The benefits of ballet

The proceeds from four performances by emerging Russian dancers from the distinguished Bolshoi Ballet Academy will benefit the University Research Institute for Mental Health, it was announced earlier this week. At the news conference announcing the upcoming performances for October 27-30, several mental health experts discussed the main issues in mental health and tied in the Bolshoi Academy’s work with the idea of dancing as «therapy.» Professor K.N. Stefanis, the institute’s director, talked about «Mental Health: A Global Need in the Modern World.» Marina Economou, who specializes in combating the stigma attached to mental illness, spoke on the «Taboo of Mental Illness.» And psychiatrist-drama therapist Lambros Giotis discussed «Art as a Place and Way for Destigmatization.» Also in attendance, Zoe Paneriti, a dance instructor-therapist, commented on the «perception of limits and coordination offered by the art of classical dance to the dancer, actor, and every individual that attempts expression through dance.» Also known as the Moscow State Dance Academy, the Bolshoi academy is one of the world’s longest-running dance academies. The repertoire to be presented by the academy’s young male and female dancers will include excerpts from «The Nutcracker» and «Swan Lake.»