5 reasons to take up ballet

20 April 2017 by
First published: 21 July 2016

It’s had a total revival and here are 5 reasons to take up ballet…

If you’ve ever been to see The Nutcracker, it’s pretty hard to not stare in awe as the ballerinas tip up on their toes and jump high in air, looking as gracious as a butterfly. What we don’t see, however, is the hard work and training involved in making ballet look so effortless, and how ballerinas make their bodies look so lean and tall. Some of these qualities are what we aspire to have, and you don’t necessarily have to be in the Royal Ballet school to get these qualities. A simple class can be one of your first steps to it. Former dancer and founder of Xtend Barre, Catie Miller, explains why you should take up ballet…


1) Boosts flexibility

The combination of stretching and working your whole body to its full range of movement improves circulation and gives much needed lubrication to the joints, fascia and soft tissue. Try this exercise: Battements. These are beautiful high kicks performed to the front, side and back to help lengthen hamstrings, open the hips, increase spine mobility and stretch hip flexors.


2) Better posture and body alignment

The basis of good posture and body alignment is neutral spine and axial elongation; this is the foundation of a barre or ballet class. Extra benefits are gained, as most of the class is performed standing, with instructors making adjustments to improve the positioning of participants during the whole class.


Try this exercise: Rises. Focus on length as you rise onto your toes to improve posture. The effect of becoming taller helps to visualise beautiful posture.


3) Gives confidence

A lot of confidence comes from your posture. Try feeling negative and miserable with your shoulders back and your spine elongated – it’s just not possible.


4) Improves emotional and mental health

Many participants in ballet and barre classes enjoy a wonderful sense of freedom as they develop their movement skills in an exciting and empowering environment.  The ballet based structure of Xtend Barre gives non-dancers the physical vocabulary to move in ways that they would not have believed possible and it is fun! Movement itself has huge benefits for mental health, and these benefits continue beyond the dance studio.
5) Creates long lean muscle

Squeeze’, ‘stretch’, ‘lengthen’ and ‘grow’ are all words that you will hear in your barre class. The focus of movement and how you use your muscles has a huge effect on how they develop. Length and strength are at the very core of ballet/barre movements, creating beautiful lean and long muscles without bulk.


For more information from Catie Miller and classes on ballet, Pilates and dance, Check out http://www.xtendbarre.com/