The health benefits of ballet are proven, but can it also make you a better leader? Shellie Karabell, writing for Forbes, has some fantastic points to make.
1. You learn to focus. All those pirouettes don’t just happen. Dancers “spot” in order to turn. You choose a “spot” in the room or on the stage and keep your eyes on it, whipping your head around at the last minute to find the spot again. This is another version of “keep your eye on the goal,” but pirouettes bring with them an opposing allegory: if you don’t “spot,” you will become dizzy and fall down.
2. You learn to do several different things simultaneously. In ballet, your feet will be doing one thing while your arms are doing something else. Like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. Or like multi-tasking. But in ballet you learn to make things look effortless and graceful.
3. You learn that repetition and rehearsal lead to mastery. In other words, hard work and drilling may sound old-fashioned but they are time-proven effective way to learn a skill. Practice makes perfect. There are no short cuts.
4. You meet and spend a lot of time with people from all walks of life. In my years at the barre, I have met finance professors, international shipping executives, TV producers, elementary school teachers, oil industry executives…Cubans, Russians, Americans, French, Germans, British…gay, straight, men, women. In adult classes you will find a aide demographic spectrum – from teenagers to septuagenarians – all trying their best, undaunted, with varying levels of success. It’s diversity training at its best.
Ballet dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
5. You learn to “present” yourself. Not in an overly dramatic ostentatious way. Basically, the posture and alignment you get at the barre will make you a more commanding figure. Good posture goes a long way in helping you put your best foot forward (literally!), and it’s good for your health.
6. You finish things. Not knowing the routine, losing your tiara, missing a beat in the music is no excuse to stop in the middle of your routine. You ad lib the steps, ignore the fallen tiara, vamp until you re-locate the beat and you keep going. Then you “end” in a pose rather than just “stop.”
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