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Any research on health benefits of WATCHING ballet?


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I know that more and more studies are showing that doing dance has extraordinary benefits for both the body and the brain, especially as one ages, because it is such a complex activity. But I'm wondering if anyone knows about studies that might have been done about any brain-health benefits of WATCHING ballet (other than just making us happy, of course!) It occurred to me while watching the National Ballet's Nutcracker that one's brain is pretty engaged watching a performance because you are processing so many visual stimuli at once (the shapes created by the individual dancers, the patterns created by the group...) while also correlating that with the music, which itself can be very complex.

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Well us humans being the complex creatures we are I'm sure there will be some health benefits even if on the soul level.....which I'm sure is connected to the will to live!!

 

In a recent programme on sir John Tavener who died recently he said he liked to sit in the garden for hours to get inspiration(and connect on soul level no doubt) . Frederick Ashton said something similar.

 

So for less physically inclined individuals what a great combination!! Sitting in the garden and then going to the theatre to watch some ballet.....I'm pretty sure intuitively this is good for your health but obviously some hard research needed!!

Though sitting in the garden in the UK and Canada rather confined to the summer months.......I noticed it was minus 15 in Toronto the other day!!

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minus 19 tomorrow morning with a wind chill of .... minus 33. Tavener would never have got any music written.

 

It's 73 in San Diego, sunny and bright.....surf's up....so not much work getting done here, either.  Except it's time to prune the roses.

 

As for watching ballet being good for one's health - it surely is a lot healthier than a lot of other activities or things to watch.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anjuli. it's around 42F here and raining steadily - you're so lucky! 

 

I have to agree that even just watching ballet is good for you.  It really helped me when I was housebound with crippling back pain about 10 years ago.  Seeing ballet on the Arts channel helped lift my depression and got me out of the house to go and see some live performances.  I made lots of friends through the old Ballet.co website and going to the ballet is now a part of my life.  There was one strange side effect too in that I noticed that on darkened stage I could see a halo round the dancers in the spotlight. Puzzled,  I consulted an eye specialist and found I had cataracts that were slowly destroying my eyesight.  Lens replacement therapy gave me back my vision but I might not have had such an early diagnosis if it hadn't been for the ballet.

Edited by loveclassics
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I sometimes attend ballet with a friend who is in court all day dealing with child abuse cases and all of the distressing, complex evidence which they of necessity raise. She has always described watching ballet as therapy for her. She says she subconsciously unloads/processes a lot of her day/week despite (no doubt because of) being fully engaged in the ballet.  I think this is true for many of us - me too - but I have rather less to deal with during my working day thank goodness . . .    

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I recall reading an article about chap who suffered depression/anxiety/nerves and he had an episode whilst in Russia - he was sent to hospital for treatment but before he left one of the nurses told him to go and watch a ballet - he did and he said he felt so much better and of course he then became a ballet fan.  I too have found similar benefits when dealing with a variety of situations - I think it is the combination of having to concentrate on/watch the movements and listen to the music which is very soothing - Faure's music for Emeralds in particular comes to mind!  I also find that I HAVE to see a Swan Lake at least every 6 months it's funny but to me it is like one of the best calming pills you can swallow.  I would imagine that watching ballet is a "Right Brain" activity and it has been proven I am sure that people who use their Right Brain more (arts, painting, crafts, creative things) live longer too.

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... I also find that I HAVE to see a Swan Lake at least every 6 months ...

 

Ah, Don Q Fan, that made me laugh out loud  :lol:! I only started watching Ballet properly a year ago and I know just what you mean. I saw three Swan lakes last year and can't wait until the Autumn for the ENB SL.

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