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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Warming up


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Hello! I'm fifteen and a month and I dance 5-6 days a week. I have a question about warming up before class. Should warming up mainly involve strength work or stretching? How much time do I need? I have heard that barre is a warm up, but to my (possibly incorrect) understanding it is a warm up for center and you still have to warm up seperately first. Is this true?

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First let me say that barre is not just a warm up for center. Yes, it does warm up the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, but even more important is that it is teaching and establishing everything needed for center work.


That said, most dancers have certain areas of the body that they like to work a bit before they begin the barre work. Is it essential? No, but it can be helpful if intelligently done. Floor exercises for a few minutes, working on abs, feet (maybe with a theraband), neck/shoulders/back muscles, quad and calf stretches, and gentle rotation can be helpful. A lot of young dancers seem to think they should start with splits and extreme flexibility exercises. This is NOT advisable. You need to develop a short program of things you feel will be the most helpful to you. :)

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