Gymnastics and ballet can compliment each other, particularly in the dancer’s initial years. Some of the most advantageous aspects of gymnastics for a young dancer would be increased flexibility, core strength and improved balance. Tumbling and work on high bars is great for developing the vestibular system, which helps enormously in achieving balance and coping with lifts and turns later in a dancers career.
Another area that gymnastic training can improve ballet, is by it’s focus on flexibility and strength in different ranges. The focus and discipline in perfecting gymnastic moves also helps in developing tenacity, which is a very undervalued trait in many youngsters.
In addition, many companies now have an extensive contemporary repertoire. Many dancers who have not had extensive contemporary or gymnastics training often struggle with the strength requirements through the upper body in this kind of work.
The specific contradictions between ballet and gymnastics would be the limited use of hip rotation (turnout), the possibility of overbuilding the upper body, stiff positioning of the arms and limited use of plie.
However, overall we believe that early gymnastics training can offer many positive attributes to ballet as an art form.
Written by; Vicki Attard