I went to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden yesterday to see the Royal Ballet dance Prokoviev’s “Romeo and Juliet”. I must have seen this production 5-6 times and I never tire of it (I’m such a “culture-vulture”!)
I always admire the grace, poise and artistry of the dancers, but on the train home I got thinking I reckon a male ballet dancer would make a pretty good lightweight rower, so I thought I’d write a little blog about it.
“Rubbish” I hear you cry….but not so fast, here’s my reasoning;
Ballet dancers (male and female) are outrageously fit, their training routine would make many Olympic athletes quiver. For the male dancers they are also extremely strong, the lifts they have to perform are by no means easy (although part of their art is to make it appear so, and it requires great technique). So, they are fit and they are strong, but it goes further than that. For me what would make a male dancer a good rower is the ability to learn specific movements and in-grain that in their muscle memory. Dancers have an incredible awareness of what their body is doing. I reckon if you taught a dancer the “perfect” sculling stroke they would have no problem in repeating it time after time after time. A dancer, obviously, also has exceptional balance and poise.
I would love to take a couple of top male dancers from the Royal Ballet, guys like Steven McRae
and Edward Watson
Stick them in a double scull with intensive coaching from the likes of Robin Williams and I reckon within 2-3 months they could get to a damn good standard. My only concern is that they would be too worried about it looking”right” rather than fast!
So, if ballet dancers would make good rowers is the reverse true…..hmmm….in a word…no! But I do think that rowers would benefit from doing some ballet training. The flexibility and balance of a dancer could only be of benefit to rowers (plus I would pay to see the likes of Reed, Hodge, Sbihi put through their paces at the barre 🙂 ). Pity it’ll never happen….