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Practice at home do's and don'ts?

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Hey,

I've searched for a topic that already answered my questions but I can't find one. Maybe I overlooked feel free to notify me if that's the case.

I love ballet and I want to practice at home. This, however, brings up a few questions.....

  1. Can I practice on the pointe exercises from class at home or is this a bad idea?
  2. If you do cardio (running for example), normal barre, choreo, strength training, stretching and (pre)pointe work at home should you do this in a certain order?
  3. How do you guys practice at home if at all?
  4. What are other do's and dont's?

Thanx, Crocro

 

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Victoria Leigh

Crocro, I read your post in Welcome before coming here, and I do have to first address the idea that you have point shoes after 6 months of classes. This is a big red flag in terms of the quality of training.  I don’t have time right now to go into all of the reasons, but there is a ton of info on this board about it. Please spend some time reading about how to find a good school, and also the facts about pointe work.  There is even a topic entitled Facts of Life About Pointe!

in terms of practice at home, we do not recommend it for beginning level students, but one can always work on improving posture and alignment, stretching and articulating the feet, and floor exercises for rotation from the hips, stretching hamstrings, strengthening abs, etc.  

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Redbookish

The best way to learn ballet is to learn ballet - in the studio with a reputable teacher.

To supplement that, exercise on your own out of the studio is good, but not ballet! 

My reasoning: it is just as easy to ingrain bad habits as good ones; if you're a beginner, you won't know how to avoid the bad habits. Your teacher will.

However, you can do cross-training to help ballet. So aerobic activity (running, cycling, swimming) will help with the stamina you need for allegros. Work on your core (Pilates, yoga) will help give you stability at the barre & centre. Weight training will give you strength and stability.

Here on the Adult Ballet Students section, if you do a search or read through threads, you'll find lots of ideas & experiences from other adult dancers about what they do to help their ballet studies. Sometimes it's not possible to get more than 1 or 2 classes a week (I'm in that situation) so you do need to supplement your dancing with other activities. But make those activities complementary, so you don't develop bad habits. 

 

 

 

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Coriander9

At-home practice has been essential to my progress as an adult. I don't have the option to take 5 classes a week like a regular teen student, there just aren't enough adults.

1. I go over my corrections from class

2. do a barre (just barre) that's under my level on youtube (like Kathryn Morgan), at my kitchen counter, in front of a windowing in which I can see my reflection and really focus on placement once or twice a week

3. I do a stretch routine when I get home from class, post-exercise, and/or after a hot shower (warm muscles, I'll even keep the heat going in the car on the way home to stay warm)

4. I've been doing Lisa Howell's perfect pointe program (~$20 pdf on her website)

5. I like Ballet Beautiful a lot and have been using it for something like 6 years. Pilates in general is good; so is yoga but I'm loose-jointed by nature and get injured with yoga

6. I like to run once or twice a week but make sure to do rond de jambes afterwards (Ballet Beautiful has 10min routine that I pop on as soon as I get back inside) followed by my usual stretching routine while I am still hot. 


Ask your teacher what you can do between classes! Mine gave me some suggested exercises and stretches and there's no better feeling than improving. One class a week isn't going to do much besides teach you combinations. 

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Victoria Leigh

Keeping yourself in good shape is essential, and consistent exercise is the main key. The exercises in ballet training need to be practiced only when one has had enough quality training to know what they are doing and how to do it correctly. As Redbookish said:

Quote

 

"To supplement that, exercise on your own out of the studio is good, but not ballet!" 

"My reasoning: it is just as easy to ingrain bad habits as good ones; if you're a beginner, you won't know how to avoid the bad habits. Your teacher will."

 

In addition to the very limited training of the original poster, I'm afraid that I also have to question the quality factor, due to a teacher who allows a student of six months to have pointe shoes. 

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dancemaven

Posters please note this one of our restricted forums.  All may read, but only Adult Ballet Students and the Moderators may post.  :thumbsup:

A few well1meaning posts were removed. 

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Redbookish

That's a great routine, Coriander. I run (slowly and not very far B)), and have just started weekly personal training [aka torture] sessions with a personal trainer who is excellent. We're focussing on strength, and high intensity interval training. It's tough, but I'm learning to do things I'd never imagined I could do.

I stretch after those sessions as my big muscle groups are very warm. I actually don't stretch in class or even after, as I find I don't get warm enough and also stretching actually weakens the muscle fibres before it stretches and strengthens them, so it's not great to do in the middle of class. 

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Coriander9
7 hours ago, Redbookish said:

That's a great routine, Coriander.

 I actually don't stretch in class or even after, as I find I don't get warm enough and also stretching actually weakens the muscle fibres before it stretches and strengthens them, so it's not great to do in the middle of class. 

Thanks! 
That's interesting about the stretching. I've heard the same thing that stretching [temporarily] weakens the area. I've been told off by the director about stretching before class. Now I just do some light, dynamic exercises and theraband stuff. Our teacher has us do a stretching combination in the middle of class (before center) and I mentally always thought of it as a test to see if I've progressed in flexibility since last class instead of a true stretch routine hahaha (since I'm in a syllabus class, I think they're trying to teach the younger students *how* to stretch properly). I prefer long stretch sessions after a good workout too. 

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Guest

Hey,

I've thought really hard about how to respond and I've talked to several people since reading the first few reactions.

1. thanx for the advice to not do new stuff on my own. I will keep it in mind.

2. About your doubts about my pointe work. I've had 2 teachers tell me it is ok because my feet are ready. And I also went to check if my pointe shoes fitted in a shop yesterday. I asked her about those '3' years of training and if it could be that it wasn't save. She responded that as I'm an adult and my feet are ready for it it's fine. Especially because I'm only doing some VERY basic barre exercises. And when 3 professionals who actually saw me stand on them and even do exercises say it's perfectly save as long as I don't rush it, I'm inclined to believe them. Especially since you guys can't see me and they can.

The lady who fitted my pointe shoes even said that when she gets adult dancer's who's feet are strong en flexible enough that also want to do pointe she prefers to start pointe not too late in the process because this way the dancer doesn't have to go back to basic when she starts pointe but grows more evenly spread across flats and pointe. I'm not sure if my point is clear as it's rather difficult to translate someone elses opinion from Dutch to English like that without the nuances going awry.

It did make me realise though that if I have questions about what to do and more importantly what NOT to do, I better just ask my QUALIFIED  teacher. 

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Redbookish

Glad that you've found feedback & ideas here useful. And that you've double-checked about safety of pointe work.  As you say, we can't see you in this virtual world.

However, please don't be dismiss the teachers who post here, just because we can't see you. If you look at the biography of Ms Leigh, for example, you'll see that she has danced in one of the top companies in the world, then taken a full degree and further professional training in teaching ballet. We are lucky to have her advice, and it's always worth listening to. 

Happy dancing, and keep us updated on your progress! It's always good to hear about other adult dancers' journeys into this wonderful art form.

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Coriander9

CroCro,

Exactly. Just ask your teacher. I periodically ask mine what extra exercises I could do between classes--they are more than willing to lead me along; they'll be more familiar with your individual weaknesses. Not sure why there's so much fuss over the length of time you've been dancing ballet when your only other [brief] post says you danced for years in another genre. I'd be quick to dismiss it too but I've seen someone with your exact stats do a decent job as an adult pointe student (Natalie Danza) and seen other adult students do similarly.  

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Victoria Leigh

Topic closed. 

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