Jose Alves - @dancers.of.london

 

 

 

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Welcome back!

 

You might love or hate classical ballet, either way this article is for you! Perhaps you are not a dancer at all, in that case find out why ballet is the perfect dance form to start with.

 

As you know we are all about Horton and Graham at M-Intensive Online Dance Training which I believe are fundamentals to any serious dance career.

Ballet is a must too. It is sometimes regarded as rigid or emotionless which is completely wrong because in reality ballet will tremendously compliment your contemporary technique.

You will learn and solidify an essential palette of movements in dance, therefore in one ballet class you will also be able to artistically explore a wide range of emotions. It starts at the barre during the slow plies, tendus, fast glisses, ronds de jambe, fondus and grands battements and later on in the centre with a nice adagio, pirouettes and batteries to finish with the explosive big jumps. The diversity required in terms of quality of movement definitely makes it a perfect way to gain in artistry and confidence while building up your technique.

This is why in my opinion any dancers regardless of their background should take ballet classes and would benefit from it. Starting your dance training with classical ballet will allow you to understand most of the academic forms of dance such as contemporary, Modern or Jazz. 

 

Here are the reasons why you should take on ballet classes regularly:

 

1) Posture

Ballet will enormously improve your posture, whatever your goal, a nice posture is important. I know many people who are just taking ballet classes for that, like Horton and Graham ballet will correct your posture by working your deep muscles from your lower back through the spine.

This is one of the traits shared by many professionally trained dancers. You can spot them from far and this is the magic of ballet. You could be a contemporary, latin or jazz dancer, ballet will always benefit you.

2) Lines

The work at the barre is universally known to create beautiful and graceful dancers.  Ballet will help you on that, it is not just steps, think quality. 

Taking ballet lessons regularly will give you great lines and elegance.

A professional dancer spends long years at the barre to perfect those lines, it's challenging but the rewards are priceless. You are not taking ballet lessons only to perform the classical ballet repertoire but to become a better dancer.  

 

3) Strength 

Horton is well known for that and this is why so many ballet dancers attended my class the past 12 years, they love the challenge offered by this amazing technique but it's also quite familiar to them.

Ballet does the same thing. It will give you lean and strong muscles which everyone loves. Those releves at the barre will fortify your ankles, your calves and you will have strong legs and a better balance making every single one of your movements effortless and graceful!

Ballet will help even in your daily life, you do not need to be a professional dancer to do ballet, ballet is an art form but like Horton it is also a real workout! 

 

This is ballet! 

 

 

4) Technique

 

This is probably one of the main reasons why professional dancers have ballet in their curriculum.

This fantastic art form will build your technique which will compliment any dance style you do, ANY! Taking ballet classes will magnify your technique. The strength, the lines, your overall technique will tremendously improve and enhance the quality of your dance. 

You will also learn about the terms used in dance which is such an advantage as the same language is used in modern, contemporary or jazz techniques as well. Knowing these terms is crucial especially if you want to be a professional dancer. 

You will learn some French as the ballet vocabulary is French!... This dance language is universal and spoken all around the world. It is definitely a bonus as knowing those terms will allow you to learn and progress faster as a dancer, either as an amateur or a professional, it will always serve you. 

 

You can even take ballet classes if dance is not your main way of expression. I know singers and actors who take ballet lessons regularly for all its benefits. It is so valuable! 

 

5) Feet

"Feet have been a crucial component to the aesthetics of dance ever since Marie Taglioni brazenly went to new heights by stepping 'en pointe' during that game-changing performance of La Sylphide in the seventeenth century. Since then dancers have aspired to elongate the line of the body as much as possible, and beautifully pointed feet with a high instep and pronounced arches isn’t just an extension of that line, it’s also a point of pride amongst dancers, and a testament to the incredible specialisation of a dancer’s body..."

Elly Ford

 

The famous dancers' feet! 

(Alicia Graf Mack - Andrew Eccles)

This is where dancers build them, at the barre!

Ballet will work your pointe on a daily basis, although some dancers are born with beautifully natural arched feet, it is not the case for everyone. We have to work hard for that and classical ballet will give you those feet if you take ballet classes regularly. There are many exercises at the barre which are essentials and will help on that such as tendus and releves.

It is highly recommended to prepare your feet before dancing, by stretching and warming them up with a tennis ball for instance or by using some great accessories such as a foot roller which I personally use. This magical tool is perfect! It's very affordable and quite robust, it will last forever!

 

click on the link below for the perfect foot roller

 

To get some nice tips about this long and important topic read this great article by Elly Ford later on, all about feet!

"Improving your pointe: 7 steps to a better arch"

 

6) Determination

Most of the dancers I know are quite driven. When we want something we really work hard for it, this is what we've been taught for many years. Determination is a great quality to have and it will take you very far. 

Ballet will give you that state of mind, Ballet like any other dance forms requires many days of repetition, we repeat the same exact movements during many years until it's perfect! You must be determined to achieve this high level of self discipline and this is something every ballet dancer learns in class. 

This is a life skill that will move you towards your goals.

 

7) Success

If you are a professional dancer, regular ballet training will boost your career by polishing your tool. It will make you a more competitive dancer and you will be way more successful at Company auditions.

Indeed many contemporary dance companies use ballet classes during the first round of their auditions as it is one of the best ways to test a dancer's technique, sometimes you won't even be able to dance the contemporary repertoire if you can’t pass the ballet class first so it is very important for your training. 

Some dancers give up on ballet as it might be boring to them or just a dance style they are not interested in performing on stage, which is a real mistake. See ballet as your support, this technique is there to maintain your dancer’s body. Don’t overthink it, just use its countless benefits for your own good.
 

8) Happiness

This is why we dance right?! We love it, we dance because it makes us happy!

Ballet will do that, it’s funny because at the same time it can be quite depressing on a "bad" day but at the end we love that challenge! We love seeing our daily achievements, we love those little things such as getting your legs higher or doing more pirouettes.

Every day ballet will give you that joy of self accomplishment, you will love surpassing yourself on a daily basis! The more you do it the more you want it! Everyone loves being a better version of themselves.

Ballet is inspiring!

 

9) Health

Ballet is an art form and a perfect workout. Yes it is. You will work your entire body!

As any other forms of dance, ballet is very good for your health, it is perfect for stamina, for muscles tones, for your legs, your core and your entire back. Dance is a complete sport which is perfect for cardio. Ballet will make you healthy and full of energy, it is a perfect training.

You will also stretch your entire body. Stretching is extremely healthy and will make you stay young your entire life. Ballet is an excellent sport and those principles can be applied to any other types of dance.

Dance is also amazing for your brain and could be a genuine life saver! Watch this amazing video later on, what a powerful speech!

 

10) Culture

Ballet opened my mind to a completely new world. I never listened to classical music before taking ballet lessons, I never really paid attention to certain notes or the musicality in certain pieces, ballet truly changed my vision about classical music.

Today I enjoy the plies at the barre for instance, with a piano it's just amazing, it is like having wings in class, I just love it. Even though I'm completely focused on technique when I take a ballet class, I can still enjoy the music and dance! It makes it so easy.

I also discovered the classical ballet repertoire which is so important for a dancer and a dance teacher. This is part of our dance history and even if you choose another path, if you are not into classical ballet as a performer, it is still a great knowledge to have, knowing about classical ballet is as important as knowing about the contemporary repertoire. Understanding and appreciating it will make you a way more complete tutor who will be able to share this precious knowledge to his/her students.

Maurice Béjart the famous French choreographer and founder of The Béjart Ballet Lausanne used to say:

"The Perfect artist has the legs of a Russian ballet dancer and the torso of a Graham dancer!"

I had the immense honor to perform with The Béjart Ballet Lausanne (Switzerland), it was for a tiny role but I learned so much about ballet. I've seen some of the best dancers at their top and that journey was priceless, I will be forever grateful for this experience...
 

From the powerful Spartacus and Don Quixote to the magical Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake, ballet will open your eyes to a new world full of emotions and dreams. 

 

11) The best Bum ever!

Yes you read it right. Ballet will also give you a great bum and to be honest, everyone loves having a great bum!...

The work at the barre will work your bottom very intensively and will stimulate your deeper muscles to design nice and harmonious buttocks. It will look great but also which is important for dancers strong glutes will allow you to also lift your legs higher, will protect your lower back and will reinforce your thighs.

Start classical ballet today for the best bum ever!...

 

 


 

Now you know why you shouldn't skip Ballet...

Ballet might be difficult sometimes and even discouraging, I know exactly how it feels, however, it's completely worth it.

You will gain in confidence and happiness as you will feel challenged every day. Classical ballet is important to your training if you are a professional performer and you shouldn't never ever give up on that. You will stay young and healthy with ballet.

Do ballet and your body will thank you!

Like Horton and Graham, Ballet will preserve your technique over a long period of time which will allow you to have a long and successful career.

 

 

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