Ballet North on the "Mozart Effect" of Classical Ballet
|From Ballet North Coppelia Dress Rehearse 2|
Ballet North in Kansas City - December 27, 2011
Many parents suspect that Classical Ballet is a very beneficial activity for their child to do, but are not quite sure exactly why that is or what makes Classical Ballet beneficial as opposed to other activities or especially other "dance" forms.
To start, Classical Ballet is done to Classical Music where the Mozart Effect is well documented: the complexities of the music require mental development just to follow and understand. Quite literally, by listening to classical music a child's mind will improve and develop more robustly than otherwise would happen.
Next, Classical Ballet adds on a second major element by way of requiring not only the mind to listen to and understand the melody, but for the body to move on tempo with the melody doing specific, clean steps with a technique of movement just as complex as Classical Music.
In other words, Classical Ballet will challenge the mind and body simultaneously in a complex, energizing way the benefits of which are built directly on the Mozart Effect for the mind and the muscles.
At first, Classical Ballet does not look as "high energy" as gymnastics or karate and this is partly true: the technique of movement can't be learned quickly any more than complete musical structures can be. Students have to start with the basic pieces of the technique: with music this is knowing where the keys or strings are followed by basic chords, reading the notes, and on up to eventually knowing the theory of how the music works; Classical Ballet is just the same adding in a physical technique that one has to learn from the basics of where your body is, how to turn out your feet and hold your arms, and at the same time move on the tempo. The energetic nature of Ballet builds fairly quickly however and by the age of 11 students should be on Pointe if female, beginning basic Men's class work if male, and able to dance about 4.5 hours per week in 3 classes -- which will make you sweat to be sure! By the time of adolescence, Classical Ballet will be at least as energetic if not more so than any activity out there including gymnastics or any martial art.
A super-critical benefit to Classical Ballet is that since students do spend a few years learning exactly how to move each piece of the body correctly, when it comes time to do more aggressive dancing and "cut loose" starting at around 11 years of age, they will know instinctively how to do just about any movement and NOT hurt their knees, ankles, back, or any part of the body. THAT'S the benefit of having a technical, theoretical movement foundation - enhanced mind, enhanced body, and very enhanced mind-body partnership.
The real magic to Classical Ballet is that for those children who are good at sports ballet will challenge them in a different direction; sports are very linear - you run down the field, you run from one base to another, you launch a ball to score points - ballet is totally non-linear - you are constantly changing tempo, direction, and the shape your body is making resulting in extremely beneficial cross-training. The absence of the Mozart Effect in sports is supplemented and covered by training in Classical Ballet.
For those students who are gifted academically and in no need of a Mozart Effect for their minds, Classical Ballet will challenge and train their area of weakness: physical coordination and agility. These students normally aren't interested in sports as such but are in need of physical activity to develop the body along with the mind and Classical Ballet will do that in spades.