What to wear

Even if you don’t have all the gear, it is possible to learn Ballet as a beginner in bare feet or socks. Not so if you are starting to learn turns. By the second of third semester you will find that having the Ballet slippers makes your life easier. Same with leotards and tights. Hair, on the other hand, is a bother from the very first class – make an effort to keep it off your face and eyes in anyway available to you. The traditional ballet bun for the ladies is a facilitator. Pony tails, plats and loose hair can only cause you to fail when turning and jumping and bother you when bending the body. Hair on the face encourages bad habits. Keep it off your face and eyes.

Focus and Ask Questions

Be quiet in class. When you are debating steps of combinations with your colleagues chances are you are also loosing essential explanations from the teacher.

There are occasions when you really did not get what you are supposed to do. Aim to quickly evaluate the reason: you did not understand what to do or you don’t know a step in the sequence? If what stalls you is ignorance of a step of two you need time outside the class with the teacher or a colleague. In both cases you can take advantage of the challenge and wait to see others perform the sequence before you try.

Try and Try Again

Always be prepared to make a mistake. Mistakes are not only part of life, they are part of learning. The only people not making mistakes are dead people. If you are alive: you will make mistakes. Make the most of them, just try and try again. So you don’t know everything? Join the crowd.

Take your time watching others do a combination by all means, but then do try it. Even if it is wrong, slow, you only remember the second half, whatever, it is important to try. You can only ride a bicycle by riding it. Debating the issue endlessly will not help you.

NO BODY IS PERFECT! To progress you need to leave the internal critic outside the door

Eat and Drink Water

Not a banquet, not a barbecue. But dancing is quite exhausting, you need energy to do it. Eat sensibly a couple of hours before the class (fruits and vegies are the best) and drink water.

Stretch After Class

This helps avid injury and sore muscles the next day. Even if it is just lying down and putting your legs up a wall. If you are a beginner or nobody taught you how to do them safely, avoid the barre stretches. Go to the floor where it is safe. Avoid long stretches, hold for 30 to 60 seconds maximum. If it is painful, it’s wrong. Ask for help from those who know. It pays to do a private lesson or a session with a physio to ensure the stretches are right for you.

Arrive Early

The Warm Up part of the class is essential to your progress and to safe exercising. Arriving late and missing the warm up could lead to injury.

Ballet Class Consists of

Barre

Your body needs to be warmed up before you ask it to execute exhausting routines. Your muscles react better to the demands of dancing if you give it a chance to wake up. The barre section of the class warms up your body to prepare it for dancing, and teaches your body how to move, building on your strength and technique.

In some classes, barre may be replaced by exercises on the floor or in the centre.

Centre

In the centre you will perform exercises designed to introduce, perfect or extend the body’s skills and abilities, as well as your mind’s vocabulary. They improve your balance, strength, stability, stamina and coordination. They also introduce bits and pieces of text (choreography) that eventually will become a book (dance or full length ballet).

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