16 Reasons Why You Should Dance Ballet
- Ballet is phenomenal exercise. There is a lot of cardio in ballet. It involves grace and line, control and athleticism. What are you doing to MOVE more this year? Why not try ballet?
- Ballet improves balance. Balance gets harder with age, leading to falling and injuries. Improving my balance through ballet has helped me on numerous occasions in life, not just in the studio. More about finding your balance…
- Ballet builds strength in the whole body, not just the legs… Just ask that dancer who’s been holding her arms in second position for half an hour! Her ams and back are getting a great workout! More about building strength for ballet…
- Ballet encourages flexibility. There is a lot of stretching inherent in ballet classes, and almost every class incorporates port de bras to release hamstrings and lengthen muscles. You can also stretch on your own. More about stretching…
- Ballet has taught me body awareness, perceiving the internal subtleties between stretching and injury, as well as the external spatial awareness of how to maneuver in a roomful of moving dancers. Also helpful when navigating the streets of New York. More on spatial awareness….
- Ballet taught me body alignment. For me, alignment has been a continual process of learning – reminding myself to lengthen my tailbone towards the floor and engage my lower belly, relaxing my front ribs and widening my back. Correct alignment gives the the impression dancers are taller and appear more self confident. I’ll take that! Good body alignment can also help prevent injuries. More on how we hold ourselves….
- Ballet taught me rhythm, timing, and musicality. Keeping a beat, moving to the music, sensing a rhythm change and modulating body timing to stay with the music are important skills not just for dancers but for singers, musicians, and actors — I think for everyone. It helps those of us who like to go social dancing too. I’ll never forget when I put on a Jay Z song in my ballet class, and everyone starting grooving out. They got the timing, and then we danced ballet to it and it was totally awesome! More about dancing to Jay Z….
- Ballet is Good for the Brain! The reason dancers are so smart is we are constantly building new neural pathways in our brains by learning tricky patterns and combinations. Those memory skills are key. Along with the benefits music and exercise do for the brain, dance can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. On that note, more about remembering combinations….
- Ballet has taught me discipline – to show up for myself and for my friends in class even when I’m sick or don’t feel like it. Even if I had a terrible day and feel awful, I always feel better after ballet class.
- Ballet taught me organization, and getting myself to class at the right place and time, and the wherewithal to bring my shoes, tights, leotard, warmup items, hair ties, pointe shoes, toe pads, bandaids, or how to be resourceful if I forget any of those items. I’m really not kidding when I tell students showing up is one of the hardest things to do.
- Ballet teaches me to be daring. Going across the floor can be nerve wracking! There I am dancing across the center of the room for better or worse for everyone in the room to see. I could succeed and fly, or fall on my face. It is a metaphor for life. More about dancing across the floor….
- Ballet taught me how to perform! I’ve always loved to perform since I was a tiny little kid running around the house making my family laugh, to my first play in Kindergarden. Ballet is a performance art – yes, there is technique – but it also incorporates acting, and emotion, and boldness, as well as subtlety, craft and nuance. Go see live ballet performances, they will help your dancing and are so inspiring! More about a recent performance that inspired me…
- Ballet taught me a sense of history. Ballet began in Italian courts in the 15th century and was brought to France by Catherine de Medici who became the Queen of France. I always liked the traditions of ballet, the courtliness, though it really isn’t a very old art form compared to other dance forms like Indian dance, African dance, and Hawaiian dance, that have ancient traditions. (Try our Contemporary Indian dance class on Thursday nights 7-8pm!)
- Ballet gave me great legs. Okay, it might have been my mother. But dancing ballet my whole life didn’t hurt.
- Ballet gave me a sense of grace. Grace and elegance are useful not just in the ballet studio, but in life – not just how we move, but how we greet the world. Port de bras, or carrying the arms, requires a lot of grace, and I am still working on them. More about finding grace…
- Ballet has given me great friends. The social aspect of dancing with other human beings is a phenomenal feeling. It must be rooted in our DNA, and I think we miss it as a society, we need it. More about Dancing with friends…
What did I miss? Why do you study ballet, or of you don’t, what would inspire you to start? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. And seriously, if you don’t study ballet yet, why not start?
Please see the Classes page for my current teaching schedule. I’d love to see you at the barre!