Ballet is having a resurgence, and it is no longer perceived as being only "for little girls" or highly trained professionals. Beyond the dance category itself, ballet-influenced workouts, like Barre classes, are becoming increasingly popular. Often available Pilates studios, these iconic workouts are becoming a crowd-favourite on a global scale, and for a good reason. Offering controlled, smooth, precise movements, ballet is giving rise to exercises that provide efficient muscle workouts, all the while benefiting the mind.
Dance schools have beginners classes for adults of all ages and skill levels. While adults aren’t necessarily lacing up their pointe shoes to become the next Prima Ballerina, they are commonly doing it for fitness and fun. It seems that mainstream culture is finally embracing this dance genre as a workout that has proven benefits across the board. Here's why.
The foundation for ballet is built on precise movements that, to be appropriately executed, need a level of coordination. To do it effectively, you need to have a base level of flexibility and good movement.
Studies have shown that people with extensive ballet training performed balancing and coordination activities at a much higher level than those with no ballet experience whatsoever, so investing in quality classes can help enhance your abilities in this area.
But it's not just longtime ballet professionals who benefit from the coordination skills garnered from this form of dance. For instance, posture and balance can be improved within weeks of starting a class, no matter your skill level.
Ballet is, at its core, exercise. Working out releases endorphins that make you feel happy. Beyond this, ballet benefits you more than running on a treadmill for an hour.
In other cases, ballet has assisted those hospitalised with anxiety disorders to reduce their symptoms, more so than gym cardio classes Additionally, cardiac rehab patients have noted greater heart benefits after a dance class, over a cardio-orientated one.
- Sense of community
While the stereotypical ballerina movie shows a hostile environment where everyone is stressed out or angry, the reality of a ballet class is much different. While there are solo approaches, ballet is often a group activity.
No matter your age, being social and engaging in a group activity and having a common interest with others does wonders for your levels of happiness and builds a sense of community. Moreover, the feeling of belonging and acceptance in a community through social participation has been linked to physical and mental wellbeing, and a ballet class offers the perfect environment for this to flourish.
- Build self-esteem and confidence
Along with gaining a feeling of acceptance, the sheer nature of practising ballet for an extended amount of time can improve confidence and self-esteem, particularly in teenage girls. They say practice makes perfect and they are not wrong. The longer you work at building a new skill – like ballet – the better you will become in your ability to perform.
The advantages ballet has over other forms of exercise are wide and many. From gaining better levels of confidence, through to enhancing your coordination and flexibility – choosing this form of dance can give you an all-round beneficial approach to your physical and mental health.