The word ballet can easily bring to mind smiles, happiness, and continuous movement. And there is another side that requires discipline, commitment, and lots of hard work.
Ballet can be fun if you allow it to be. It depends on your goals and perspectives. One way to have fun in ballet is by choosing to enjoy yourself whether you grasp all the technical skills or not.
Let’s consider all the ways that ballet can be fun (or not).
Is It Important to Do Fun Things?
When I was young I dreamed of dancing around the house in ballet flats. No pressure, simply joy. When we’re children, we move around and have fun without inhibitions.
The problem is that as we grow older, we adopt social perceptions about what is and isn’t acceptable. Often we exclude ourselves from activities that might actually be quite fun for us to experience.
Dance classes have been found to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, strengthen coordination and sense of self, improve relationships, and overall health.
If you are interested in ballet dance, but are unsure whether you’ll enjoy it, you might want to look at it as a form of self-care. Fun activities result in emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Can Ballet Be Fun?
Decades ago ballet was very formal. There’s a Lucille Ball parody of a strict ballet instructor tapping Lucile’s body with a stick to correct her positions.
Although this was a parody, Lucille’s skit was rooted in truth. But to my knowledge, ballet teachers no longer bring sticks to class. They no longer spew out insults or treat you as though you don’t deserve to be in their presence. Ballet has evolved.
You can have a lot of fun dancing ballet at any level.
Ballet Can Be Fun (At Any Age)
Here are some considerations for how ballet can be fun in different stages of life.
Ballet Fun for Children
For many children, ballet is a playful activity that lets them express themselves.
In fact, many parents enroll their young children into ballet classes in order to help them socialize, gain body awareness, and to get them in the habit of embracing physical activity. They’re also learning how to make decisions
Their life becomes more enriched in the process. An activity like dance can help build their character, which leads to enhanced self-awareness.
And self-awareness not only builds self-worth, it also helps children understand that all humans are worthy of love and respect. Teaching children empathy and emotional intelligence at a young age can help alleviate social woes in the long term.
And they’re learning all these things in a seemingly unstructured manner, making it fun for them.
Ballet Fun for Adolescents
But you don’t have to start as a child in order to relish in the happiness that ballet dance can bring. Adolescents can experience many of the same benefits but in this age group there’s even more personal development unfolding.
Adolescents who take ballet for fun are learning how to manage their time, support their peers, and develop new skills.
At a time in their life when their emotions may seem uncontrollable, ballet helps them to channel and appropriately express strong emotions.
They’re also building confidence and pushing themselves past previously held limitations. Developing creativity helps you think differently and proactively engage in problem-solving.
Any form of “[d]ancing builds and reinforces neural connections between the vast circuitry of the brain. Dance expresses what we know and what we feel wordlessly.”Psychology Today
Similar to the younger age group, adolescents who take ballet are being developed through an enjoyable experience. It’s just that at this age, they have more agency over the process.
Ballet Fun for Teens
I’m not sure if Misty Copeland tires of this comparison or not, but her name is often the one that’s mentioned when teens are unsure of whether or not they can begin to take ballet classes. She was a teenager when she started but is now a principal dancer.
This is an encouraging fact, but I’m not suggesting that taking ballet as a teen means that you have to become a professional dancer. Teens can take classes for pure enjoyment as well.
In addition to self-confidence, teens can build muscle tone and increase flexibility when they take ballet class. Ballet can improve their cognitive and muscle memory.
Being physically active is much more fun than sitting at home watching television, scrolling through social media posts, or playing video games. There’s a time and place for all of those things. But when technology consumes your life, you end up unhappy, and some teens even become depressed.
Instead of obsessing about body image as it’s presented through the media, teens can learn to push their bodies to the limit in a pleasurable way.
Some advancements in technology have benefited society. As a teenager, you’re presented with an overwhelming number of opportunities to absorb distorted social standards as they’re presented through various forms of media. Taking ballet can be much more fun and beneficial to your overall health.
Ballet Fun For Adults
Adults often feel the most angst about taking up ballet for fun. You may not have taken any dance lessons as a child. Or you may have taken them, and then lost interest and stopped. Some people have been drawn to dance for their entire life but may have felt that they didn’t meet the “standards” necessary to begin ballet lessons.
You don’t have to have taken dance since you were younger in order to enjoy ballet as an adult. Ballet is great exercise. It’s also an expressive art form. For some adults, it can be a hobby or a social activity that helps you interact with other people.
Who says you have to refrain from engaging in pleasurable activities as an adult? Adults still need nurture, love, and support. If you find that in a ballet dance community, then dance.
You’re never too old to learn something new. And gaining new skills helps fight off cognitive disease and other medical ailments related to the brain. Ballet promotes more neural elasticity than reading or completing crossword puzzles.
You’ll also improve your stamina, balance, eye coordination, muscle strength, posture, and so much more. Ballet can help alleviate stress, calming you from within. And as you dance, your brain releases endorphins, which help lift your mood. It’s been said in the science community that ballet releases more endorphins than any other form of dance.
You have much more to gain than to lose by deciding to take up ballet as an adult.
Do Professional Ballet Dancers Have Fun?
Professional ballet dancers have rigorous schedules while learning and performing routines that are taxing on the body. It’s strenuous work but many of them enjoy it, find it rewarding, and wouldn’t want to live life any other way.
Ways to Guard Against Taking the Fun Out of Ballet
Making ballet fun boils down to your perspective. If you understand why you’re doing it and are willing to enjoy every part of the process – even when things get tough – then you can potentially have fun.
It’s when we have a negative perspective that we tend to take the fun out of ballet. And I’m not judging, I get it, all of those lies were heaped on top of my head when I was growing up as well.
The definition of fun is subjective. It’s about what YOU derive pleasure from; what YOU consider to be exciting. If you enjoy ballet, or think you might, then it can be fun.
There used to be a lot more rules surrounding ballet. And if you take it to a professional level, there are some rules you’ll have to abide by. But rules don’t have to take the fun out of the activity. It’s actually been said that discipline and structure can be more freeing than unrestrained freedom.
Here are a few things we have to stop doing in order to enjoy ballet for fun:
- Release old mindsets. Many of those old ballet standards no longer exist. Rip off all the labels, banish limiting thoughts from your mind, and allow yourself to have fun in ballet class as an adult. Search for a ballet studio you’d feel comfortable learning in.
- Try not to take it too seriously. Allow yourself to go into class and simply make the best of your time there.
- You don’t have to be perfect. Mistakes lead to growth and are part of the process. Making them doesn’t mean you can’t laugh in the process.
- Don’t fall into the comparison trap. This. is. the. worst! but Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” You can’t have fun if you’re sizing yourself up to others around you. Focus forward, do your best, and allow comparisons to excuse themselves for your mind.
In order for ballet to be fun, you have to allow it to be – no matter your level of experience.