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General Purpose and Benefit of Ballet as Cross-training


Right or wrongly so, societal perception is that people with ‘good and poised’ posture are generally more dynamic, more fit, and more impressive, and therefore assumed to be more successful.

…‘Bad’ posture is a bad habit and all too common. Postural faults have their origin in the misuse of their capacities provided by the body, not in the structure and function of the normal body. If faulty posture were merely an aesthetic problem, the concerns about it might be limited to those regarding appearance. However, postural faults that persist can give rise to discomfort, pain, or disability …(Peterson-Kendall, Kendall-McCreary, Geise-Provance, McIntyre-Rodgers, & Romani (2005, p. 51)

Incorrect or faulty posture, core weakness, hip and pelvic instability affect our daily function, personal health, overall life quality (i.e., our general well being) and, of course, any physical activity or sports performance. ‘Postural flaws’ can be attributed to physical, psychological, and emotional factors (‘the way we feel’), stress, and injuries, as well as potential growth spurts during childhood years, which were overlooked and/or not treated. Correct posture is deemed essential for graceful, efficient movement, and the associated ‘flow’ of movement. This concept is somewhat philosophical in nature due to the inherent aesthetic aspect of that effortless performance we admire with ‘awe!’ The late Bruce Lee is said to have commented, “Learn to use the joints of the body – You must become aware of their actions because they provide energy when working together and they put energy back into the action…

Daily workout sessions in ballet involves the combination of the three energy systems: alactic (0-10 seconds); anaerobic lactic (10 to 120 seconds); and aerobic (more than 2-minutes). While most exercises tend to be short in duration (except for movement series) they completely load the muscles for a total body workout during the entire period. Each exercise is designed to provide rest for some muscles while alternately engaging others in order to warm-up the entire body evenly. All major muscle groups are thereby activated, which is not always the case in other sports, leading to statements by athletes, …“I am feeling muscles at work I never knew I had”… The focus is on developing not only a stronger body (body core) but also to improve flexibility. The latter is a synergistic component, enhances coordination and balance through diverse stretching and toning techniques, which in turn helps to decrease the risk of injury. Even though joint and overall flexibility are prominent features so are muscular strength and power – but without the use of heavy weights. Imagine dancers using slow preparation and take-off steps to jump or leap for height or distance! That would be disastrous! Various stepping patterns, running, sliding, gliding, jumping, leaping, hopping, turning, twirling, and spinning exercises are used to enhance strength, speed, power, endurance, dynamic balance, and control.





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