Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

How much pilates/conditioning do Vaganova students do?


Recommended Posts

I know that I should do as much core conditioning exercises as possible and how much time you spend on doing something is not necessarily indicative of much work you do, but I really just want a kinda of guideline or benchmark of how much time do Vaganova/Bolshoi Academy 6th-8th year students spend on pilates and conditioning and floor barre classes each week. If there are answers about Paris Opera school or SAB or some other elite schools, then I'd be really happy to learn about it as well. Thanks!

Link to comment

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, cxllqhy!!


I cannot answer your question, but perhaps vrsfanatic can!

Link to comment

Welcome to BT4D! I am not able to address your question with the most up to date information. Unfortunately my information is 16 years old! However I am happy to share what I do know. When I was at the Vaganova Academy, the 6th-8th year students did not have any curriculum based strengthening nor Pilates classes. The pre-ballet and 1st year students did spend quite a bit of time daily, about 20 minutes a day on core exercises that one would see the older students doing daily by themselves. I have seen even the professional ballet dancers doing these very same exercises.


The professional ballet schools in the US are beginning to offer Pilates or other various forms of strengthening classes. These are important to the general conditioning requirements for all young people, not just ballet dancers. When I was in school ages 8-18, our PE classes included many of the same exercises I have seen in Pilates classes to strengthen the core. Many of today's young people are particularly unathletic and not particularly physically inclined. Ballet requires physical strength and a love of physical exertion. Many students today do not equate the beauty of ballet with a commitment to being physically fit!


My advice, learn the exercises, best scenario, in a Pilates class with a qualified teacher and do the exercises for life! If you do not have a qualified class available to you, buy a dvd and do the exercises with an eye for detail to form and line.

Link to comment

Thank you vsrfanatic.


1st year in full time ballet school, we used to have 40 minutes conditioning/warmup class before technique class everyday. In later years, it was left to us how we warmed up. I've been slack for a while, thus am now panicking because the audition season here in Europe is about to begin! There are millions of things that I need to work on outside of class, and I'm having trouble prioritising.


Ideally, beside the 1.5hr-3hr open class I take everyday, I would like to do 100 releves/rises on each leg, spend 1hour stretching and strengthening my upper back, stretch my legs for 1.5 hours a day so I can get that bloody a la seconde extension to 170 degrees (I think my leg has been sitting at 120 for the last 5 years), spend 1 hour on balance, half hour stretching my feet, half hour feet exercise with theraband, half hour upper body exercises using weight so I can get toned tricepts (I keep on starring at the flabs off my arm every time I stand before the mirror with arms in a la seconde since the day I turned 20), and of course 1 hour of core exercises everyday. But as you see, I have neither the time nor the energy to fit everything in, so I thought if I knew how much final years students at top schools spend on conditioning while being at the peak form before the corp de ballet years, then I should follow suit.

Link to comment

Since you mentioned SAB...when I was there in the late 90's, I do not believe there were any required Pilates or conditioning classes for the girls. The boys were required to take a weight training class that was tailored for dancers twice a week. If the faculty thought you needed conditioning, they would recommend that you take Pilates classes at an outside studio. They did this with me, and they helped cover the cost (they don't always do that). I don't know if they have added conditioning classes to their curriculum.


I believe PNB's school has its students take a conditioning class two or three times a week. It incorporates Pilates, and it is also tailored to the needs of dancers. I can't be much more specific than that, though, as it's been a while since I was there.


KAB also has a Pilates and weight room, and when I was there, the nutritionist and physical therapists would design a personalised program for each student, but we were expected to go in and complete it on our own time.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Check you other other thread, cxllqhy, as I addressed this issue there.

Link to comment

100 relevés is excessive and damaging. Please re-think your plan. Have you had some recent training with a top-nothc school? Have you been told that auditioing for companies is a good step for you at this stage? I'm a little concerned that your training has been lacking.

Link to comment

I was supposed to be company ready when I finished ballet school 2 years ago, but I took an amusement park job and spared myself of the pain of auditioning for classical companies. I had consecutive cases of stress fracture in the first year on the job, so I took lots of time off dancing. I lost a lot of strength and technique over the 2 years since graduation, but even when I just graduated, my technique wasn't as polished as a lot of other girls of my year anyway, and a lot of them never received contracts that are self sustainable.


Some times when I see corp dancers from smaller companies come in for open classes, I feel that my technique is a little superior, but looking at those who the just graduated, I don't even compare. I watch the youtube clips of Vaganova students, my technique is like that of their 6th year students, but without the perfect feet. Then if I think about competing with final year students from top schools in auditions, I have no confidence whatsoever.


I plan to teaching ballet in the future, but not having "professionally" experience with a reputable company with an established repertoire is going to be a major hinderance. So I'm desperate to get myself in shape and try out my luck this coming year, or the chance of ever getting a contract will become even more remote if I waited another year.

Link to comment

I understand what you are saying. Do you hold a university diploma in ballet? Is one of your options to enrol in university and focus your studies on pedagogy? You know, not every teacher has been able to have a stellar professional career, either because of an injury or some other precipitating event, so it is possible to be a good teacher without having the same exact experiences of others.


I would like to see your way of thinking change a bit before you embark on auditioning. I'm less worried about your body than I am your mind. It sounds like your technique may be solid, yet you perpetually compare yourself to others. Dancers must learn to appreciate their own gifts, as well as those of their fellow dancers. If deep down in your gut, you know you must dance because you must share your unique set of gifts, and you will still be able to appreciate what you have to offer regardless of whether you end up with a contract or not, then you may be mentally ready to start auditioning.


Can you contact your graduating school to see if one of your teachers there who knew you best can work with you? Also, sports-psychologists are great with helping dancers prepare for audition season.

Link to comment

Thank you Clara76. You are actually right about me not being ready for company auditions. When i was in final year at ballet school, one of the teachers said that I would benefit much from 1 extra year somewhere and then i should be ready for corp contracts, but i was too eager to leave school then.... but now I don't have the opportunity to do that any more, i.e. money, time, parental support, etc. and there is only so much attention you get in open classes, and there are so many ignored areas in open classes, e.g. menage, pointe work...

Edited by cxllqhy
Link to comment

"Menage"? "Household"?


Are you sure that you don't mean "manege", an idiomatic term referring to a series of turns, usually around the room?

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...