Boys Can Dance!
Did you know Spider-man Star Tom Holland is a professionally trained dancer? Tom Holland got his start as a dancer at the age of 10 by taking ballet lessons in his garage. He would be discovered later that year at the Richmond Dance Festival and go on to star on stage and screen as Billy Elliot. “I’m very happy I had that training. It’s been so valuable to my career, and I’ve used it on almost everything I’ve done since.” said Holland in an interview. https://heavy.com/movies/2017/07/tom-holland-gymnastics-dance-background-experience-billy-elliot/
Benefits of Ballet
Crossover - Ballet improves your balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance. Each of these benefits will improve physical performance across the board -- including in other sports. Fast ballet footwork can help with soccer, basketball, or football. Flexibility and strength will help to prevent injury. And endurance is key to making it through ballet class and overtime.
Self-Expression - The benefits of ballet aren't only physical and intellectual. Don't forget that just like girls, boys need to learn to deal with their emotions. Dance allows for defeats and triumphs in the classroom and on stage, and dancers learn to handle the emotional roller coaster of life through the highs and lows of their training.
In addition, ballet teaches us to show our emotions through our body language and that is key to expressing feelings that young dancers might not be ready to share verbally and that more mature dancers might not have any other outlet to express.
Opportunity - Let's start with the obvious. There are fewer men in ballet than there are women. That means better roles, a better chance of a college scholarship, and a possible professional career. (Not that the men don't work just as hard as the women, they do! But they have the numbers on their side as well).
Boys who take karate, soccer, basketball, football and hockey should all take ballet. It improves balance, lateral movement, footwork, coordination, timing, leg and core strength, and most importantly flexibility. Both the ability to avoid hits and increased flexibility reduces the risk and extent of serious injuries. Considering the risks associated with concussions and other risks to growing athletes, ballet could be great training for aspiring football players.
Overall, ballet is proven to improve an athlete’s strength, speed, agility, jumping, balance, and flexibility. Ballet also provides a mental training and concentration under stress that is directly applicable to team sports.
Ballet provides a unique and dynamic body training that many team sport athletes do not receive on a regular basis. The benefits are immeasurable.
Did you know that many athletes train with ballet?
All of us are familiar with the Jordan logo. You know, the silhouette of Michael Jordan jumping through the air with a basketball about to dunk. Did you know though, that in order to capture that image, Jordan performed a ballet move?Here are some professional athletes who have taken ballet to enhance their sports skills:
Barry Sanders, running back for the Detroit Lions from 1989-1998, is widely considered one of the finest running backs. Like Swann, Sanders is a pro football National Hall of Fame inductee holding records for rushing over 15,000 career yards and 99 touchdowns. Youth ballet classes also helped Sanders develop footwork and balance that made him successful in his plays. His ability to spin, duck, leap and so gracefully move the ball helped him dominate the league despite his mediocre team. His ability to avoid tackles also meant that he took fewer jarring hits, repeat smaller hits, injuries and concussions. He played well into his 30s and suffers little from injuries common to the sport.
1982 Heisman Trophy Winner MMA fighter Hershel Walker spoke of his respect for ballet: “I started ballet in my early 20’s. I studied for about ten years. Ballet is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. People don’t give it a lot of credit and think it’s easy but it’s very difficult.”
Lynn Swann, born in Alcoa Tennessee, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Swann revealed that the secret training routine that allowed him to pull off those catches was ballet. In regards to ballet training, Swann said:
“People don’t understand the physicality of dance. Rhythm, timing, body control, coordination. The finish of one move is also the preparation for the next move. I started developing an ability to feel very comfortable in the air. Some of the catches I made that you see in the highlights, I’m up in the air catching a pass. Body control comes into play, the dance ability comes into play. and boom, it’s all there.
Willie Gault played college football at the University of Tennessee from 1979 to 1982. He led the Vols in all-purpose yardage as a sophomore, junior and senior, and was named to the All-American team in 1982.Gault played professionally for the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Raiders, and was a player on the winning team of Super Bowl XX.
The Chicago Bulls used to train in the off-season with that city’s famed Joffrey Ballet during The Jordan Rules era.