S.Korean Soldiers Unwind With Ballet.
Guarding the North Korean border can be pretty stressful.
However, the South Korean army's 25th Division has found a rather interesting way to unwind - practicing ballet. The soldiers attend a weekly government-provided class, where they swap boots for ballet shoes and practice classic choreography, including splits, pirouettes, and pliés, under the instruction of a coach from the Korean National Ballet.
As soldiers assigned to monitor the Demilitarized Zone between the feuding countries, the environment can be pretty tense; however, Kim Joo-hyeok, one of the division's sergeants, sees ballet as a momentary escape from the front lines' hard reality:
"Through ballet, I am able to stay calm and find balance as well as build friendships with my fellow soldiers." And, despite the oddity of being ballet-dancing soldiers, Lieutenant Colonel Heo Tae-sun, another participating student, insists that it's actually a terrific workout:
"Ballet requires a great amount of physical strength and is very good for strengthening muscle, increasing flexibility, and correcting posture." Last year, the division gave an impressive performance of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' - so much so that they intend to reprise the show again this year.
So what do you guys think? Is ballet uniquely helpful at all? Should your country's military start offering ballet classes too?
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(Also, you can check out a clip with more footage of the soldier ballerinas hard at work in the embedded Korean news report embedded above!)