The Effectiveness of Classical Ballet as a Therapeutic Intervention: A Narrative Review

Allison M. Haussler, Gammon M. Earhart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There has been increasing research on the impact of dance as a therapeutic intervention and alternative exercise for improving physical health and psychosocial outcomes. Prior reviews center on specific populations, such as those living with Parkinson's disease or older adults, but few center on a specific dance style such as classical ballet. This review aims to synthesize the current literature on classical ballet as a therapeutic intervention for novices and analyze its effects on movement outcomes, perceived value, and other health outcomes to inform future research directions. In total, 23 articles were identified using PubMed and Scopus from inception through March 2022; 14 that met the inclusion criteria are discussed in this review. Altogether, the literature is extremely mixed-spanning different populations, intervention protocols, doses, and measurement tools-making comparisons difficult. Overall, classical ballet appears to be a safe and feasible intervention for multiple populations. Engaging in classical ballet may be associated with improvements in balance and postural control and has a high perceived value among participants and instructors, but the evidence is limited and of poor quality. Rigorous research is required to provide stronger, more credible evidence on the potential value of classical ballet as a therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
JournalAlternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023


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