We often say that no matter what style of dance you want to learn (contemporary dance, Zumba, jazz, African dance, Cuban salsa, Bachata, Argentine tango, flamenco, rumba, Bollywood, etc.), you should start with a bit of ballet.
While this isn’t obligatory, the physical and mental benefits (as well as the artistry) of ballet can be transferred to other styles of dance. Whether you do classical ballet, contemporary ballet, a mix of both, ballet classes for fun, or an intensive ballet workshop at a ballet school or ballet academy, you’ll quickly start seeing the benefits ballet training: grace, elegance, flexibility, discipline, etc.
Ballet basically teaches you how to fly without actually flying. It can do wonders for both your body and mind and seems to help you defy gravity.
Nowadays, you’re not expected to break your back studying ballet (though it’s still challenging). You have to do your stretches and work on your coordination and balance.
Are you still wondering why you should learn ballet?
Here’s Superprof’s reasons why you should study ballet.
The dancer enters the stage and executes her performance to the letter. A ballerina owns the stage and fills the room with their presence, elegance, and grace.
Whether in a tutu or a ball gown, a ballerina is the essence of femininity and beauty. This is why so many little girls grow up aspiring to put on their slippers and tutus and become a principal or soloist.
Ballet can do wonders for your posture, your shoulders, and your arms. (Source: StockSnap)
Don’t worry if you’re no longer a little girl (or never have been), an adult ballet class is one of the best ways to improve your posture and become more graceful in everyday life.
In your very first ballet lessons, you’ll learn how to stand up straight and flex every muscle without risking injury. If you master ballet, you’ll have complete control over your body.
Ballet can even help people who have problems with their posture by working their abs and their back as well as correcting how they stand.
The way you hold your head, with your shoulders lowered, your shoulders tight, and your neck lose; you can recognise dancers by the way they position their head.
Then there’s their arms. Ballet dancers have tones arms and shoulders. Through regular exercise, ballet dancers have a different posture to those who don’t dance.
From your very first ballet tutorial, your tutor will have you working on your flexibility. While it might be intimidating to see other dancers who are more flexible than you, you’ll get there soon enough. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
Flexibility is an important part of ballet but it’s also useful in other styles of dance like modern dance, dance fitness, hip hop dance, Oriental dancing, and the waltz.
Make sure you wear clothes that won’t hinder your movement like leotards, leggings, tights, and ballet shoes.
Bit by bit, you’ll get stronger and more flexible. (Source: indy0333)
Warming up is an important part of ballet tutorials since you don’t want to risk hurting yourself. Bit by bit, you’ll feel yourself getting more and more flexible. You’ll get stronger and you’ll be able to lift your leg up higher.
While flexibility can take a long time, it doesn’t mean forcing your body into uncomfortable positions. That doesn’t mean that working on your flexibility is easy, it just means that you shouldn’t do yourself an injury.
Your body won’t always feel the same each day. Some days you’ll be able to touch your toes without any problems and other days you won’t even be able to reach your ankles. You have to listen to your body and never go beyond what you’re capable of doing so that you don’t pull a muscle.
Ballet is still a beautiful art form even if the dancer can’t put their foot behind their head. On the other hand, working on your flexibility regardless of your age is a great way to avoid tendinitis, arthritis, and rheumatism since you have to extensively warm up and stretch before each session.
Learning ballet usually comes with a strict regime. Regardless of your level, even if you’re just attending a taster sessions, you’ll usually need to respect a few rules:
Most of these rules work pretty well in everyday life, too. Dance classes are a great opportunity to improve yourself, relax, make friends, and work out (ballet is a sport in its own right).
You can still learn ballet if you didn’t as a child. (Source: sobima)
If you want to learn to dance, you have to remain disciplined. You need to focus 100% on your lessons in order to master everything from the 5 foot positions to the perfect pirouette. You’ll see problems arise if you stop paying attention during your lessons. However, if you put your all into each lesson, you’ll somehow feel exhausted and rejuvenated at the same time.
During dance workshops, private classes, or group classes, there’s a high probability that you’ll learn a dance routine.
Even if you’re new to dancing, you’ll have to learn how to memorise dance steps along to music. If you’ve already studied another style of dance, be it ballroom dancing, tap, or Latin dance, you’ll probably already have a good idea of how to do it.
This is why you need to be disciplined and concentrate fully during your lessons. Otherwise, you won’t remember half the stuff you’re supposed to.
The difficulty is still remembering the routine when your next class rolls around. It’s recommended that you regularly revise your routine so you don’t forget it. Don’t wait until the night before your next class, you’ve probably already forgotten some of the most important aspects of it.
Music is an important part of dancing. However, don’t worry if you’re not an expert in it, you’ll learn. You’ll learn how to move in time with the music and count along with the beat.
Don’t forget to listen to your teacher’s feedback so you can improve for your next lesson. Even a prima ballerina assoluta couldn’t learn their whole part in Swan Lake or Giselle in just one lesson! Don’t think of ballet as just a physical activity, it’s also a mental and artistic activity so make sure you warm up your brain, too!
You won’t learn all the intricacies of ballet in a day. (Source: pixel2013)
While you won’t need to lose as much weight as some professional dancers, ballet can help you lose weight. However, in some cases, you’ll gain weight since you’ll become more toned.
You’ll see this most noticeably in your legs. After a few sessions of pliés, you’ll start to see the muscles in your legs start to become firmer. However, ballet won’t bulk up your muscles like other sports do.
Forget pilates! With ballet, the end result is slender and toned legs, defined thighs, and powerful heels. The choreographed routines in ballet are great for conditioning your body and each time you participate in a ballet class, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your fitness goals.
Your rear will become more curved and your arms will become more defined. Ballet is the perfect sport for the feminine form.
If you’ve got an audition or rehearsal coming up, private ballet tutorials are a great way to focus on your goals as a ballet dancer. A tutor (who can act both as your ballet coach and artistic director) can help you work on a particular ballet technique (pointe technique, for example), choreograph a routine, or just give you the confidence you need before the big day.
If your goals aren’t as big as that, don’t worry, beginners can be taught the absolute basics of ballet before you move onto intermediate dance training further down the line.
You don’t need to be auditioning for the Nutcracker with the Royal Ballet or part of a dance company to work with a dance instructor.
Some people are too shy to do adult classes in groups or just don’t aspire to become the next George Balanchine (he founded the New York City Ballet and was a famous choreographer known as the father of American ballet). Working one-on-one with a private tutor is also beneficial when the class schedule at your local dance school doesn’t work for you.
When it comes to your dance education, you need to choose what works for you and while drop-ins are useful for those with irregular schedules, getting private tuition from the comfort of your own home can be even better (given you’ve got the space!).
Just make sure to pick the right tutor for you. If you’ve never danced a day in your life, you probably don’t need to pay a premium for an experienced choreographer from a national ballet company. However, if you’re an experienced dancer, absolute beginner adult ballet classes won’t be right for you.
Do your research before you put on your pointe shoes and make sure to take advantage of the fact that many ballet tutors offer free tuition for the first hour of instruction.
Read our article about the history of ballet!