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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Activities when there are no classes


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No classes until the week after Labor Day, so thought I’d report on what I’m doing to keep “fit” in the meantime. Not that I’m doing anything great, but thought some might be interested in adopting parts of what I do (hummmm that sounds arrogant on my part, but isn’t intended to be).


Typically, during this time of year I combine running, weight training and exercises with some kind of dance, something like the ballet basics I’ve often spoken about. This year no running (the dog and I run together and it’s too hot for him) and minimal dance (because my emphasis has been and will continue to be on modern).


Essentially I’m doing two kinds of activities. One is a walking program. It consists of 3 one hour “speed walks,” two 90-120 minute walks, and one long walk (over 120 minutes) a week. The speed walks really aren’t that fast, though I do try to speed up on both up hills and down hills. I’ve found that at my age walking is actually a pretty good cardiovascular exercise that keeps weight off. Only trouble is that you do need to spend a lot of time doing it.


Part two I do right after the speed walks and is my dance exercise workout. It’s a mish-mash of yoga stretches, weight training, Pilates, and floor barre. I throw in some of the balances one does in ballet class, manage to do a promenade when I’m doing some exercise on one leg (no ballet pose however), and for some strange reason I have the desire to do rond de jambe l’air as a physical exercise (8 slow, 16 fast, both directions). I have no explanation for the ronds.


The dance exercise session lasts one hour and is done according to feel. There is no set routine. I do things with a flow (moving from one activity to another without rest) and according to the music I am playing (a college radio station that plays unusual music). No two sessions are the same. I always have a feeling that I’ve worked well once I’ve finished.


In the fall, I’m continuing what I did last year—strictly modern and Spanish. Last year I took two ballet classes on whims. Interestingly, I don’t think my ballet technique had degenerated (but did it ever exist?). My pirouettes were as good as ever (how I judge my ballet) and when standing on one leg I actually felt more turnout and strength in my supporting leg than I recall having when I was doing regular ballet. That I attributed to all the modern that does draw attention to what one’s middle is doing.

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Does running around after my kids count? :) With two weeks off after Monday, I'll probably stretch and keep my theraband handy for television time, but I'm actually feeling like I need the break, both mentally and physically.

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Guest pink tights

Blanche, I need a break too--mental and physical! Think I'll stick to walks and a little stretching. It really is OK to allow ourselves a break.

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Over the June four-week break, I practiced at home faithfully . . . once every 8-10 days whether I needed to or not. :) I also did several sets of 12-ounce curls (it was Diet Coke, but still not helpful). The results were not pretty. This time I plan be more conscientious and at least go through the barre work 3x/wk till we reconvene.

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Oops, I forgot to add that mowing the lawn (I push) counts toward walking. Just add the necessary walk time onto the mowing time.


By the way, chasing the kids around can be great exercise when done right. I’m serious. But you must do exactly as they do, run when they run, climb when they climb, jump around whenever they do. Minimum time is probably 30 minutes. Kids would probably love it and raise the intensity of their play just for you. I’m defining a kid as an individual below about age 10 also. No resting allowed either.

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:) Hmmm, well, I'm doing one class a week this summer - it's hot, hot and humid - dripping sweat by third or fourth exercise at barre. No A/C. Usually walk at lunch, take a break from the office computer, but again, very hot, so some days I'm just not into it...have also been playing beach volleyball with my boyfriend who has dragged me into this sport kicking and screaming since we at 47 have about 20 years on the other teams! As I sit here and type, I'm feeling the neck to toe aches and pains of last night's matches - this is definitely a young person's sport, but I'm bound and determined to finish our season. We've also moved up three rungs and are winning some matches, so all is not lost. :P
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With my metatarsals on my right foot off duty (broken big toe) I have found myself driven to do something besides my water class so as not to feel like I am starting over when classes start again in a few weeks; assuming I have medical clearance to go back at the time anyway.

I have used my home elliptical trainer and ab-doer more than ever before. I have done some pilates type stuff too.

I used the hotel elliptical trainer and reclining bicycle while on a 4 day conference with the hubby too. That worked pretty well. It didn't hurt my feet and I didn't gain weight in the face of buffets, banquet food and bourbon ###### like I was afraid I would. Last years equivalent conference put 5 lbs on me in 4 days....too much fried seafood...

I have always had trouble lining up my legs and feet on ecercise bicycles with my tibial torsion, but I figured out a way this time to keep comfortable. I use the toe straps on the bike pedals as heel cradles and I can freely turn out at the foot and keep my knees going straight ahead. I don't know how my ankles will react to this in the long run because I have to hold them pretty stiff to stay on, but I decided to keep it up at my home YMCA too. Their elliptical trainer didn't give me as much room to turn out as the hotel one did but it has nice pulse monitors and I like going backwards to vary which muscles work.

Today I went in and did my cardio stuff right before my water class as that has been lacking in intensity since a substitute teacher came in a couple of weeks ago. To my surprise, my regular teacher was back and the total of the two workouts wiped me out like when I first started moving my body again. I had to have a nap. I think I will keep it up though. As long as my foot rehab feels like just foot rehab rather than full body rehab when the time comes, I will be happy.

Wouldn't it be a kick if I went back in better condition than when we stopped classes?




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Laschwen, How did you break your toe?

OW... i hope you will be ok.




When its holidays for me, i like to take the dog for walks, and go to Body Balance or Pilates at the Gym. (but really i like to veg out on the couch and eat chocolate then lament at how gross i feel on the first week back at class with all the other girls.... tee hee hee)

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Laschwen, How did you break your toe?

OW... i hope you will be ok.





Hi Appleblossom. I'll be brief because I had a bunch about this on the boards back at the end of June when I did it.

Basically I had a forward spill when I was wearing a pair of dance sneakers and messing around after class. My toes kind or rolled, crunched under and a tendon pulled a small chunk of bone off the inside edge of my big toe. I was told some ligaments tore as well. I wasn't even planning on putting weight on that foot. It wasn't smart I guess.

I get my re-check with new X-Rays to see how healed it is tomorrow. Thursday will be 6 weeks. They told me it could take 8 weeks to heal properly and they wouldn't know until the time came.

I am supposed to go on vacation to the beach next week with our 3 Yorkies. They love to go walk/run on the beach when they are allowed there in the evenings and of course they have to be walked several times a day otherwise. I don't know if I will be up to that or not. It involves a lot of stair climbing as well.

I will go by what the doctor says tomorrow. We can delay or cancel as it is a family owned condo and it is not booked right after.

Right now I am for vegging on the couch for the day. I should be getting myself over to the gym and pool shortly. We will see.....



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I've been away from classes for over 6 weeks now ( :shhh: ) because of some problems with my leg&foot, but now it's getting a tad better so I surprised myself and bought a pair of Nordic Walker poles.

I've thought so far that Nordic Walking looks rediculous but here in Finland it's so common that no-one cares. It is actually a great way of exercise if you do it technically correct.


I know it takes time before my body gets used to ballet again after this break, but at least I haven't been totally doing nothing.


I guess I will continue walking with poles at least once, twice a week also when I'm going back to classes because it's quite addictive (one wouldn't believe). :wub:

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  • 2 weeks later...
:innocent: Well, just want to report that beach volleyball was going great - our goal was not to finish last! To our delight and surprise we made it to the semi-finals of our division when in an instant, I tore/terribly pulled something in my calf tonight. End of match and season - we were winning too! It's very swollen tonight - I'm painfully hobbling around, off to hospital tomorrow to get it thoroughly checked out. Dance doesn't start for a few more weeks, so don't know about that either...will have to wait and see...
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To keep in shape during August I do pilates, jog (I know it's not a great compliment for dance), hike and swim. I find that no matter what I do I don't have the same results as a good ol' ballet class. I can hardly wait to feel those sore muscles next week!!

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I agree! When I'm not in dance class, I have to do what's affordable. Around here that means walking, jogging and hiking, and yoga. It's really just not the same, though!


As an aside, I can take unlimited yoga classes for $75/month. Can you imagine if the same were true of ballet classes?!?! I would just love this! (sigh...)

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I just read my last post on here and it seems like ages ago already. We never went on that vacation. It was supposed to be in 2 more weeks but life intervened. Our main TV quit working and between shopping for a new one of those, paying some wild vet bills for the pups (partly to get them ready for travel... ironically) and the complete distraction of suddenly losing several people in the KY plane crash, we are not even thinking of vacation any more.

I am happy to be back in ballet classes. My mind stays present there pretty well and it cheers me up.

My water classes held me over pretty well during the break, but life is different now that I made it to all 5 of my classes this week for the first time in ages. I don't hurt so much but everything feels stiff in a new sort of way. Too bad Monday is a holiday and I will only get 4 in for this coming week. I am trying to build some stamina too.

Last week I made it to the first 4 days and pooped out on my Friday water class. The week before the pool was closed so all I had was 2 Ballet classes; and those were more like doing toe rehab than dancing. The toe/foot rehab is going well. My teacher has been amazing with that and let me walk through most things I would have to stay out of otherwise. I don't have enough flexibility or strength to do a one foot releve on the bad side yet and can't balance at all if I try. I am just not high enough yet but it is improving every day.

I hope everybody is happily back in class soon. Some of you are definitely starting later than we do here.



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... life is different now that I made it to all 5 of my classes this week for the first time in ages. I don't hurt so much but everything feels stiff in a new sort of way. Too bad Monday is a holiday and I will only get 4 in for this coming week. ...

Well, I am looking forward to the next week with no classes at all!


I spent the summer (9 weeks) doing 5 classes a week, the biggest load I've evern carrried. And the classes were at the "challenge" level, more advanced than I had been taking. It was my home-made "summer intensive". A wonderful experience, and I think I made some progress - my pirouettes are better than 50% reliable, vs. about 5% at the start, and I got a compliment from a teacher about my arabesque in adagio - always a weak point!


But the price has been my ankles. Not real bad, but getting worse; plantar fascia on one foot, Achilles in the other - my ankle brace alternates between feet, and icing both after every class. The summer quarter ended just in time! I'm hoping a week's rest and an easier schedule of 3 classes next quarter will work better... :thumbsup:

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