The Advantages of Being a Ballet Dancer

Written by jennifer holmes
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  • Introduction

    The Advantages of Being a Ballet Dancer

    Considered one of the most beautiful art forms of dance, ballet takes many years of dedicated study and practice. Many female ballet dancers dream of performing the ballerina roles but only a few make it to the top level of a professional ballet company. While it is a gruelling and very focused profession, dancers experience many benefits that carry through all aspects of life.

    Pas de deux for a ballerina and a male principal dancer. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Physical Fitness and Body Strength

    One big benefit is how physically fit a ballerina becomes during the student and professional years. After retirement, the body retains many of the fine tone definitions in the body, particularly if the dancer maintains some type of physical activity such as walking, action sports or swimming. Many ex-ballerinas will teach in dance schools or even pursue choreography, all of which requires physical activity and the ability to demonstrate steps. Other professions to turn to are teaching aerobics, physical therapist, gymnastics, martial arts and any other physically-motivated profession where knowledge of body placement and movement is essential to performance success.

    Dancer performing a grand jeté en avant, or split leap forward, in class. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

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    Maintaining Healthy Nutrition

    Learning to eat well and maintaining a high nutritional level is essential to the strength of a ballerina and should be taught in the early years of childhood. While true for everyone, maintaining nutritional health by eating the proper foods -- including vitamin and mineral supplements -- is even more important for ballerinas and athletes. Unfortunately, the ballet and the modelling professions require an almost abnormal thinness to project the beautiful lines of the body and clothes, or costumes, worn. You can achieve optimal health and strength with a doctor's evaluation to find out weaknesses, such as a thyroid problem or hormonal issue.

    A ballerina with beautiful body lines in a lunge pose. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Fortitude, Determination and Focus

    Fortitude, determination and focus are three essential personality traits for ballerinas, which can also carry over into the next profession, or life goals, of an ex-ballerina. You learn fortitude when you're worn out from a day's worth of rehearsals but must still get up on the stage and perform the evening performance. You learn determination when you continually work to attain your highest level of perfection and the ability to perform the roles you dream of doing. Focus is the single-minded purpose and drive for the daily class and rehearsals that you must do to secure leading roles and the admiration of peers and fans. All of these traits apply to life after dance when pursuing a new career and going through training, whether in college or a technical school. When retiring at the age of 35, going to college to get a degree is daunting, but you can accomplish it with the same fortitude, determination and focus as in the ballet.

    Ballet provides the fortitude, determination and focus to graduate from college post-career. (Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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    Developing Outside Interests For Mental Health and the Future

    A ballerina interprets music through dance, using her mind, body and soul. It is important to have interests outside of the ballet to help mould the ballerina's character and to know that ballet is not all that life has to offer. One of these interests can lead to the direction of life after dance. The ability to mentally transition from the ballet to another profession is similar to recovering from a lifelong addiction, although you can be successful by setting healthy goals. Learning to transition successfully and preparing yourself for the next opportunity is a skill many dancers learn early on in life and is a tremendous advantage.

    When the music stops, it's time to go. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

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