5 Reasons Every Dad Should Take Ballet
When you learn you are about to be a father, most guys immediately start thinking about the million-and-one things they need to do over the next 18 years to ensure their little one grows up happy and healthy. Your to-do list suddenly includes responsibilities like baby-proofing the house, setting up a college fund and putting your potty mouth in check.
One item that we highly recommend adding to this list is taking an adult ballet class. There are myriad benefits – from improving your health to strengthening your relationships – that every dad-to-be will surely want to take advantage of.
It’s Good For You
“Dad-bod” is a real thing. In the months and years following the birth of a child, many men experience a physical transformation. Their arms gain muscle from lifting their child over and over while they gain fat around their middle from stress, lack of sleep, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Like yoga and Pilates, ballet gives you a full-body workout with a process that emphasizes stretching, lengthening the muscles and developing a lean, flexible physique. Even taken once a week, ballet can help your body stand up to the newfound challenges of fatherhood. As an added bonus, you get to skip the intimidation that can come from going to the gym. Instead of lifting weights next to the 25-year-old bodybuilder who spends three hours a day on the squat rack, you will be sharing the room with other dancers who are likely at your experience level.
It Sets You Up For Bonding Time
There are few cuter scenes at a dance studio than the morning “mini” dance classes. Toddlers spend 30-60 minutes learning very basic ballet principles while getting to laugh, jump, skip, sing and dance. In most of these classes, a parent will join their child in studio and quite often it’s mainly moms.
By familiarizing yourself with ballet and getting comfortable with the practice, you are setting yourself up to be able to enjoy this time with your little one on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Instead of being the awkward dad who feels completely out of place, you can have a weekly space doing something your child loves. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to score some bonus points by giving your spouse some quiet time to themselves while you two are at class.
It Sets a Beautiful Example
While our society is taking great strides to break down some of the gender stereotype walls in our culture, there is a long way to go. Many boys do not take dance purely for fear that they will be teased or because they feel like “dancing is for girls.” They may be curious about dance, but feel intimidated to take a class. Or maybe it’s not ballet. Maybe they want to try sewing, knitting, cooking, figure skating or any number of other activities that have historically been labeled “feminine.”
If you take a ballet class, you can help dispel those myths in the most powerful way possible – with your own actions. Imagine the message it will send to your son when he sees that his dad is comfortable enough in his own skin to plié and pirouette.
It’s Time For You
Most dads have a day-to-day schedule that consists of wake up, dash to the office, work 9-10 hours, dash home, try to enjoy an hour or two with the kiddos before bed, try and enjoy a few quiet moments with your spouse and then pass out before repeating the process again. For stay at home dads, there’s no commute or time in the office, but there are hours upon hours of snacks, tantrums, runny noses, playground trips and errands to accomplish. When the weekend rolls around, it can be easy to be swallowed by the to-do list. As a modern dad, committed to being a full-partner in parenting and an engaged figure in your child’s life, there’s little time left for yourself.
Signing up for a ballet class ensures that you take an hour or two each week to connect with who you are. In your class, you are surrounded by other adults. You move your body fluidly to peaceful music. You stretch, you breathe, you focus, you relax. It can be a wonderful reset for yourself every week.
There’s No Pressure
As a dad, life is a pressure cooker. Whether you are a breadwinner in the office all day, stressing about meeting deadlines and paying bills, or a stay-at-home dad that spends every waking moment trying to keep your children safe, alive and happy, there is great pressure to perform. In an adult ballet class, that pressure just does not exist.
If you’re in your late teens or early twenties, a career in ballet is possible, but for almost all guys reading this post, we’re never going to be pas de deux-ing with the prima ballerina of our local dance company. Everyone there is taking class for fun and enjoyment. There’s no pressure to be the best, to hit a certain target or achieve a certain level of performance. You just need to show up and do your best.
Adult ballet classes are a unique opportunity for dads to focus on their health, while supporting the growth and development of their kids and investing in the health of their relationship.
At BFA, we fully support and endorse shared responsibilities for both spouses in the home. We are not suggesting that certain responsibilities are “men’s work” or only up to a man to tackle. Any examples given are not meant to be gender-specific, but merely examples of tasks that men might typically think of when they enter fatherhood.
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