What to wear

You can start off by wearing clothing that is comfortable to move in (gym clothes for example) and socks on your feet. Once you start learning turns and big jumps (grand allegro) you’ll need ballet shoes, and you may also want to get leotard and tights. You can get these from Pure Dance or the dancers wardrobe. Tie your hair up so it is off your face and eyes. The traditional ballet bun is great for stopping your hair getting in your face when turning and jumping.

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.

Dance Domain adult ballet dancer

Focus and Ask Questions

Be quiet in class. When you are debating steps of combinations with your colleagues chances are you are also losing 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 you need time outside the class with the teacher or a colleague. Either way you can take advantage of the challenge and wait to see others perform the sequence before you try.

Stretch After Class

This helps avoid injury and sore muscles the next day. Even if it is just lying down and putting your legs up against a wall. If you are a beginner or nobody has taught you how to stretch 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.

Try and Try Again

Always be prepared to make mistakes. 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, but then make sure you try it yourself. 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

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 can lead to injury.

Ballet at the barre. Auckland adult ballet

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 them a chance to wake up. The barre section of the class prepares your body for dancing, and teaches you 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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