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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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I recently found out about my role for our upcoming performance, and it's my first actual pas de deux. So I'm excited, but I'm also quite nervous because I don't have much stamina. I know I will build more as I practice more, but are there some exercises I can do at home or things I can do to increase my stamina?

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You could try some dedicated Pilates classes with an instructor and apparatus, but keep in mind that in pas de deux, what the choreographer/ballet master is looking for is "more of the same, only with a partner."

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I don't know any "special exercises" to increase stamina, and I think Mr. Johnson is right about partnering. But maybe you are asking, how do I get the stamina to make it through a classical pas de deux--ie, pas, variation, and coda.


If that's the case, you'll develop most of the strength just by rehearsing. Make sure you have several opportunities to run the whole thing in rehearsal. Rehearsals that are picky and full of stops and starts are very good for you, but you also need to frequently do the whole thing. I had a teacher coach me who would say "good, do it again now that you're tired!" It's hard, but running the coda or variation one more time after you feel wiped out can be really helpful. Of course you must use good judgement not to overdo anything, too, but for me it really helped--even just knowing that I COULD do it once more gave me some extra energy and stamina.

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For certain roles, I have found that some cross training is necessary. I do low-impact cardio exercises such as swimming, walking, or an elliptical machine for 30-45 minutes 2-4 times per week. This has helped me a lot with endurance. Make sure to schedule your additional workouts so that they are not going to interfere with your energy needs for rehearsal, and update your nutrition choices to replenish the additional calories you are expending...

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