In a recent interview with People, actor Chris Pine has revealed his newfound love of ballet, saying he wishes he had started “years ago”. The celebrity, who stars in the next spy movie All the old knives alongside Thandiwe Newton and Michelle Williams, came to ballet in a rather unusual way.
“I had watched this video of this great Russian dancer dancing to Hozier in this church. I was like, ‘Who is this guy? I want to look like this. He’s a ballet dancer. And I was like, ‘I should take ballet,'” Pine said. “It’s an amazing workout.” [Editor’s note: For those who are curious, although Pine doesn’t name the exact video in question, we’re pretty sure he’s talking about a 2015 music video directed by David LaChapelle, starring dancer Sergei Polunin. You can watch it here.]
Ballet, like other dance and movement styles, offers a range of health benefits. The physical benefits are pretty simple: it builds coordination, strength, flexibility, and balance. But the mental health benefits get a little more interesting. According to one study, dancing has a “revitalizing” effect on people suffering from depression; while another study showed that traditional dance forms have the potential to maintain the functional ability of older people and help them lead “a more qualitative and independent lifestyle”. And other studies have shown that dancing has additional positive effects on the brain. One study found it may help arrest age-related cognitive decline or even improve neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to form new pathways in response to new information) in another review.
Pine went on to say that he thinks dance is a unique way to express yourself through the body, and also to find some kind of balance. “I find it so beautiful, because you have to be so strong and so masculine, so to speak, but also very gentle and feminine with your arms and hands. It’s just a very difficult art form,” said said the actor.
He is certainly right. It’s no secret that ballet dancers often undergo demanding, highly technical training for a decade or more, and often begin practicing at a very young age. Along with the obviously competitive job market, injuries are considered by some to be “an inevitable part of a ballet career.” However, if you want to take up ballet as a new hobby or to spice up your workouts, there are less strenuous ways to try it, like Pine did. You can take beginner courses in your area or even search for training online.