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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Basic Ballet Warm-ups


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Hi Everyone,

Where can I find a website that shows basic ballet warm-ups that I can teach to a group of non-experienced ladies? Also, what are some good arm warm-ups in ballet?



Edited by ballerina_Diva
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  • Victoria Leigh


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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, ballerina_Diva. I'm not quite sure where to move this post, but the Teachers Forum is strictly for experienced teachers. I'm not sure of your age category, but I will assume that you are at least 17, right? I would normally put it in YD 17-22, but, I think you will get more help in the Adult Students Forum, since this is the age group that you will be starting with.


In terms of "ballet warm-ups", I'm not sure what you mean. Are the students there to learn ballet, or are they there for an exercise class? If they are total beginners, starting with some floor exercises would be a good idea. Start by teaching them how to sit straight, so that hopefully you can translate that posture into standing when the time comes. Teach them how to point and flex their feet, and how to rotate their legs from the hips. Gentle hamstring stretches are good, too. After that, I would assume that you go to a bit more basic ballet barre exercises, starting with alignment, balance point, control zone in parallel and then in first position. Then teach them how to point their feet, and then tendu.


Arm warm ups? No clue what you mean there.

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Thanks Victoria,

I'm actually 23 yrs old. I already know of some barre exercises or warm-ups but I was just trying to see if I was actually leaving out any good ones. I wasn't too sure of where to post this question so i hope you can move it to the right forum :wink: . The reason why I was asking this question was that I'm kinda teaching a worship dance class @ my church & I'm in charge of doing warm-ups or barre exercises or floor exercises. Now some of the ladies that are in this class have never danced or done ballet exercises or barre exercises or floor exercises. I have taken ballet for about 6yrs, 2 in which I took pointe. But generally I was just trying like I said before to brainstorm & try not to leave out any good exercises before we start the dance class.

Edited by ballerina_Diva
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I also have a quesetion about warm ups. I've been heraing a lot lately that stretching isn't a good way to warm up because the muscle are "cold" and it could lead not injury and actaully stifen you pup before class! Which is great because it waht I have been doing my whole life :) Most of my class actaully shows up early just to strech before class. What are some good things I could do you warm up my hip scokets and ankles without streching??

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There is a difference between 'active' and 'passive' stretching!! Active stretching should only happen after barre, but passive stretching should happen before class.


I don't have much time now to describe the differences, but we have discussed this somewhere else in the Adult Ballet Students forum if you want to take some time and look for it.


I'll try to come back here and answer this when I have a few minutes to spare!! Meanwhile, perhaps another mod or Ami or Jim will have some hints!

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If I can't get to the gym before class, I do the passive stretching thing (time allowing - and sometimes there isn't!).


Essentially, it's just gentle stretching - just enough to activate the body but not to the point of true flexibility level. I do foot circles, or use the theraband for my feet, as well. I do a bit with the back, etc. I stretch out gently all the lttle trouble spots, like my hips. I don't force a thing.


If I'm at the gym, I do 20-30 mins of cardio, then depending on time, I do abs and active stretching (going to flexibility point and trying to get beyond it). Sometimes I do weight training on my arms, but, again, that depends on time available.


One of my teachers has a good warm-up routine that includes passive stretching, that she has us do, and I'll often do that if I'm stuck without gym time. I take classes 6 days a week and only am able to get to the gym on three of those days.

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As I understand it, a warm up should include some of the gross muscle movements that you'll go on to do -- in much higher intensity -- in class. But you do these movements at low intensity: so jogging round the studio, as Ms Leigh suggests, big leg swings, gentle side bends, hanging over the legs, slow gentle knee bends, warming up the feet with slow tendus, and so on.


The way I understand "passive stretching" is that you use the body weight to stretch out your major muscle groups, and that you don't actively push the stretch. I start by lying on my back in the 'neutral' position (it's also called semi-supine, or constructive rest, depending on the movement technique you're working with), and let my spine stretch out and sort of fall into the floor. This starts to engage the lower abdominals as well. Then I let one knee drop over to the opposite side, keeping the shoulder girdle flat on the floor, and turning my head the opposite way from my knee. You can push this stretch with your hand on your knee, but at first the 'passive' stretch is just to let your body weight to the stretch.


Is that the kind of thing you mean Clara?

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Yes, Redbookish!!!! Thank you!!! That's exactly what I mean. Letting your body weight do its job.

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Ballerina_Diva - what I understand is you want something for teaching some ballet type moves that are a warm-up stretch type movement? If this is correct, I recomment the "New York City Ballet Workout", which comes in either a book format or a DVD. You can check this out at Amazon. If you do check it out at Amazon.com - please do a search through the banner at the top of the page here at bt4d.

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dancepig, while I like the NYCB workout -- I fear about its use in this situation. Some of the exercises are actually quite difficult, and I strongly feel that the video/dvd doesn't provide as much info as it should on them, and thus is probably better for advanced dancers?


But, that said, I'm wodnering about using them in conjunction with the book, so you can access the detailed instructions? dancepig, do you have the book? mine is not in front of me, and I don't remember how detailed it is.


ballet diva, have you taught before or lead these type of exercises before?

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I have the book and the DVD. I guess I've taken too many years of ballet - I didn't realize they were advanced :shrug: I do appreciate they are slow moving and the warm up seems very thorough to me. The book (imho) is very detailed and extensive. Unfortunately, I haven't checked on the Amazon website to see if they include examples of the book. I'll do this when I have access to a computer that is not on dial-up, as the one I'm on right now is very slow :grinning:

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dancepig -- :grinning: I know what you mean -- I think some of them feel not-advanced, but there's a lot of difficult abs/floor work, that I feel would be difficult for someone without extensive dance or pilates experience, and could even lead to mis-use of the body, if that makes sense?


I'm annoyed that I can't find the book -- I'm wondering if I left it at home (as it, at my parents')? Why on earth would I do that!

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Okay, that makes sense. I've been taking pilates for several years now, guess it's just second nature now. As for your book, did you loan it out? I haven't seen my book for awhile. After I got the DVD, I found I really didn't need the book as much, and it's in my "archives"

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Hi ami1436,

i never saw or read the NYCB workouts. But i can remember back from my dance school yrs the warm-ups we did. But i just wanted to see if anyone has any other good warm-ups that i might be leaving out.

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