I have done ballet for pretty much my whole life. I was shoved into a lesson at ‘First Steps Academy’(Fulham) at the age of three and I’ve stayed entranced by the art form ever since. Ballet can have some stigmas about how effective it actually is in helping your physical and mental health. It is usually seen as less challenging than a more conventional sport like rugby, and is bashed for giving young girls unrealistic body standards. Even though, unfortunately, the latter can be true, the first is simply incorrect. A study by Dr James A Nicholas, which was published in ‘The Journal of Sports Medicine’, reveals that out of 61 physical activities, ballet was found to be the most physically and mentally demanding. Another that was held by the University of Hertfordshire stated that the fitness of a ballet dancer excels that of an international swimmer. From a less scientific perspective (and possibly a biased one) I believe that ballet is more draining as it is a sport and an art, whereas rugby is just a sport. While moving with complete accuracy and stretching your body to the limit, ballet dancers also must look elegant and portray the message that their dance is set out to show.

            Ballet is an exemplar case of an activity that keeps your whole body fit. Training involves the usage of major and minor muscles from in your arms and legs, to your feet and neck. Over time you will become more flexible as your muscles become less susceptible to tears. Also, as all ballet exercises only use your own body weight, toning your  muscles becomes a significantly easier task as ‘bulking’ becomes impossible. Your coordination can also be increased as by linking cognitive functions to music you can develop this skill. Coordination takes practice, and this newfound ability can be utilised in all walks of life.

            Mentally ballet is an amazing stress reliever. Your mind while you dance is fully concentrated on the set of movements and it is a chance to escape your reality. The music is also beautiful and can have a calming effect. It is a great form of self expression and, for me, it has definitely made me more confident within myself. Not to mention the amazing network ballet includes. Through training you are introduced to so many different people and become close to people you wouldn’t have otherwise of met. Less obviously it can aid lymph drainage, which is the removal of toxic fluids from our body which is critical for a healthy immune system. Finally ballet releases endorphins! Dance releases higher levels than any other aerobic exercise. This encourages heightened positivity, better and deeper sleep and more peace of mind. Ballet has had a huge impact on my life and I use the skills I have learnt from it everyday, from being able to simply dance in time at a party to using ‘ballet confidence’ to help me through life.


Evie Jouning