Ballet is for the Not so Young
Ballet is for everyone. I am not so young and I do ballet. This morning I got up nice and early (for all those who know me well, please read – dragged myself out of bed in a semi-comatose state ) made myself suitable for human interaction with coffee and went to dance to take some ladies for a private ballet class. Why the early morning? These ladies both work in their respective businesses and during the day doesn’t suit them. Dance is a sacrifice, but something worth giving up sleep for! Just don’t speak to me before coffee! Ballet is great anytime of day.
It is a Mum and daughter taking the class, the daughter has danced when she was young, but for only a short time and Mum’s claim to fame is that she starred as a boy in a primary school production of The Nutcracker (about 50 years ago according to her daughter) .
I am teaching them the basics of ballet, simple steps, balance, control and posture. We will eventually move onto triple pirouettes and grand jetes! (Next week maybe).
Both the ladies are fit and exercise, but have found that ballet uses muscles you didn’t know you even had.
I have taught adult classes over the years for those who have danced before and for those who always wanted to, but never got the chance. Dance is great for the brain, as well as the body. It makes you feel good, makes you happy. You don’t have to want to be a professional to get something out of ballet. You can be any age, though starting early is a great idea.
I think everyone should do ballet, but I could be a little biased. I hear all the time “My daughter doesn’t have a ballet body” or my daughter is a bit clumsy or other unflattering adjectives. Ballet is for everybody, no matter what shape or size you are. If you have a child who is a little un-co, ballet is for them. If you have a child that isn’t a stick figure, ballet is still something they can do. Ballet teaches so much more than just steps. It teaches great life skills you can use no matter what you do when you grow up.
Boys Should Dance
Boys don’t dance! Well, they should! If for no other reason, when a boy is 15 at dance, surrounded by 30 plus teenaged girls and he is the only boy!! Do I really need to explain.. .Boys like to dance and it is great for them. It helps with co-ordination, posture, confidence. I remember hearing about a football team, a professional Rugby League team, who were made to do ballet classes to help them with moving on the field. In particular, to teach them how to change direction quickly and without injury.
It takes strength to be a male dancer. It takes courage too. Even in this era of acceptance, boys still have to face those who judge and make assumptions. Boys who dance, have a great support group – their follow dancers. Don’t mess with a boy who dances, their dance friends can kick! (Not that dancers would EVER resort to physical violence!!!!)
The Benefits of doing Ballet
It obviously teaches students how to stand up tall. You can tell someone learns ballet just by looking at the way they hold themselves. No matter how old you are, great posture is something that will help you. Great posture, makes strong muscles and has lots of health benefits. Those who don’t have great posture have constant pain and other dramas later in life. (Not a health expert though).
Co-ordination of students will improve. How many of you can do one thing with your legs and feet, another thing with your arms, looking at the correct spot with your head, count the music, remember the steps and make it look like it as easy as breathing – that’s ballet.
Ballet is a discipline. Ballet students learn to do as they are asked, without question. They learn that they need to be able to concentrate and think about where their arms, legs, head and body are going, in time to the music. Ballet students learn that once is never going to be enough, repetition is essential. Do it again is a common phrase, that they will learn .
Ballet and Hard work Go Together
Ballet teaches you that only hard work will get you to where you want to be. There are those who have natural talent, but these students are very often surpassed by those who are maybe not so talented, but who try and push themselves to improve. I feel that this lesson is so important and kids of today, in a society where you get a ribbon, just for turning up, is something that isn’t very common anymore. Kids who get everything handed to them, with out having to do something for it, think that this is how life is. Well it isn’t and they will get a very rude shock when they have a job and find out that the real world isn’t like that at all.
Dancers have Respect and Manners
Ballet teaches us that you have a heir achy, those above you are to be respected and obeyed. Students have other students who have danced longer than them to look up to. Students, no matter their age and experience, must respect their student teachers and teachers. Respect for follow students is an important part of ballet. Where you stand in class, how you move around the room during class and how you conduct yourself before, during and at the end of classes reflects this respect.
Students Always say Thank You
Dancers will always curtsey or bow at the end of class. This, I tell my students is a very old tradition. You are saying thank you, to your teacher for taking the time to teach me today. For giving me the tools to make me a better dancer. At the end of performances, dancers curtsey or bow to the audience. This is to say thank you for coming to watch me today, for giving me someone to dance for.
Ballet teaches us manners. So many kids have seemed to not been taught “Thank you” & “Please”.
Dancers are polite and have manners. It doesn’t take much to be polite, but will leave a great impression on your fellow humans if you are.
Ballet Makes You Feel Good
It feels wonderful, it can make you feel wonderful. You can be a swan, a mermaid, a bird or whatever you like. You hear the music and you can’t help but move. It is graceful and elegant. Beautiful to watch. Ballet makes you feel beautiful. Anyone can feel beautiful when they dance.
Not everyone is going to be a Prima Ballerina, but everyone can learn ballet and all that involves. Be a better person, do ballet, especially when those around you say you shouldn’t.