In an effort to improve my true love, standard, I took a ballet class the other day, and want to share my reflections. One key difference that stood out between ballroom and the other forms: the partner. Ballet is centered on the dancer. There is choreography, but ultimately it is focused on the person. At its highest level, imagine Baryshnikov floating across the floor; or Anna Pavlova performing dying swan. This is the pinnacle of the art. It is a more individualistic art form. In contrast, ballroom is centered on the couple. Even at a comp, the emcee will announce "couples take the floor." Some say that ballet is considered by some to be the most refined form of movement; the pinnacle of dance. From the perspective of the dancer, it definitely requires a high level of conditioning, including strength, endurance, and flexibility. I must admit that the technical skill required in ballet appears to exceed that of ballroom. I could try to argue that the technique in standard and latin is equal, or even superior, but it is a tough argument. One thing I do not like is pointe. My friend's cousin just developed a degenerative disorder from ballet. She was at a very high level, and used to tie her shoes so tightly that she couldn't feel her feet. She may lose the ability to walk, and she is in her 30's. Although I can see how some would love ballet, the lack of a partner was a real turn-off for me. There is no connection, no lead/follow, etc. An entire dimension of dance is missing. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In my eyes, there is more beauty in Mirko Gozzoli and Alessia Betti performing a waltz than a Baryshnikov solo.