Beginners Ballet

Ballet is an elegant form of dance that uses all your muscles in a complete workout. Although anyone of any age can perform some ballet moves, most dancers are children or young adults due to the physical endurance necessary. Here are some things any beginning dancer should know:

*Expect to stretch- a lot. Ballet shapes the body to specific forms. In order to reach those forms, the ballet dancer must stretch regularly. Legs, arms, back, and hips are all involved in stretching. Any ballet class should be begun and ended with stretching- if your teacher doesn’t have you stretching, find a new teacher. Daily stretching will create the fastest progress, but some stretches should be supervised. Ask your teacher what stretches are safe to do at home.

*Don’t expect to a ballerina on day one. Ballet takes a lot of coordination, balance, and flexibility. These take time to develop, especially if you want to stay injury free. Many ballet dancers start with the expectation of going up en pointe right away. Until proper strength is developed, doing so courts permanent injury. Take things slow. Your teacher will tell you when it is time for you to move up a level.

*You will be learning a new language along with your ballet. Ballet is traditionally taught using french terms, so you will be learning some new words along the way, such as plie (meaning bend at the knees) and barre (the bar the you hold while doing warm-up moves). You will also need to learn the numbers of specific positions for your feet (there are five). Your teacher will demonstrate along with telling you the name of the move or position.

*Don’t overdo it! While learning ballet, you will learn to “turn out” your feet (placing them with the toes facing outwards instead of forward). In this and other areas, it may seem like more is better. However, doing anything too quickly in ballet makes it very easy to get injured.

*Expect to spend quite a bit of time at the barre at the beginning. You will spend time at the barre doing introductory exercises that help you strengthen, tone, and stretch the right muscles. This is normal. As you strengthen, you will move in the center to learn things like turns and jumps. However, all ballet dancers continue to use the barre for their warm-ups and stretches throughout their dancing careers.

*Have fun! Ballet dancing is quite a bit of work. It is also quite a bit of fun! Enjoy getting to know your body better and using it to dance!