I always try to stay active and healthy, so I’ve tried lots of different workouts in my lifetime. But nothing ever compares to ballet. I’m by no means a pro, but I’ve been taking lessons since I was little and I’ve danced at lots of different studios. Over the years I’ve danced at the National Ballet School’s Associates Program, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s summer program, and I was lucky enough to dance a teensy part in the battle scene of the National Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker in 2008.
Since I started university, I’ve been attending classes less and less. I find committing to a pre-paid amount of classes makes it easier to stick to it, while drop-in classes make it easier to laze out and stay home because you haven’t already paid for the class in advance.
However, I still try to attend the odd drop-in class, and every time I do I remember why I love it so much. It makes me question why I ever let myself fall off the ballet bandwagon. There are a million reasons why I love ballet, but below is a list of just a few of them.
1. It’s HARD!
This sounds obvious, but too many people view ballet as an easy, low-intensity activity. This could not be less true! While dancing ballet, you’re turning your legs out and squeezing all your muscles all while making it look effortless and beautiful. Oh, and don’t forget you’re dancing on the tips of your toes in pointe shoes. I always leave class feeling exhausted and drenched in sweat, which sounds awful but is such a rewarding feeling. I also love the way ballet lengthens and tones the muscles, streamlining your figure instead of bulking it up. Ballet dancers truly do have the most beautiful bodies!
2. It’s a workout for the mind.
Not only is ballet amazing for your body, it’s also a great workout for the mind. In addition to pushing your body to its physical limit, you’re also remembering complex choreography and keeping in time with the music. Some of the most fun workouts I’ve had haven’t felt like workouts because you’re not focusing on how much your legs and feet hurt, you’re focusing on what move is coming next in the combination. When you finally get that routine right, it really is the most rewarding feeling. I truly believe professional dancers are some of the smartest and well-rounded people out there.
3. It’s fun!
Sometimes I lack motivation to visit the gym or run on a treadmill because it’s just no fun! To me, going to ballet class doesn’t feel like a dreaded task or an item to check off a to-do list. It’s just pure, unadulterated fun. That’s not to say it’s not extremely difficult and regimented, because it totally is, and you have to be amazingly disciplined to do it. But I still find ballet way more fun than running or lifting weights. Performing a dance routine to a beautiful piece of music is a treat for the soul, not just the body.
4. It’s art.
Before anything else, ballet is an art form. Watching a ballet really makes me feel something, and dancing in one is no different. Art is one of the things that makes life worth living, and ballet is no exception to this. As I said before, ballet feeds the soul, not just the mind or the body, which is why I think it’s such a valuable art form.
There are tons of ballet-inspired workouts you can find online. If you haven’t already, try one out! What do you have to lose?