How Ballet Can Shape Your Life!

When you hear the word ‘dance’, the first thing that comes to mind is invariably freedom and music. When you’re dancing, you enter into a magical, fantasy world where all your thoughts, fears, anxieties, and desires are made, played and woven in with the tapestry of the music. Essentially, all people love dancing and expressing their passions freely. In a way, all of life is a dance with important dates such as births and weddings being celebrated with some mode of dance. Ballet dancing exercises memory, strengthens and increases self-confidence and self-esteem as you learn to fine tune your bodily control and movement. Read on for How Ballet Can Shape Your Life!

Me: The 4 year-old ballet student

I can still hear the words of my teacher in my ears “are we ready girls?”, before going through the count…5, 6, 7, 8…I was 4 years-old, and I remember complaining, saying to my friend,“I can’t repeat this again, I’m really tired!” The upper part of my body was in pain and as I stood, feeling terrible stiffness and panting for breath, I wondered how I could get back into this choreographed routine without collapsing.

“Everybody ready, we’ll start on the count of 8 ” says the teacher as her hand goes to press the play button. My mind protests, “No! I can’t do it again!” I want to scream with all my power, but this time I’m quiet, I’m ready…The well-known music begins to play and all the girls around me are silent and ready, waiting for the teacher’s signal. …5, 6, 7, 8…go!  Almost mechanically, my legs begin to move, performing with great precision, the steps I had rehearsed so many times in the past. My body is a protest, but the flow of dance and music distract it from quitting, somehow able to ignore the tugging pains in its muscles and tired limbs. I just let go, and the music and magic of dance take over whilst I enjoy the sheer feeling of presence.

Ballet takes over

So, from the age of four, I danced twice-a-week, and when I got home I would practice at night repeating the exercises I’d learned at class in order to be well-prepared for the next lesson. As a dancer, I need precision movement, constant training and good technique to be able to tell people a story using only my body without words. It’s difficult, but at the same time, something creative and unique, and utterly rewarding because, in the scene, you have the chance to express the signature of your soul.

I remember attending a friend’s performance when I was 7 years-old and her teacher said at the beginning of the show, “when you dance in that place of your soul expression, dance becomes a form of art. You have to be physically and mentally ready and the result is a performance that is beautiful and abstract, like art”.

These words of the ballet teacher inspired me and since then, dance has become a part of my everyday life and an exploration of aspects of myself that I did not know.

Virtues of Ballet

Dance requires a high degree of strength and exactitude in motion but it can also be extremely artistic as it requires the dancer to get creative and develop their own signature choreography.

Dance also contributes to shaping and developing your personality. Other benefits of dancing are that it helps you connect with others; create new friends, makes you more social, uplifts you mentally because of the overall enlivening psycho-physical effect. It also results in superior balance, stress and depression reduction, as well as reducing the risk of dementia.

Many people today may try to convince you that dancing is just a hobby with a limited shelf life and that it’s not an activity to be taken seriously. My advice? Ignore them, because they cannot sense what amazing feelings dance can bring and the skill set it develops. Make dance a part of your life, it can only do you good. Don’t forget the annual world celebration of dance; UNESCO World Dance Day which falls on April 29th, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810) widely considered the founder of modern ballet. Love ballet? How has it shaped your life, can you relate to Eleni’s story above? If you’re thinking of taking up ballet or perhaps enrolling any of your children what would your reasons be? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. Time to spin you right round with these other fitness articles (zumba, CrossFit, and tabata) that will definitely help you Keep YOUR Fit ON!

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