and a ballet dancer.
The set-up: Someone has summoned a demon who forces everyone to behave as if they were in a musical until some dance themselves to death; thinking it was Buffy’s sister Dawn, the demon has her kidnapped.
Ballet: A short routine in which Dawn tries to escape the grotesque demons through the medium of contemporary ballet.
Ballet can produce terrific highs from the adrenalin rush that accompanies live performance, alongside the crushing lows that accompany any injury; put it all together and you have the perfect recipe for an eerie sense of heightened reality.