Adult Ballet is a fun way to exercise your mind, body and soul
I was lucky enough to witness the closing of the first Adult Ballet Class at Yoganic last week. As the class drew to a close the room was filled with happy smiling faces, clapping and cheering. There was even a curtsey or two which just made it all that bit more special.
Similar to that feeling in the Opera House as the curtain falls at the end of a ballet performance. We however were in Willoughby on a Saturday afternoon and the adult ballet dancers were women from all walks of life who came together for an hour to enjoy their first adult ballet class with Rita.
The benefits of ballet for adults stretch beyond the increase of the serotonin boost described above. In fact, ballet provides you with immediate and lasting benefits for your Mind, your Body and your Soul.
Adult Ballet for Your Mind
Music, movement, new words in another language, coordination & spatial awareness are all using the brains processing powers while you are enjoying yourself in an adult ballet class. In fact, your brain will be so engaged in the class that you will be able to switch off from the world outside the studio.
Plié, Grand Plié, Tendu, Jèté, Rond de jambe, Fondu, Frappé, Développé, Arabesque – these are just some of the fabulous French names for the ballet moves you will learn in class. Learning a second language has been known to have benefits for intelligence, memory, and concentration as well as lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s. You may not be learning fluent French but all these new words in your vocabulary are sure to be having some positive effects.
Adult ballet is accompanied by music, most often classical music. Music has been proven to reduce blood pressure and to release the feel-good ‘dopamine’ hormone. More specifically, research has linked listening to classical music with improved brain performance, better sleep and enhanced memory in dementia patients.
Music and new language skills aside, let’s not forget that your brain power is also being used as you move to the music, remember the steps, keep in time, coordinate different parts of the body and not run into our neighbour on the dance floor.
One could say that adult ballet makes us smarter and more relaxed at the same time. A true workout for the mind.
Ballet for Your Body
Adult ballet helps to improves your flexibility, muscle strength and tone, and has the advantage of working the entire body.
Who wouldn’t want to have posture as iconic as Audrey Hepburn? What most do not know is that her classic physique and sleek posture were the result of extensive ballet training before her debut as a Hollywood film star. Enjoying adult ballet classes will improve your posture, since every ballet move relies heavily on proper body alignment, which means pulling back your shoulders, and elongating your spine.
Flexibility is another benefit that comes with practicing adult ballet, since stretching is a big part of the barre work that makes up part of every adult ballet class. Strengthening and toning of the body are a by-product of the movement you undertake in ballet.
As we age bone density becomes an issue for men and women with risks of developing Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise is known to assist in building stronger bones and reducing the risk of Osteoporosis. Jetés (AKA a jump in which a dancer springs from one foot to land on the other) along with many other movements provide that all-important weight-bearing exercise with a side serve of fun.
Ballet for Your Soul
Whilst you may not be performing on stage, each class has an element of performance which you will dance for the teacher, yourself or fellow students. You will gain a sense of achievement and your confidence in your ability will develop. As you master more complex dance moves your confidence will continue to grow and hopefully carry over to your day-to-day life.
Ballet is mindfulness at its best, having to be completely present with your mind several steps ahead of your body means that any other noise is silenced for the duration of the class. Thereby reducing stress, anxiety and providing an opportunity to disconnect from the outside world.
Adult ballet classes are social and fun, no-one is coming to class expecting to become the next prima ballerina. With egos checked at the door, you can be sure of an hour of fun while you do something that is good for your Mind, Body & Soul.
So, what are you waiting for? Put your name down and start enjoying the benefits of ballet in your life.
Thanks to our own Leah O’Gorman for sharing her class experience.