Often when people are considering whether or not to enroll themselves or their children in ballet dance classes, images come to mind of arduous, maybe even torturous dance instruction. Such images might come to mind due to popular media representations of ballet. What these images and representations of ballet classes fail to take into account is that, with few exceptions, ballet dance classes are not organized or planned with the intention of raising up the next generation of prima ballerinas. Rather, they are geared towards introducing and developing concepts and practices that, though they are specific to the context of ballet, provide benefits to individuals in many contexts. Ballet dance classes can help instill a wide array of skills, abilities, and general health benefits to anyone who attends them, whether the learning and mastering of ballet is the end goal or not.

It is widely accepted among those in the dance community that taking ballet classes is beneficial for individuals interested in improving their dancing skills in any area of dance. In fact, the New York Film Academy uses ballet as the basis for learning all dance techniques. In learning ballet, you are not just learning the difference between an assemblé and an arabesque; rather, you are developing your line (the overall shape and position of the body), posture, flexibility, and more generally, your strength. 

Perhaps the most interesting and even startling example of how ballet dance classes are beneficial beyond the specific realm of ballet is how it has been incorporated into the workout regimen of high-level professional athletes such as Steve McLendon. At 6 feet 3 inches and 320 pounds, McLendon has played professional football since 2010, both for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets. In an interview in 2013 with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McLendon described how his off-season workout includes ballet classes, which have helped improve his dexterity and helped him ward off injury. 

The transferrable benefits of ballet have been so widely acknowledged that in the past ten years or so, barre exercise classes — a form of exercise that borrows elements from ballet and couples them with other exercise forms like yoga and ballet — have grown in popularity across the country. No matter your specific health and fitness goals, whether you're hoping to improve your dancing abilities, ward off football injuries, or become a generally healthier individual, taking ballet dance classes can help you achieve them.