— written by Aditya Vettikunnel
So, you wanna learn to dance? I’m sure you are very excited to begin, but might be wondering to yourself, “why do I have to start with learning ballet? Why not get to the good stuff immediately and bust out those music video moves?”
Well, the short answer is that you’ll become an incredibly trained & talented dancer by learning ballet, but the long one is this--
Ballet is the Basic Foundation of Dance
The skills you learn in ballet are directly transferable to other dance styles. The movements in modern, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap & hip-hop derive from the five positions of the feet created in ballet. Most of the movements created originally in ballet are used in those other dance styles. To master those positions and movements you must take ballet and then apply it to the other styles.
Other forms of dance are really the fruits that come from the tree of ballet. So before we get to the fruits, we gotta plant and water the tree, right?
Even attempting to do the perfect twirl in line with the rhythm of classical music can be a challenge without an intense attention to detail. Dancing in the art form of ballet will help you develop that keen sense of perception to both your own body and the rhythm of the music. Once you hone your skills in ballet, it becomes much easier to time your moves for precise lines in jazz, hip-hop, and many other dance styles!
What happens to a lot of people who start to dance without a good foundation is that they inevitably hit a wall. It happened to me. Even though my mind could visualize the movement, the routine was too advanced for my body to handle, so I was forced to make my dance routine simpler. There is a level of musicality, posture, & alignment that is being developed in ballet that will help you a lot when you start imitating moves from the newest & latest songs, and even coming up with some of your own dance moves.
A foundation in ballet is an important step in the journey of any dancer! And a great place to start learning would be at the best dance studio near you (ahem, MOVE — Dance Academy)
Ballet Improves Your Flexibility
Without good conditioning, you will hit your natural limit of flexibility. If you lack flexibility, over the years, your body will start to suffer. People with poor flexibility are prone to injuries involving the bones, muscles, joints, pulled ligaments, strained muscles, and even fractured bones. But, if you continue training your body to become more flexible, then you can prevent all of these things from happening to you.
Have you ever seen a dancer hold her leg up next to her ear?
Well, now you have.
Flexibility is crucial for all dancers, it’s one of the greatest traits & skills a dancer must have. This level of flexibility can be attained in ballet class. Ballet specifically teaches dancers how to rotate the femur in the hip socket, combined with specific placement of the pelvis which is what allows the leg to rise above hip level and awe the people watching your performance.
Flexibility doesn’t just help you make flashy moves in your dance performances, it has many positive effects on your whole body. Improving your flexibility makes your body more limber, keeping your muscles and joints in a good range of motion (which is super important for your overall health & well being), reduces any tightness in your body, and reduces the risk of injuries and soreness.
Practice ballet and you will be flexible & limber till old age
Ballet Builds Friendships & Improves Your Social Skills
I know a lot of parents right now who are worried about the social life of their children. What with the constant interactions kids are having with the phone and internet 24/7, a lot of them are having trouble developing those social skills. Ballet class is a great way to introduce your kids to a group of other kids (roughly the same age) who are trying their best to learn together, grow together, and dance together. Ballet really encourages communication & more direct face to face interaction because kids now have to coordinate dance moves with each other, and really work as a team to come up with a dance routine they can all be proud of. It also takes a lot of pressure off from just meeting friends in an academic setting, and really allows the kids to be creative & have fun afterschool.
It’s not always the case that kids today get to meet the same group of friends everyday. The current public school system often moves kids from one grade to the next, many times changing the whole roster of the class, so it’s very difficult to get to really build deep and long lasting friendships, because the friend you made today in class, might not be there with you next year or the year after. Getting into that ballet class with the same group of awesome boys and girls time after time, year after year, really fosters and builds that sense of lasting friendship.
One of my cousins met her best friends in ballet class when they were both 7, and the two are absolutely inseparable now even after graduating high school.
Ballet Teaches Your Body Rhythm
Let me tell you an awkward but funny story
A couple of years ago, I was at a wedding. There was a great selection of music playing, all the young people were up on the stage dancing, ready to get their groove on. And me, personally having no training whatsoever in ballet or any formal dance, decided, “Hey, this music is dope, I have no idea how to dance, but let’s give it a go”. So off I went to dance. I really had a great time. I threw whatever moves I thought were cool or felt matched the song being played, and really thought like I had done the best job ever.
Looking back at the wedding footage, my heart almost popped out of my chest.
I was way off. My sense of rhythm didn’t match the music being played at all. Sometimes, my dance moves were in line with the beat of the song, but most of the time I was adding all this extra movement and it just looked like I didn’t know what I was doing. I had a great time dancing, but after seeing the footage I came to realize that other people had a better sense of rhythm & musicality, and were able to move their body in accordance to the music, complementing the music with their dance, and never taking away from it like I had with all my jerky moves. Some people naturally have a good understanding of rhythm, but even if you don’t, ballet can help train you to develop it. Just because you don’t have a good sense of rhythm, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn dance. The more training you get, the better your sense of rhythm and music gets.
Everyone can hear a song, but few people are able to show the song physically through their body. Musicality is the ability dancers develop to express a particular musical piece through their body by moving a certain way. It’s almost like watching someone become one with the music. Dancing to the beat, moving to the music, sensing a change in rhythm, and attuning your body’s timing to stay with the pace of the music are important skills not just for dancers, but for singers, musicians, actors, and anybody who likes to have a good time at a party. A great perk of learning ballet, is that you are training your body to understand music and rhythm.
Our Ballet studio is the best place to learn.