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Where Fitness and Art Converge

Sunday with my Daughter and the Moscow Festival Ballet

It’s not every day I get to soak up a little culture and spend the whole day with my favorite curly-topped munchkin.

But last Sunday afternoon provided more than just another father/daughter date and a chance to check out a great theater in San Ramon. It was also a rare opportunity to behold some of the finest athletes on the planet.

One of my clients who frequents theater, opera and ballet told me about this show, at the Dougherty Performing Arts Center in San Ramon, and, knowing my daughter was a fan of dancing, suggested I get tickets.

We both had a great time. But what kept creeping into my awareness was that, as beautiful as it was, it was also a perfect example of some of the most important elements of fitness, and those I try my best to impart to my clients and class students, as well as to the trainers to whom I presented when I was a continuing education provider:

  • Strength – This is more than the ability to apply external force, like lifting a heavy object. Much more useful is a high strength-to-body weight ratio. This determines how easily you get up from a seated or lying position and how easily you move around when you are up. Few capacities have a bigger influence on physical quality of life. Ballet dancers are peerless in this regard.
  • Stamina – How they manage to move around the stage with the power, grace, control and fluidity they do without breaking a visible sweat astounds me. I doubt there’s anything harder that performers make look easier.
  • Flexibility – Joints were meant to be taken seamlessly through their entire anatomic range; but few of us can achieve that. These artists demonstrate the pinnacle of achievable human movement.
  • Core stability – None of the above would be possible without a dizzying array of muscles between the ribs and the base of the pelvis orchestrating a symphony of dynamic and static stabilization functions.
  • Body composition - The aesthetic of the human body is largely a subjective thing. Different people like different body types. But, really, can you think of a single shortcoming or imbalance that exists on the magnificent frames of these specimens?

And perhaps, from my perspective, the most amazing achievement of all that I witnessed was one rapt-attention seven year old who uttered hardly a peep and clapped enthusiastically at all the right places.

A fine performance, indeed.

Want to talk in-person? I’m usually at the studio http://trivalleytrainer.com/ and can always be reached at Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com .

Dan Perez February 25, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Yes, ballet is a great example of the physical abilities of the human body. I find it amazing how the dancers seem to violate the laws of physics and defy gravity. Gymnasts are also a wonder to watch. I did intramural gymnastics in college, and developed a lot of respect for the sport. It requires every single muscle fiber in your body to be strong!

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