Beginner Ballet Tips: Ballet Exercises at Home

Because, well, I’ve been stuck at home. I’ve had a stomach “flu” for the past three days now, and I haven’t been able to make it to ballet class (or outside the house, for that matter). I was supposed to return to ballet yesterday, and that didn’t quite happen, so  now I’ll be returning on Thursday and I couldn’t be more excited.

Here’s a video with some helpful ballet exercises (Pilates ones included, as well as some Theraband exercises):

I’m definitely looking forward to trying out that tendu one.

Thanks to Disney Ballerina! (I found the link on her sidebar)


Beginner Ballet Tips: Using Pilates to Strengthen Your Core for Ballet

Pilates Exercise Video class

P\ (Photo credit: myyogaonline)

After reading this post about Adult Beginner’s Piyo (Pilates and yoga) class, I decided to try out some Pilates. I’d been itching to do some sort of working out beyond the stretching and yoga I’ve been working into my routine, so I decided to try one of my mom’s old Pilates DVDs, Pilates Weightloss for Dummies (yes it’s ancient and isn’t really available anymore).

Like Adult Beginner, I didn’t really “get” Pilates before I started ballet. Now it makes sense. In the standing portions of the DVD, there are series of plies, balances, and stretches which relate to ballet perfectly. Several of the exercises are done in a turned out first, second or fifth position as well, all with pointed (versus flexed) feet.

This article (Pilates for Ballet Dancers: How Pilates Can Improve Your Technique) states that “pilates is a body conditioning method that is focused on developing a strong “core.” The term “core” refers to the entire abdominal region as well as the lower and mid-back.” Core strength is ESSENTIAL for ballet. The article also states that if dancers don’t develop a strong core, it could lead to weaknesses which lead to poor alignment which leads to poor technique.

To me, Pilates sounds like an awesome supplement to ballet, and I quite enjoyed the short 35 minute workout. I’m going to test out another DVD we have, Hilary Burnett’s Pilates Intermediate, which is just mat work.  This should be a more intense workout than just Pilates for Weightloss for Dummies, however, I plan on incorporating the standing work from it to get some plies into my workout.

Lastly, if your in the Philly area, Philly Dance Fitness‘s Pilates Class will be on Sundays at 12 at Major Moment Studios. I’m so excited to be able to attend this class because previously it conflicted with a ballet class. I can’t wait to try it out, it’ll be my first Pilates in a studio.

Have you ever tried Pilates? What do you do to strengthen your core?

Beginner Ballet Tips: Two Week Stretch Challenge

twoweekstretchchallengeLast Friday I updated a page on the blog entitled the Two-Week Stretch Challenge. It has a 14 day plan to help encourage you to stretch everyday as well as vary the stretches you do each day. Each day has a different set of stretches from various fitness websites. Like the other stretch challenges I’ve (and some of my fellow adult ballerinas) have attempted, I recommend that you do some additional stretching so that you’ve stretched for a total of 30 minutes in a day (which can be broken down into 10 or 15 minute segments).

Although some of the stretches are specifically for running, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try them since a lot of running stretches are good for tight legs and hips.

Like the page says, this is a  total work-in-progress, and I would love your advice on how the stretches went for you. If you have any stretches you’d like to see worked in, that’d be great too! I’m hoping to eventually build on this to make a complete, 30 day challenge. I’m working on testing each day (I’m on Day 3) and I’ll have an update once I’ve completed it on which stretch routines I liked best.

Here’s what the challenge is right now:

Day 1: How to do Splits  From

Day 2: 15 Minute Beginner’s Yoga Routine

Day 3: Fat Burning Yoga

Day 4: Post-Run Stretches from Back On Pointe, A Dancer

Day 5: Yoga Poses for Headaches

Day 6: How to Do Splits From FitSugar

Day 7: Yoga Poses to Get Rid of Back Fat

Day 8: Essential Stretches for Tight Hips

Day 9: Stretches You Can Do in Bed

Day 10: Good Morning Yoga Sequence

Day 11: Pick your favorite set from Days 1-10

Day 12: Runner Stretches (Good for Tight Hamstrings)

Day 13: Stretches that Help You Sleep

Day 14: Stretches for Splits–Barre Stretches (Don’t have a barre or these look tough challenging? Pick your favorite individual stretches to create your own stretch routine today!)


Beginner Ballet Tips: Strengthening Ankles

Français : Pied sur la pointe

Ankle strength plays a huge role in ballet, especially pointe. I’ve struggled a lot with my ankles so far, having to take some time off because of bad cases of tendonitis. However, I’ve been working to improve them through various exercises. Regardless of whether you’ve had ankle injuries in the past, these ankle strengthening exercises are useful to get ready for pointe work as well as ballet in general.

Prehab: Strengthen Your Ankles: While I was told to stay off my ankles in ballet, several of the different doctors that I saw recommended the last exercise in this article, writing with your feet. I find it’s super easy to fit this one into your routine because you can do it while watching TV or while lying in bed.

12 Ways to Build Ankle Strength:  This article, from lists a wide variety of ways to strengthen ankles, including Theraband exercises which are my favorite. Again, some of these, such as the balancing ones can be done pretty much at anytime.

What other exercises have you come across to strengthen your ankles?

Beginner Ballet Tips: What to do Over the Holidays

As I’ve written about recently, many of us won’t be able to make it to ballet classes over the holidays. I’ve made plans to stretch and do a few at home DVDs a few times a week, even though I know it won’t be the same as going to the classes I normally go to throughout the week. But it’ll have to do, especially as I visit friends this week and head to relatives houses in the middle of no where next week.

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