Ballet is an artistic dance form known for its grace, elegance, and precision. It’s also known as a highly competitive and extremely disciplined professional pursuit. But what about practising ballet without any lofty ambitions, perhaps when we’re a little bit older, or just for the fun of it?
As it turns out, ballet as an active pastime can be incredibly rewarding and life-enhancing. And there’s no need to go to dance school to reap the benefits. Here’s what it can do for you, no matter who you are or how old. . .
Ballet promotes better posture
Postural alignment, stance, and awareness of physical movements. These are all integral aspects of ballet practise, and will serve to create better posture in participants.
This will, in turn, carry over to your everyday life. And you’ll find that the more you practise, the more general awareness you’ll develop towards the way you sit, stand, and move at home and at work.
Ballet sounds hard, looks hard, and is hard. And some people might be put off by that. But by actively practising ballet, you’ll overcome your initial doubts and worries, and find that it’s not actually impossible. When this happens, and as your ability increases, your self-confidence will increase too.
Ballet also teaches poise, and this in itself will serve as a confidence booster. You’ll find yourself moving, walking, and standing more like a ballet dancer each day, and you’ll feel great about it!
As well as this, practising ballet can be particularly beneficial to those who suffer from bouts of dizziness. It has been shown that, by improving balance, ballet can actually decrease sensations of dizziness. This, in turn, will drastically increase confidence levels in anyone who worries about performing day-to-day activities from fear of becoming dizzy and falling.
Just like yoga, there’s a lot of stretching in ballet. And the more you practise, the more flexible you will become.
There are lots of health benefits associated with flexibility alone, such as reduced back pain and increased blood flow. Which is especially good news for older exercisers.
Improves cognitive function
Ballet, like other forms of dance, combats certain mental impairments associated with ageing, such as dementia. And according to some researchers, the reason behind this reduced risk is the combination of mental effort and social interaction required in dancing. It is also thought that dancing can be therapeutic for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Not only this, but ballet improves balance and coordination, both of which help to strengthen the link between mind and body. And focussing on movement, proper technique, and rhythm, all at the same time, is a great way to engage your mind in a physical practise.
The strong focus on hand movements and leg and feet placement in ballet forces dancers to concentrate. This concentration brings you into the present moment, making your body the focal point of your attention. This tuning-in to a single activity will quiet your mind, increase your concentration, eliminate distractions, and, therefore, reduce feelings of stress.
In this way, ballet is a very mindful exercise. It causes you to be fully present in the exercise and completely forget about the outside world.
To the barre!
Whether you’ve practised in the past or are a complete newbie, you don’t need to know your pirouette from your pas to enjoy our adult ballet classes at Jesmond Pool. Why not come along to a session and give it a try?