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Should Boys Do Ballet?

Well there are two ways you could look at it depending on how you perceive ballet. Firstly, you could think it is a stupid question and say, of course, Boys should do ballet. If there were no boys in ballet then many classical ballets could never be staged, as all of them require male dancers, not only for lead and principal roles, but also in the corps de ballet, the companies themselves.

However, on the other hand, you may have some preconceptions that ballet is only for girls and that boys have no place in it at all, which is a position I consider as misguided and ultimately, stereotypical.

Let’s examine some facts.

To start with let’s look at what boys, and girls for that matter, can get from doing ballet.

First off it is a great way of keeping fit as ballet is a great way to exercise. The physical demands of ballet making a great way to stay in shape.

It is a great way to increase your strength, especially if you are a boy and as you get older you will probably spend a great deal of time in a gym, as ballet requires huge levels of physical fitness. Don’t be fooled by the supreme grace of a ballet dancer; it takes extremes of fitness to make it all look so effortless. Ballet dancers have to be as powerful, athletic and as controlled, as top level sports men and women.

Ballet also increases your flexibility and your agility. Ballet is a workout from head to toe and, as such, will teach you all about your body and how to use it and get the very most out of it. Although injuries are, at times, inevitable in any discipline that requires high levels of jumping, turning, lifting and movement, ballet does teach you how to prevent many minor injuries and to look after the prize asset of your body.

Ballet teaches you discipline; it is a very disciplined art form. The whole idea of ballet is based on structure; holding and strengthening the core of your body, which is a great for your posture and, subsequently, can give you an air of positivity.

Ballet is great for improving your reflexes; sharpening your sense of balance and it is a wonderful way of increasing your co-ordination.

Ballet has been found to heighten communication skills, not only by inspiring self-expression through dance and the movements that your body can make, but, also, through increased self-confidence and self-esteem, leading to an ability to communicate better with other boys and, also, with girls. It teaches boys respect for their peers, their teachers and for society in general.

With the high levels of performance involved, ballet dancers become comfortable in many other social skills too, not only when involved in forms of public performance but also when it comes to interaction with others.

Although there is a major emphasis on focus, application and control in a ballet class from an early age, ballet is also great fun, and can be extremely beneficial for those who struggle to maintain their concentration.

The structures of a ballet class have been seen to have a positive effect on those children who find it hard to concentrate on other things, or whilst doing other activities. The Bolshoi Ballet School in Russia, one of the most famous ballet schools in the world, can trace its origins back to 1773 when it was an orphanage and home to many disadvantaged children. Even then dance was seen to have a positive effect on behaviour and overall conduct.

Ballet is a fascinating art form with centuries of tradition and development. Once you've sparked an interest there are basically no limits on what you can learn, from great ballet works, to ballet dancers, awesome pieces of classical music, to great ballet composers and choreographers. Hey, you will even learn some of the French language...tres bon!

Classical and piano music has been shown to aid your mental well-being and, alongside the ballet itself, has been seen to stimulate your brain to release happy hormones, making you feel happier!

As you will see, ballet has so many benefits and advantages it seems impossible to think that anyone would decide it is not something boys can, and should, do.

So if there are Dads and Mums out there who are hesitating over whether they should enrol their boy into a ballet class, then hesitate no more. At a time when girls who do more, what were once considered ‘boy’ only activities such as football, cricket, baseball, etc are celebrated and congratulated, why should it not be considered the norm for a boy to do a ballet class. If ballet was a sport, maybe society’s overwhelming perception of a boy doing ballet would be so very different. Encourage your ‘boy’ to give it a go and see how they get on. They will need your support but, as we do our best to break down the stereotypes and misunderstandings surrounding ballet, the positive things that ballet can give everyone, surely, far outweigh any of those doubts and reservations.

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