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Ballet Talk for Dancers

leg warmers


Guest Meliss

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i know.. i probably sound really stupid, but what do they do? How does it help in ballet? and why do some dancers only wear them on one leg? and sometimes half on their leg and half on their heal? just curious.. oh and what do you do if you have short hair? Too short to go into a bun?? :) thanks!

 

melissa

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Guest beckster

Leg warmers, um, keep legs warm :). Seriously, sometimes dancers wear them to keep their muscles warm when they are doing stop-start work, like a rehearsal. They will warm up with a class but then if they have to stop dancing and wait until it is their turn to rehearse they may put them on to stop the muscles of the feet and legs getting cold again. Or if it is very cold during class, they can be worn just to help things along while the muscles get warm. If a dancer has had an injury they need to make sure that the muscles that were injured do not get over stretched or made worse, so they like to keep injured muscles warm which is why they may wear a legwarmer on only one leg or over an ankle. It is very bad to dance with cold muscles as it is much easier to injure yourself.

 

 

If a dancer has short hair they may wear a hairpiece to make themselves look consistent with the rest of the company. Some dancers are required to have long hair.

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Beckster, I have to admit it, you're getting good!:) Explaining dance-related topics is very difficult on a message board, and you've done just fine!

 

I just would add that some girls like to keep their hair quite short, in fact, the old-fashioned "pixie" cut, but leave enough in the back for a false piece to be hooked on. For class, obviously, it doesn't really matter, as long as the hair stays close to the head, and out of the face. Particularly the eyes - scratched corneas are not fun to have or to treat!:)

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Leg warmers trap the warmth of your legs after warming up(I guess is a good description) Like, say.. you have a break from class.. You might slip on your leg warmers to keep your muscles nice and warmed up.

 

I used to wear leg warmers to help stop my knees from cracking(can't explain how- they just did). A lot of teachers(esp. mine) hate leg warmers or any other clothing that could hide your body.. so if like someone needed warmth for one leg more than the other, they might just wear one instead of wearing two(it gives more of an excuse to the teacher that your not wearing leg warmers just for the sake of it)

 

Depending on where a person needs warmth.. They might use children's leg warmers(covering only the ankle- what I prefer), or regular sized warmers(knee-thigh length).

 

Keep in mind that warmth= more limber muscles

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HOWever - let me point out that warmth does not always = more limber muscles. It's an easy thing to mistake simply heating up an area with a heating pad or even rubbing against a radiator, and thinking that replaces some barre work. Not a bit.

 

Also warming up an area does not always warm up the rest of you. Just having warm calves or ankles doesn't guarantee that you're flexible enough in the hamstrings to have the best extensions. Would that I were as I was when I was fifteen, and could do grands battements practically cold! A rather ugly "snap" when I was about 25 ended that!

 

Furthermore, warming up in the sense ballet uses the term doesn't really involve raising the core temperature of the body. A slow, smooth warmup can be thorough, but your body temperature will stay dead even.

 

Leg warmers keep areas that are warmed that way, or promote faster warming when it's called for - cold studio, injured area, and such like other out-of-the-ordinary circumstances.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Under most circumstances, you don't need them at all. They needn't be used unless the studio in which you work is unusually cold. Put them on after barre or class and you're ready for start-and-stop rehearsals. If you've recently had an ankle injury, a low-riding legwarmer may be helpful on the affected ankle. But don't count on it.

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