WHY is ballet so important? Ballet has been around for over 400 years; within that time, the "method to the madness" has been perfected and there is a reason everything
is done the way it is today. Other forms of dance are mere "babies" compared to the grandmother of ballet, and use the foundations that ballet has established as stepping stones to their own forms. Ballet should be taken whether or not a student sees themselves as a "ballet dancer"...it is the seed from which everything has grown into. For any dancer, classical ballet training is invaluable because not only are most dance forms based from ballet, ballet also provides a basic understanding of dance principles and instills the proper execution of dance techniques. Ballet will also develop the line and form (the two and three dimensional images created by the dancer’s body), muscle strength, joint flexibility, balance and co-ordination; all of which is vital for a “good”, strong dancer. I know what you're thinking. Blah, blah, blah. Here is my analogy that may help you understand what all of that means. Ballet is like your dinner. You need to eat a good, nutritious meal so that you can function at top performance. Jazz, tap, etc., is like dessert. Sure, you can eat your dessert first--who wouldn't want to do that?!--but just keep in mind you can only "fuel your body" for so long on just dessert. Your overall performance will start to lack, and you won't have the stamina to keep up. Eating a good meal can make your dessert the "icing on the cake". The following excellent points are quoted from "Livestrong.com":
Like all dance forms, ballet is physically intense. The Colorado School of Dance website points out that ballet improves muscular strength, flexibility and range of motion. Ballet training also boosts coordination and balance while correcting poor alignment, according to the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. Combinations that involve jumping and leaping increase heart rate, which can improve endurance, stamina and overall cardiovascular health. Like other forms of dance, ballet can improve body awareness and physical self-control.
In addition to its physical benefits, ballet can also help to improve children's mental and emotional health. The Brighton Ballet Theater website asserts that training in classical ballet instills a sense of pride and accomplishment, which can boost self-esteem. As children improve and master more challenging movement combinations, they feel more self-assured, which can carry over into other areas of their lives. Dance training can also be a great way to relax and use excess energy productively after school.
Ballet classes provide a social outlet for kids. Attending classes regularly can help young children develop their social skills. The National Dance Education Organization claims ballet and other dance forms help foster teamwork, communication, trust and cooperation. Ballet can also help children to forge new friendships, overcome shyness or awkwardness in social situations and reduce the fears associated with being in a group and performing in front of an audience.
Ballet also offers certain educational or cognitive benefits. Ballet training exposes students to a combination of movement, music and performance. The National Dance Education Organization asserts that through that exposure, children enhance their sensory awareness, cognition -- which includes attention, memory and learning -- and overall consciousness. These are skills that benefit kids in all areas of life. For kids who want to explore other forms of dance -- such as jazz, hip-hop or tap -- ballet offers a solid foundation and serves as a great starting point.
Here at the Academy, our dancers train in a ballet-based curriculum in our Early Child Dance
Program (ages 3-7). We then continue to encourage ballet training first and foremost in all of our dancers, and add on jazz and tap classes rather than drop ballet class.