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Cross-Training Benefits: Ballet Classes

When we went to school to earn a degree, we took a variety of courses, from a variety of teachers; the result was a fairly well-rounded understanding of our career of choice. Strange then, that so many of us expect to excel in dancing by focusing all our time on a single dance style, taught by a single instructor.

Cross-training introduces us to new forms of movement, which we can incorporate into our favourite dance style. It also teaches us new ways to understand old movements, so we can more easily grasp and apply them. Finally, you may find another form of dance better fits the reasons why you dance in the first place!

This month, we’re taking a look at a number of different dance styles, and what each one can bring to our movement. Let’s start with ballet classes.

P.S. Assuming you aren’t planning to become principal dancer somewhere, this dance IS accessible to anyone – and the benefits below apply either way.

1. Flexibility.

We’ve all sign pictures of ballet dancers doing vertical splits like it’s nothing, and even a few ballet classes can greatly increase your range of motion.

2. Strength.

Flexibility without strength is an injury waiting to happen. This isn’t about “bulking up” – ballet classes strengthen your smaller intrinsic muscles, which help control and support your movements.

3. Precision.

The opposite of precise is sloppy, and no dancer wants to be sloppy. The detailed instructions in ballet classes can be frustrating at times, but the fine motor control it teaches you is one of the most useful skills you can learn.

4. Poise.

Good poise is crucial to maintaining one’s centre of gravity, while moving through tricky patterns. This one is not only essential to excelling in your ballet classes, but ballroom classes as well.

5. Isolation.

One of ballet’s unique challenges is learning to isolate and activate specific muscles to achieve the desired effect. This internal familiarity puts you in good stead to understand how to execute different movements more quickly.

6. Grace.

Ballet is a beautiful dance, alternately delicate, powerful, or anywhere in between. Understanding the kinds of movements associated with each helps you become a better storyteller on stage.

Currently, Emily Tench teaches beginner ballet classes every Monday at 7:30pm. For more information on this and other classes. Click here.


About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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