As the title of this blog indicates; yes, I’m an ardent believer that dance is for everyone. Aside from the various technical and physical challenges it imposes, dance is a very human and primal experience.
For example, it’s been theorized that our most ancient of ancestors used dance to attract mates, and we as a culture use dance to celebrate certain events and experiences even today. And let’s face it — who doesn’t enjoy dancing when they think nobody is watching?
Also, a class that forces you to learn a completely different language is undeniably a good thing; not to mention, it has the additional advantage of challenging bodies and minds. Ballet trains students to think logically, allowing them to express themselves using a very different set of signals. So yes, I encourage any potential student, however casual or recreational, who wants to learn the fundamentals of such a communicative art form as ours.
Of course, nobody ever said ballet was easy; however, I strongly believe that if you can dance ballet, then you can do anything. My students validate that feeling for me constantly, and they surprise me on a daily basis. It’s amazing to see a child who was a complete neophyte 6 months ago, who’s now able to breeze through a demanding ballet class. Our last recital proved to the community that when our kids focus they’re capable of putting on an incredible show!
I’ve said this many times before, but dance surpasses competitive sports because it qualifies as an art form — and ultimately it transcends both. You’re not judged by how many passes you make or balls you kick between a set of goal posts. It’s all based on what a director of a company (and perhaps even more importantly, the audience) thinks of your performance.
In a society where exercise is becoming increasingly rare, dance allows its practitioners to work almost every muscle in their bodies. As a kid, what I always appreciated about ballet was that it was something that was black and white. You’re either right or you’re wrong with your technique. I found that to be a very refreshing and (surprisingly) easy concept to learn. Children, in particular, tend to appreciate that aspect of dance, even the ones who are just in it for exercise and recreation. But as an art form, ballet is also forgiving in that you can try and try again until you get it right.
Ballet creates a sense of structure and discipline within one’s life. It teaches students to be on time, to be properly dressed, to respect the teachers, to follow through with what they started, to keep quiet and listen, and — maybe above everything else — to focus. Significantly, these things one needs to be prepared for college settings and professional work environments.
In the end, I strive to teach everyone equally. Even if a student only comes to one class per week, I expect the utmost from them. When you enter my studio, everyone is here to work and learn. I might not be quite as hard on them as, say, a student who comes to me four times a week, but I expect them to pay attention and put forth their best effort like everyone else. It’s a very communal environment, and anyone who wants to learn should definitely consider it.