Why Ballet?…For Boys

Brian Heil, SPAA Alum, attended Vassar College, earned BA in Computer Science and played on the Rugby Team, Currently dancing professionally with Ballet Austin

Brian Heil pictured at age 16, SPAA Alum, attended Vassar College, earned BA in Computer Science and played on the Rugby Team, Currently dancing professionally with Ballet Austin

"Ballet is probably the one single discipline in the arts that does more good for any young person than any other thing you could do to improve your sports skills. Any good coach who's worth their salt recognizes the benefits of ballet when combined with any type of sport.

I've heard of hockey coaches and whole hockey teams (pee-wee level - age 12) who have hired ballet instructors for part of the kids training curriculum. There was one particular hockey team playing up in North Bay - Canada who had a phenomenal win record back in the late 70's, No one could figure out why these 12-year-old kids were so good. They were able to out-skate their opponents, pass the puck with precision control, stop on a dime and reverse direction, and hit slap shots that would take your head off... just like the big boys in the NHL.

Nobody could figure out why until one day when they were playing an "away game" in another town, one of the "hockey moms" (who was also a local ballet instructor in town) spotted it right away and just started to laugh. When they asked her what was so funny she simply told them "the reason that team is so good is because those boys take ballet as part of their hockey training".

Apparently part of the conditions for any boy who wanted to play hockey for this team had to take ballet classes. If they didn't want to comply with this rule, then you didn't play on that team - end of issue. When a local sports reporter got wind of this, he did a story on the team from North Bay. Apart from the normal power skating lessons, and regular hockey type training the boys had to take one hour of ballet lessons (in full outfit of tights and ballet slippers) before the actual "hockey practice" started. The lessons were conducted in a gymnasium located next to the hockey rink. The boys were initially sworn to secrecy and told not to tell anyone about their special "ballet hockey warm-up". The kids had ballet and hockey practices three to four times per week.
Although the parents knew about it, the coaches just wanted to have the winning edge over other teams. They knew that eventually the story would leak out and when it did, it opened the eyes of many other coaches in the leagues."

-Author Unknown

Photo-Collage