Why Study Ballet?

little girls ballet

Does Your Child Want to Take Ballet Lessons After School? It’s Probably a Good Idea

Kids’ ballet classes are filled with little girls, most dreaming of tutus and the lights on them as they pirouette gracefully across the stage. Dreams are great, but there are also some practical reasons why it’s smart for a girl – or a boy – to study ballet.

Ballet Helps Build Coordination, Flexibility, and Agility

Ballet is not a sport, but the study of ballet has many of the same physical benefits you would gain from participating in a sport. Ballerinas spend hours carefully positioning their bodies into many poses and then holding the poses, which helps the body gain flexibility and strength. Coordination comes into play not only from practice coordinating various body parts, but also in coordinating movements with music.

Ballet Helps Develop Grace

Grace isn’t a quality we talk much about today, but most of us will agree that it’s a fine attribute: who wouldn’t like to move more gracefully? The various ballet positions were designed specifically to showcase the human body at its finest. Think of the ballerina with her arms up – they’re framing her face. Ballerinas who in real life are rather short look tall and graceful as they flutter across the stage en pointe. Ballet class will teach your child good posture as she learns to keep her shoulders back, chin lifted, and toes pointed.

Ballet Teaches a Smattering of French

Parlez-vous francais? You will, a bit, if you study ballet. Just as most musical terms are Italian, most ballet terms are French (a carryover from the days of ballet’s founder, French King XIV). The standard ballet exercises are still called by their French names. Your child will learn that plie means to bend, pas de chat means dance of the cat, rond de jambe means circle of the leg – and that’s just a beginning.

Ballet Helps Kids Make Friends

Rarely is ballet studied privately. Usually classes are held for groups, and the children bond with each other through the time spent together in the studio and locker room. If your child is in a ballet performance, the performers will no doubt form connections during the rehearsals and performances themselves. Having a common interest (dance) brings people together, and it’s an excellent way for a child to make new friends.

Ballet is an Excellent Form of Exercise

It’s no accident that many football players study ballet in the off-season. Similarly to swimming, it benefits participants by helping them develop the elongated, lean muscles that most of us want. The isometric techniques used in ballet build long and strong muscles. It’s an excellent exercise form for children.

Ballet Develops Discipline

Most ballet studios are disciplined places. You won’t find lots of running and yelling, but rather children who are going through a set of long-ago developed routines of steps and positions. The process of learning these routines and coordinating them with music, then thanking the teacher and accompanist at the end of class, develops a discipline in children that will serve them well in all areas of life.

6 thoughts on “Why Study Ballet?

  1. I know practically nothing about ballet. When I was young I don’t know if I even knew it existed. Remember I lived on a farm with no television. It’s interesting that while musical terms are Italian, ballet terms are French. You point out the many positives from ballet lessons. I like the part about the dancer thanking their teacher and accompanist at the conclusion of their session.

  2. You made excellent points about ballet in this post, and I wholeheartedly agree with all of them!
    My granddaughter took ballet for 10 years and participated in The Nutcracker for 8 of them. She has always walked so gracefully, which is partly natural and a lot ballet! December was the highlight of the ballet season in the fall, because that was the time when Nutcracker comes alive due to the Christmas story so vividly involved with it. Also, the thrill of performing in the Civic Theater was a plus to be considered. At least one year the program was performed at Merillat Center at Huntington University. Good memories for our family!

  3. My niece studied ballet for many years and, as she grew, soon realized that she would be too tall to ever be a dancer beyond high school. She grew to be 6′ tall, today is in her 40’s and has the best posture, and walks with such grace compared with other tall women. She looks regal. I feel her grace and poise are due to all those years of studying ballet.

  4. LOL. This post brings back some pretty funny memories. My sister was in ballet, so, of course, I wanted to try it as well when I turned 5. It was a horrible disaster. I was tall for my age, ungraceful, a bit chunky (not the ballet looking body), and horridly inflexible–yes, even for 5 years old! I remember getting the feeling that my lovely, graceful ballet teacher did not think I belonged in the room with the rest of the little girls. Probably my own self-perceptions, but I don’t remember it being fun or joyful at all.

    Ballet is certainly a wonderful thing for some girls, but for others you can feel like a fish-out-of-water. Still living a graceless, cloddish life!

    I really admire women who were born to dance. It is lovely to behold and a wonderful skill. But not all of us fit that mold. 😉

  5. Do you think I could become graceful if I took ballet lessons? If so, I should try!

  6. Today I think the last is a miracle. When even libraries have climbing toys too many kids never learn any real self-control, let alone the hallowed “indoor voice” or to find fun in things that are not running and screaming.

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