Ballet Offers Many Benefits
By K.J. WEBB
Editor at Large
DANCING ART: Tulsa Ballet will present “Exceptional Energy” March 25-27.
Courtesy Tulsa Ballet
Tulsa Ballet’s March 25-27 performances of “Exceptional Synergy” at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center offers an exceptional example of how ballet is a real synergy of body and mind; one that offers tangible benefits to both.
The March performance includes two Oklahoma premieres, multiple award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp’s landmark work “Push Comes to Shove”; “Slice to Sharp” by internationally renowned choreographer Jorma Elo; and elite choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s “Elite Syncopations,” the delightfully witty, flamboyant rendition of the ragtime era.
“Exceptional Synergy” is an apt title for the evening’s program. The performances will exemplify the physical strength, coordination and flexibility ballet requires, as well as the mental concentration. This supreme athletic condition and mental focus offers the synergy of mind and body that anyone can achieve through taking ballet; one does not need to be a professional dancer to reap the benefits of dance.
Physically, ballet is a superb way to obtain a cardiovascular workout, do strength training, stretch the muscles and increase flexibility, which protects the body from injury. Ballet exercises, particularly at the barre, are low impact, reducing the stress on joints, which is healthier for the body. Dance increases muscle mass while decreasing fat, which helps the body burn fat faster, even when sedentary. The result is a stronger, sleeker and healthier physique. Ballet also noticeably improves posture leading to a more confident, self-assured appearance, as well as better breathing and digestion.
Ballet also makes a positive mental impact; it can actually sharpen mathematical skills. This is because most ballet classes are accompanied by classical music. Many studies have linked listening to classical music to improving one’s math ability; and engaging in ballet regularly provides consistent exposure to classical music combined with memorizing steps in particular order, in rhythm to the music. The concentration and coordination required to accomplish this is a workout for the brain.
Just as important as mind and body benefits is the psychological boost that ballet offers. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which elevate mood. Ballet is no exception. Moreover, the physical and mental exercise combined with beautiful music, and the solitary time ballet offers to students to free the mind of distractions and focus provides the perfect synergy to satisfy mind, body and mood. Taking ballet as a way to stay in shape and enjoy a positive mind, body and health connection is an excellent choice. And the exposure to the world of dance, art, creativity, culture and theater is an additional benefit.
The best way to discover more about dance is to attend a Tulsa Ballet performance, such as the upcoming “Exceptional Synergy,” which features two Oklahoma premieres; and the upcoming 2011-2012 season will feature five Oklahoma premieres, and four world premieres. Every ballet in the 2011-2012 season will be new for Tulsa audiences except for “Nine Sinatra Songs” which amazed audiences when it was first performed five years ago.
For more information about ballet classes and/or the upcoming performances visit www.tulsaballet.org.