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How to catch up!?!


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Okay...well this is embarrassing. This is my third year of ballet, I just turned old enough to go on this website, and I take 1 one hour ballet class a week. I know it's sad, but I really have been starting to take ballet seriously! I'm going to be taking 2 technique classes a week (first class - 1 hour, second class - 1 1/2 hours) this summer at a ballet-focused dance academy that has trained a good number of students that went on to become professional ballet and/or modern dancers. I know that that is not much at all, but I just want to try out the studio and get a feel of more serious training. I will most likely also take either a Pilates course or pre-pointe class along with the technique classes. I am hoping to take many more ballet classes during the school year, but now I would just like some advice on ways to continue with my training or similar situations other users have been in. Also a few questions -

1. What are some good stretches or exercises to improve leg flexibility?

2. How can I strengthen my core?

3. What are the most helpful stretches to improve my arch and to point my foot harder?

4. Will practicing releves and eleves help with my balance on demi-pointe?

Thank you for reading this very long post! :happy:

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, musicaldancer!


It is good that you will be taking more classes soon, as that is really the only way it can be done. If you like the new school, then I would suggest taking all the classes that are available for your level. Since you have only had one hour a week in your previous training, there might not be more than two classes a week at your level, but perhaps it could be arranged for you to take a slightly lower or higher level as well as your own level classes.


In answer to your questions:

1. Stretching for flexibility needs to be done after you are warmed up from class. Only do things taught to you by your teacher, and be sure that you have learned how to do them correctly. We do not prescribe specific exercises here because we cannot see you and know what you need to do.


2. Pilates....daily. Learn first from a class and then do the exercises daily once you have learned how to do them correctly.


3. Working on your feet is what you do in class...tendu, degagé, pas de cheval, frappé, elevé, relevé, basically ALL of the barre exercises work your feet IF YOU work your feet, again, always very correctly. Stretching them with a theraband can also be helpful, but be sure that your teacher shows you how to work with it.


4. Yes, they will help to strengthen your ankles if done slowly and correctly, but you also must just practice balancing. Practice first on two feet, and then on one. Be sure that you stretch your calf muscles first, and that you are using your demi plié correctly. Most important of all is proper alignment and weight placement.


Remember that practicing ANYTHING incorrectly will only encourage bad habits! Learn very carefully HOW to do everything before you practice it. :)

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Thank you so much for responding! That is a very interesting idea to take other level classes; I checked the school's current school year schedule and it seems that there are six classes offered at my level, some classes actually do combine levels. Some classes at my level offer RAD syllabus, would you recommend me taking the RAD classes if I want to reach a pre-professional level? I will definitely discuss flexibility exercises with my teachers and I will most likely attend Pilates during the school year if it doesn't work out during the summer. I have a theraband at home, so I will also ask my teachers about how to use it. Thanks again for giving me all this helpful advice! :D

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You will need to talk to the director about which classes you should take. If they include some RAD classes, that should be fine, but no one method is going to make the difference in whether you can attain a professional level or not. That depends on the quality of the classes, that is, the TEACHING, not the method. And of course it also depends a great deal on whether you have the potential to be a professional dancer or not. It is hard to know with the very limited amount of training you have had so far, but, a late start does not necessarily prohibit the possibility of becoming a dancer, if you have the physical facility, the passion, the commitment, and the work ethic, combined of course with excellent training! :)

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