Have you had the experience of talking about your ballet class to a friend only to have them look at you and ask why you would bother learning ballet? What do you say in that moment? It’s easy to be tongue-tied when questioned about something that is close to your heart. If it’s something that you just know but can’t articulate, here are some of our top reasons on “Why Do You Learn Ballet?”
Tuning into your creative self can be difficult in our fast paced lives, but creativity is like a muscle – the more you flex it, the stronger it grows. When you participate in a ballet class you are allowing your creativity to flex, and dance! Even if you don’t feel creative, your ballet teacher has devised a class full of enchaînements for you to re-imagine, and gifting it you in class gives you the safety to explore creativity without feeling exposed.
Your brain is one the most amazing structures on this planet! It’s programmed for use – to grow and be challenged. And if this can happen whilst your body is moving, even better! Research shows that for your brain health, happiness and staving off dementia, dancing is the key. There is something special about dancing – it requires thinking and coordination, and when music is a part of the combination, the brain’s reward centre is stimulated as well as the sensory and motor circuits. (https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/dancing-and-brain) This is far more enriching than a few Sudokus and a jog around the block!
Admittedly this one does tie into the point above, however, it takes into account the way ballet requires you to think and move. This is not thinking about dinner whilst doing your rond de jambe! Your thinking and moving must encompass the patterns set by your teacher, the timing and dynamics of the music, how your technique is used to create movements and anything that your teacher might shout at you along the way! If this sounds daunting, then it’s a good time to remind you that you already do this in every class, no matter what level you are at! And if you are thinking about starting ballet, now is the time. The amazing ability to manage all of this at once is a skill that can be learnt and shaped for you to use regardless of your age.
Artistry seems very similar to creativity, but it’s quite different. If creativity is the carving, then artistry is the essence. Artistry is how you feel when you move; it’s the beauty of the in-between moments that connects the steps, and connects you to your imaginary audience. The ballet studio is the place where you can stand with your head and eye-line lifted, a place to be brave and allow your individual style to shine. There are few other places in the world where you can wear your confidence, where you are encouraged to have presence and strength of focus, and where your movements are celebrated for their beauty. Feeling is how you put your unique stamp onto each enchaînement, and this feeling is artistry.
Deportment is such an old-fashioned word, yet it fits ballet perfectly. Ballet changes the way that you carry yourself. Your posture and movement in your everyday life will greatly benefit from the grace that you develop in your ballet class. Within weeks of starting ballet your teacher will notice a change in your stance and confidence, and if you pay attention, you will notice it too. Ballet creates connectivity in your body – a sense of cohesion through your movements. There is no part of you that can be lazy in a ballet class!
So the next time someone looks at you in disbelief when discussing your ballet classes, sock them with a great reason for why you learn ballet. And then tell them they should try it to.