Study Session: The Waltz of the Romanian Traffic Officers

Where: Timisoara, Romania

When: 2008

What: A police officer walks into a barre... No, really! In one small, Romanian town, community police officers were required to take ballet lessons from professional dancers to help them in the line of duty. In Romania, it's not uncommon to use traffic officers in addition to stoplights and signs to direct cars and people. The idea for the dance classes came about as a way to improve the officers' efficiency, ease of movement, precision, and overall positive energy while managing the traffic in Timisoara, Romania. In total, twenty officers took part in the experiment, participating in beginner classes twice a week from former professional ballet dancers from the Timisoara Opera Ballet.

"The aim is to develop an ability to regulate traffic and achieve elegance in their movements, which will not only be agreeable to the eyes but could also help drivers waiting at red lights get rid of their stress or sadness," said Dorel Cojan, the head of the community police.

In a move straight out of a rehearsal director's playbook, the officers were first filmed as they directed and controlled traffic. Then, they were able to rewatch the footage and pinpoint any awkward movements they made.  As many dancers know, this can be an extremely educational method and is a great way to self-correct habits or mannerisms. While training, the officers reportedly practiced to the music of Tchaikovsky and continued classes for about a month.

With just a little bit of barre-work and an increase in body awareness, these twinkle-toed officers were able put smiles on the faces of pedestrians and stressed drivers, all while keeping the streets of Romania safe and accident free.

 

 

Sources:

All the Jam's a Stage for Romanian Traffic Police; Kate Connolly, The Guardian.

Traffic Cops Hope Ballet Moves Will Soothe Stressed Drivers; Rachel Shields, The Independent.

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