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Do Other Sports Help You in Ballet?

Guest rachmay2

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Guest rachmay2

Hello All,


I am new to this boad and I have really enjoyed reading the posts. I'm a returning ballet student at the age of 30. I'm starting with an adult beginners class. I took classes as a kid and abruptly stopped at 18, when I packed my bags to go to college. I got as far as beginning to start en pointe (toe shoes), but it seems like ages ago. I never got far at all with toe shoes, because my feet hurt too darn much! I guess I was a wimp :green:


But I found over the last few months a longing to return to ballet. Seeing Sarah Brightman's harem concert recently and watching the dancers move, was a big inspiration for me! I think I'm enjoying it now more than I ever did as a kid. I appreciate it more. I took my first class a week ago and loved it, though I was nervous as heck! There was some disappointments and surprises with coming back to class after a 12+ year absence. I was disappointed that there was so much terminology and technique I had forgotten. But I was pleasantly surprised, I could still do turns across the floor (though somewhat shakily since I forgot to spot!!). And my passes & pieroete (spelling???) are still there. Arabesque - shaky!Unforunately, we did not have class this week, due to Martin Luther King day, so to prevent myself from going into withdrawal, I invested in the Joffrey Ballet fit book and the NYCB Workout on DVD. I'm getting some good practice at home with the DVD and I recommend it. It's slowly helping me along and hopefully I will feel less foolish as go to more classes.


I enjoy other sports. I swim regularly, and I think in the long run this may be a help with the ballet. I think it's made my back, arms and legs quite strong. It's helped my stamina. My abs are my weak point. They need a lot of work. I play a good bit of tennis in the summer too.


Do other posters here engage in other sports/exercises to help/supplement their ballet or vice-versa?


I'd be interested in hearing your stories and thanks for letting me ramble :P



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  • Administrators

Hello rachmay, welcome to the Adult Ballet Students' forum here on Ballet Talk for Dancers! :P


I think it's great that you are back into dance after such a long time! We have a LOT of adult students here who have done the same thing.


Most sports are not a problem for adult students. There are some that we don't like too much for "on track" teens, especially running. Swimming is fine on a recreational basis, and I played tennis for years and loved it! Skiing can be dangerous, and put one out of dance for some length of time, but again, with an adult student that is a choice you can make that a pre-professional or professional dancer cannot. So, enjoy your sports and your ballet! :green:

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Guest kristinene

Welcome rachmay2!


I took some gymnastics in high school, which in hindsight was a mistake (I was only doing it for fun and ended up messing up my wrists pretty badly). But, it gave me confidence with some of the 'contemporary' movements used in some modern ballet and dance pieces (hand stands, falls, etc.). As for helping my technique I think the best supplements I've found are pilates and yoga. They've helped me build strength and gain some flexibility, especially in places that ballet doesn't always 'hit'.

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Hi rachmay,

My story is simular to yours, i recently returned to dance although not ballet - which is new to me. I took jazz classes untill 16 yrs of age. I stopped because i felt that i didnt fit in at class and i was terribly shy at the time. Instead of helping my confidence it made me feel insecure - like i would never be good enough.

I also took salsa classes to gold level, i stopped these classes because i needed the time and money towards ballet.

Currently i take tae kwon do classes, which i think helps in alot of ways - general fitness, stamina, discipline, confidence, flexibility and we also do some stretches which helps to open the hips. The only thing i dont think compliments ballet is a couple of the kicks (where the foot is flexed not pointed!)


I would like to try pilates and yoga as i hear that they help a great deal as kristinene also pointed out.

I bet that every time you take another class, something else will come back to you.

Good luck with it all

Cassy :)

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In addition to my many ballet classes, I started recently a flying trapeze course :) at the circusspace in London and will start a tight wire walking course next month as well. It is great fun and it is nice to train some different muscles. :wacko:

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I work out twice a week and this helped me a lot with back strenght and leg strenght but normally it is the other way around. I practice also WT (a martial art, based on Kung Fur) and there I get the moves faster as the other students and I have the highes kicks and I am - like in ballet - reaching for perfection and that loves my WT-teacher (because many other students work sloppily)

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I quit dancing at the age of 17 and returned three years later! I'm now 40 and have been dancing ever since!


I'm not really into sport or exercise for exercise sake - I suppose I am a total "dyed in the wool bunhead". When I had more time on my hands I did ride a lot - and had my own horse. However, I wouldn't really call competitive riding "complementary" to ballet, just another activity I had done since childhood and loved. I quit riding at 14 so I could dance more and returned to that at 24.


I really only have time to do two or three ballet classes a week and one Pilates class. My nearest and dearest sees little enough of me as it is and I work full time.


However, I would say that particularly for dancers, Yoga or Pilates is very helpful, especially as you get older and those aches and pains start to catch up. Dancers are particularly bad at breathing and push themselves beyond their physical limits. Yoga and Pilates teach you to breathe and also to re-align your body. Also - I only started Pilates about 4 years ago, but I found myself being able to do many things which I suppose I've been able to do all my life but with a "twinge" with no strain at all! That is what i think is the wonderful thing of learning Pilates with a good well trained instructor - it totally re-educates your body.


I've only been to two yoga classes ever and disliked both heartily - mopst probably due to the teachers more than anything else. Neither time did they spot that I was a beginner and stop me from overworking - come on a dancer can bend their body in any way they choose - if it hurts, our training tells us to smile and get on with it! Also I'm too down to earth and practical (I'm a scientist) to be able to swallow all the spiritual stuff which goes with yoga (or at least in the two experiences i've had there was a lot of spiritual stuff ;))

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Guest BalletBrat

As a former swimmer myself, I think it is one of the better sports in which to work the entire body and cardio-pulminary system without causing undue stress and strain on the joints. For those abs, FLIP TURNS! They are excellent for making nice strong tummies.


Yoga and Pilates has already been mentioned, which are the things I use now to supplement my ballet classes, unfortunatly, swimming is just too hard on the old sinuses these days. :)

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Guest BalletBrat

He , he, it kind of looks like a somersault actually, I never thought of it like that. :) You come to the wall, tuck your head, flip over onto your back with your knees bent at about a 90 degree angle ( like a parallel demi plie) your feet should connect with the wall as your body is now reclined arms stretched out tight over your head, you push off the wall and as you glide your body rights itself. If you ever watch swim meets, you'll notice this turn done in the freestyle events. It takes a strong use of the abdmoninals for the initial flip onto the back.

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I was never good at acrobatic tumbling but you are right, you definitely will get strong abs

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