Ballet has a great number of physical, mental and social benefits for participants. However, quite often people feel like if they haven't learned ballet as a child then they've somehow missed the boat.
City Academy ballet tutor, and leader of our Ballet Company, Georgia Heighway, writes about why taking up ballet in your spare time could just be the best thing you ever do. Georgia gives us her Top 8 Benefits of Ballet, which are just as true for complete beginners as they are for experienced pros.
1. Ballet Body
Great ballet dancers have a talent for making ballet look effortless, as if they are expending hardly any physical effort when they perform. But, of course, the graceful performance we see on stage doesn't tell the whole story! You needn't look beyond the physiques of professional ballet dancers to realise that ballet is fantastic physical training. And taking up ballet in your spare time is no different. At all levels, ballet engages the entire body from head to toe, with each exercise at the barre working different muscle groups. Studies consistently show that ballet training is as physically tough as a number of top level sports. At City Academy we did our own research project with the University of Brighton, which showed even an introductory class for complete beginners was an effective workout.
2. Communication Skills
One of the great things about seeing ballet performed is how effective it is at telling a story without words. This sensation of communication through movement isn't just a one-way street: it is just as exciting learning to use your body to communicate as it is for an audience on opening night. Learning ballet in your spare time is a fantastic creative outlet which helps to develop self-expression in new and exciting ways.
Ballet will help you get your posture on point, as well as en pointe!
3. Perfect that Posture
Many of us spend hour after hour slumped in front of screens, which can create bad postural habits with long-term effects. Ballet will help you get your posture on point, as well as en pointe! Ballet classes help to develop correct everyday posture, improving balance and coordination. Training requires a lengthened, vertical spine and square hips, and learning this stance increases awareness of the way you might stand, sit or walk in daily life.
4. Happy Hormones
In a ballet class when you are focused on the placement of your body and co-ordination with the music in the moment, you are able to escape from the stresses of everyday life. The intense physical workout of ballet releases endorphins giving participants a real feel good factor, during and after class. Additionally, classical music has been shown to have positive, calming influences on the brain and aids focus and concentration, all helping to create happy ballet dancers!
Ballet classes can form a supportive community, helping people feel comfortable to learn and grow together.
5. Social Dancing
Ballet classes are a great place to meet new people with similar interests and passions. As adults it can often seem we don't have many opportunities to learn something new from scratch and do something creative outside of our comfort zone. Doing this with other people who are all in the same boat and who are all looking for their own creative outlet is a great way to make new friends. Eventually ballet classes can form a supportive community, helping people feel comfortable to learn and grow together.
6. Creative Expression
Ballet is a fascinating art form with centuries of tradition and development (read our short history of ballet here). Once you've sparked an interest there are basically no limits on what you can learn, from great ballet works, to ballet dancers, awesome pieces of classical music, to great ballet composers and choreographers. Hey, you will even learn some of the French language...tres bon!
Ballet gives you an opportunity to perform as you move through elegant and graceful choreography, and this can do wonders for self-confidence.
Whether at the barre or dancing to a routine, Ballet gives you an opportunity to perform as you move through elegant and graceful choreography, and this can do wonders for self-confidence. Learning new and challenging techniques and then putting them into practice in front of your classmates or an audience gives you a real confidence boost.
Finally, and most importantly, learning ballet is great fun, which is one of the reasons this beautiful form has stood the test of time, and is still enjoyed by so many people to this day. Even as a beginner, learning to pick up the skills and movements, dancing to new styles of music, and meeting passionate, like-minded people is a real joy! It's definitely one of the reasons I love ballet and continue to teach it!
Find out more about Georgia and her City Academy classes, by viewing her full profile, here >>
If you have some ballet experience and are interested in performance, find out more about joining Georgia's Ballet Company here > >
If you are interested in giving ballet a try for the first time, see our Beginners Courses for adults, here > >