Ballet isn’t measured by a referee or a panel of judges. It’s monitored by technique and measured by art. In ballet the opponent is perfection. It pairs mental challenges, physical extremes, and artistic technique to create something that can only hold one name, ballet.
Is synchro any different?
We chase perfection through extreme measures of athletics and artistry. The fundamentals of learning synchro to most begin in the water; however, if you want to be a world class athlete in this sport, it really begins at the barre. Male and female dancers practice, train and eat to develop peak physiques. The effortless grace of dance requires the highest level of skill, as does synchronized swimming.
There are many opinions on what type of training methods are needed for synchro. Is it gymnastics? Pilates? Yoga? Weight lifting? Ballet is the only discipline which offers each of those in one program. Ballet teaches us the discipline of mastering technique, needed for figures and technical elements. It gives the ability to define our physique using one’s own body weight. It develops flexibility with strength. It also teaches movement through the four pillars of choreography: Body, Effort, Shape and Space.
Seven years ago, I coached a young group of athletes ages 8-10 in the novice division of the US program. For six months three hours of ballet every Saturday was added to their 10 hours of weekly training. Our instructor was from the Bolshoi Theatre so during the week we continued their ballet training from the week priors lesson. Ballet improved the control of their positions in figures, their posture, their ability to synchronize their counts and their strength.
Their first time at the national age group stage the following year they finished 15th out of 48 teams. Ballet played a key role and the cost was only $20.00 per athlete per month.
Top teams around the world incorporate dance into their training regimen. Russia’s top clubs train about 1.5 hours of ballet two to three days per week. Ballet has been their fundamental cross-training program that has led to their many successes since 1997.
Other top athletes who have taken ballet for cross-training include: Virginie Dedieu, Evander Holyfield, Ray Emery, Natalia Ischenko, Tom Daley, Anna Kozlova and the list goes on.
So what pairs mental challenges, physical extremes and artistic technique to create something that can only hold one name?
It’s synchro and it’s because of ballet.
If you found this article interesting you can read our article Ballet, the key to reach far in which we explain each of the benefits of practicing ballet for synchronized swimming.