There are so many incredible benefits that come from learning ballet, not just physically but also mentally, spiritually, socially and academically too. If you’ve listened to the latest episode of our Stage Chats Podcast, you would have heard some of the incredible benefits and skills that ballet has given me in my adult life, so I wanted to expand on that by sharing 5 non-physical benefits of learning ballet.
There are loads of studies that prove the positive effect ballet has on the brain (so much so that it’s even being used to treat people with Parkinson's disease). Learning new sequences and memorising choreography requires a great deal of mental and cognitive focus and activates so many different parts of the brain. Brains that have continually stimulated and varied networks can be stronger and reduce cognitive decline later in life!
You’ve probably heard your teachers tell you this before, but it’s true when they say that ballet teaches you a great deal of discipline, which I thoroughly believe is a skill you can only learn through lived experience. There are so many ways we learn this; respecting authority figures like our teachers, creating high standards of presentation by wearing correct attire and having neat hair to class and the self-discipline required to stretch and practice outside of class.
Life isn’t always going to be easy and I quite often like to remind myself that it’s the hard things in life that we learn the most valuable lessons from. Ballet is very physically demanding and there are times when we’re performing incredibly tough moves on blistered feet or with broken toes and we’re trained to smile through the pain. I fully believe it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you deal with it that matters and ballet teaches you how to deal with tough situations graciously.
Ballet is one thing you definitely can’t fake and there are no ‘tricks’ or shortcuts that can help you succeed quicker, and the only thing that will determine your success is how hard you work. This is such an important lesson everyone can apply to all different areas of your life whether it’s career, relationships or even fitness. It’s true when they say that nothing worth having comes easy, and it sure feels good when you work hard and accomplish it.
Confidence isn’t always something that comes easy and just like anything else in life, it’s a learnt skill and ballet is the perfect way to learn it. Confidence is instilled at so many different stages of a dancer's journey. Enrolling in your very first class, performing in front of an audience, performing your very first solo, auditioning for a performance or company, taking exams and even nailing a move in class you’ve been working really hard at. Every little step you take in ballet helps to instil self-confidence, which I truly believe is the most important thing you’ll ever learn.
So remember, while ballet is a physically beautiful artform, there are so many non-physical benefits that come from learning ballet too!