What is Ballet?
Graceful, expressive, powerful – Ballet is the formal dance from which all others evolved. Born centuries ago in the courts of Renaissance Italy, the classical form of Ballet was further developed in France and Russia to become the transcendent art-form we know today. Using highly controlled and defined movement, the Ballet tells a story, evokes emotions, and captures the imagination of the audience, wordlessly. The dancers’ fluid motions, breathtaking pirouettes, and gravity-defying leaps transport us into a dreamlike realm where words are simply unnecessary.
While the accomplished dancers we see on stage appear to be performing effortlessly, Ballet dancing at the professional level requires a great deal of rigorous training, strength, and flexibility. It takes years of practice and self-discipline to achieve that effortless appearance. A Ballet dancer must be able to make difficult and essentially unnatural movements and positions (like stretching their leg high above their head, for instance) appear perfectly natural. In fact, the strength and control required in Ballet has prompted more than one football coach to send their players to Ballet class for enhanced training! In addition to conquering the physical demands, Ballet dancers must also develop sharp mental skills, unwavering focus, a deep understanding of music, and an impeccable sense of rhythm and timing.
Studying Ballet is an excellent way to increase fitness, flexibility and body awareness – but it also imparts less tangible –but equally powerful– traits like self-discipline, control, persistence, poise, and confidence. Whether taking the first steps toward a dream of one day dancing professionally, or just looking for a fun and fulfilling fitness pursuit, Ballet has much to offer aspiring dancers of all ages. And no, not just for girls, either. Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov are two examples of men who achieved Rock Star status on the Ballet stage, and it seems to have worked out quite well for them!