4 Things I Learned from BALLET (not what you would expect)

October 20, 2018 by VAHVA Fitness

4 things I learned from ballet. Our journey towards discovering the best methods to develop the body continues. 

If you have followed our journey, we have tried many things in the past and continue to test our physiques in different arts and sports.

Although we already have our own method of training, we still take ideas from everywhere to expand our point of view and enlighten our perspective.

VAHVA Method is the essence, the heart of it all but like everything in life, our methods continue to grow and expand to something better and more refined.

This not only allows us to train ourselves better but it also allows us to provide better training programs and better education for our audience so they can get better results themselves. 

When we try something, we don't just try it once - rather we immerse ourselves in the art and try to dig deep into the art form. Sometimes this may take up to a year.

The reason why we do this is that we are not so arrogant to think we have all the answers. The solutions can come from many unexpected sources you would have never guessed beforehand. 

This is why it's good to try different things. You never know the truth unless you experience it first hand. Observation only gives you maybe 10% of the truth.

Sometimes "the secret" of the art or the sport is the special tempo, a small tweak in the execution of a movement,  or how certain body mechanics are performed. 

Despite trying new things, we still stay true to ourselves and keep the essence of our own method. We have stated before that everything has to be integrated into one system or otherwise it will not work.

If you just try many different things and glue them together without any deeper underlying principles, the result will only be a big mess. It may sound smart but in practice it doesn't work.

This time, we offer you some great insights from the European dance called ballet. Here are 4 great things we have learned from ballet.

1. Connecting to your audience

"Showing off" is not necessarily a bad thing (ego training is bad) - in fact most dances, martial arts and strength sports have this performance aspect in them. It's a healthy part of life.

In ballet, performing to your audience is pretty much the main thing and for that reason it has been finely refined.

Even when you train, you must always take the audience into account (even when there isn't one) and make sure you are performing for others - not just for yourself.

Whether you want to do amazing bodyweight stunts or show off your dance skills, learning how to perform and connect to your audience is pretty much half of the task when it comes to looking impressive.

2. Attention to detail

Many "manly" sports and training styles are rather raw and simplistic - which is a good thing but only up to a certain point. 

In ballet, every detail has to be perfect. Ballet dancers pay attention to their feet and even the tip of their fingertips. 

A small change in the angle of your hip or shoulder joint can ruin the posture. 

In ballet, attention to detail is incredibly important. Similar accuracy and definition can also be found from many Chinese martial arts such as Tai Chi and Qigong.

The reason why sophistication and attention to detail matter is because they will largely determine how detailed and sophisticated the end product (your physique and movement ability!) will end up.

If your training methods are overly simplified, it's like carving a statue with a big hammer. It works but if you want more detail and more sophistication, you need more refined and developed tools.

An excerpt from the last article "Simple Complexity of Movement Training":

3. Rhythm and tempo

Every training form has its own unique rhythm and tempo. Every human being also has his or her own unique rhythm and tempo.

When you join a ballet class, you must perform the movement with a certain rhythm and tempo that is unique to the ballet alone.

This may not seem much but in reality, following a different pace compared to your own is one of the best ways to increase the effectiveness of the movement (or exercise). 

Tempo is one of the biggest secrets to ultimate results. All arts and crafts have their own unique tempo which changes the stimulus of different exercises or movements a lot. (Source)

We already realized this in the military: marching to your own beat is easy but when you need to follow the pace of someone else, it starts to get cruciating very fast. 

4. Hip mobility

Ballet dancers don't just have the most flexible legs but they also have serious levels of mobility in their hips. In fact, some dancers can almost use their legs like they are arms!

This Instagram video is not ballet but it demonstrated the level of control and strength you can have in your lower body.

One of the big reasons why we gravitate towards dances like ballet was that ballet dancing is all about the stand-up. 

When it comes to health, posture and performance, mastering the stand up is the most important thing. 

Bar exercises are great but they should not be prioritized to the same degree because the strength doesn't transfer as well to daily activities, most sports, dances and martial arts. 

You get better at what you frequently do and being good at hanging is not as important as being good at standing up or crawling on the floor. 

In ballet, you will become the master of your hips. Although our hip training was already at a high level, we learned several good cues from ballet.

We would also like to mention that trying out different art forms like ballet hasn't been the easiest thing to do. It hasn't come naturally.

We didn't grow up as dancers (almost the exact opposite) and the world of art was initially very foreign to us. We are just regular people who are willing to experience new things to further our education.

It takes guts to try things outside of your comfort zone and step into a world that is nothing like yours but that is how you grow.

Stay strong.

samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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