The entire ballet, dance, and fine arts community has exploded in rapid response to Good Morning America host Lara Spencer. During one show, she addressed Prince George’s school curriculum, which included ballet. She burst out in laughter saying, “Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you, Prince William: we’ll see how long that lasts.” Because of this simple comment, dancers and choreographers have rebuked Spencer’s remark in defense of Prince George, saying males should have the liberty to take ballet without public criticism. Now, throughout all this drama, many readers and viewers may be wondering, what are the benefits of ballet? Is it beneficial to our health? Is it even challenging? These are very common and understandable questions to come from an individual who has never taken dance before. So, here are a few of the benefits of ballet.
Flexibility: While this may seem obvious to some people, it should not be taken lightly. Having flexible muscles aids in keeping an individual’s bones aligned, which allow the muscles, joints, ligaments, and vital organs to work properly. Likewise, because of my increasing flexibility, I feel more relaxed and open compared to my years after stopping.
Physical Endurance: Dance requires a lot of energy from the dancer. Between jumping, standing on our toes, balancing, and all the while making it look graceful, it takes a lot of endurance to make it look easy to the audience. Also, ballet is cardiovascular, which releases endorphins that result in satisfaction and pain tolerance. This can aid the individual in schoolwork, chores, and daily tasks by the release of stress and toxins.
Cognitive Efficiency: This is a benefit that might confuse people, but dance really helps brain activity and the ability to memorize concepts faster. This is due to the fact that dancers are required and expected to pick up choreography at an accelerated pace. Also, dancers learn to pay attention to the rhythm of the music in order to stay on beat. While this might seem hard at first, I found myself more active mentally and able to pick up academic concepts faster due to my memory being exercised by dance.
Balance: While this skill may seem like an obvious trait a person possesses when taking ballet, it is very difficult to achieve. Having a center of balance not only requires all your muscles to activate but also helps with posture since having a good center of balance requires a dancer to elongate themselves through the movements. Furthermore, it helps individuals have control over their movements and decrease the chances of injury.
Finally, dance is beneficial for all ages and genders because of its physical and mental benefits. A variety of athletes take ballet specifically in order to obtain a center of balance and strengthen their legs in order to move quickly. For example, it allows football players to maintain balance when running, jumping, and tackling. But most importantly, dance gives an individual confidence and the ability to feel in sync with music and God.