Streeeettttttttttcccccch!

One of the most difficult things I’ve had a problem with getting myself to do for my ballet is stretch. I’ll go through streaks where I work really hard at my split stretches for a week or so regularly but then I get too busy, forget, or just plain old don’t feel like it, but I know I’m going to have to do it regularly if I ever want to actually become more flexible.

When I do remember, I usually focus on split stretches doing these stretches as well as this one because it really seems to stretch out my hips a lot. I plan on adding some barre split stretches that I found this morning since I recently built my own barre (more on this in a later post, but check out Leotard’s and the Buns in Them’s post on it if you want to build your own ASAP).

I know I need to increase how often I stretch and stretch more of my body than I now do (I could really use some back flexibility!) so I want to know:

How often do you stretch?

What stretches do you do?

In about a week or so I’ll compile a list so we can have a complete ballet stretching guide!

Ballet Etiquette

Knowing what to expect when you walk into a ballet studio is one of the most important things to know if you’re going to start ballet classes. Some studios will be more lenient than others (I take classes at both Philly Dance Fitness and Koresh Dance Studio–Philly Dance Fitness is a lot more laid back than Koresh is). Don’t let that scare you, it’s not really terrifying as it seems as long as you know what you’re doing.

I can’t really say it better than they did, so check out Grown-Ups at the Barre’s Balletiquette post for a good do’s and don’t’s list for ballet studios.

The 3 most important things I grabbed from the article are (that I wish I would’ve known when starting):

1. Make sure you tie you ballet shoes and tuck in the laces (as opposed to tying big bows on the front of them). I have tied mine and cut off the ends so they don’t stick out.

2. Leave enough space at the barre for the person in front and behind you. Some instructors are great when you’re new and will help to make sure you have enough space. If they don’t, it’d be best if you have enough room to swing your leg out in front and behind you. When doing center work, leave enough space between you and your neighbor, and make sure you leave “windows” so the people in the line behind you can see themselves in the mirror.

3. Expect Corrections. This was probably the toughest thing for to get a handle on because I’m such a perfectionist, but everyone is going to get corrected. You’re instructor isn’t picking on you, and everyone was a beginner at some point. You’re there to learn.

What do you think are the most important ballet etiquette rules are if you’ve been in classes before?

Why should you take ballet classes as an adult?

Audrey Hepburn desperately wanted to be a ballerina. From Diablo Ballet‘s Facebook page.

So why should you be taking ballet classes? You’re probably not going to become an actual ballerina (although Dave from Dave Tries Ballet started ballet at the age of 23 and is now doing pretty well and performs–check out his blog!). But, there are still several reasons to start taking ballet classes as a beginner. Truth is, people do ballet for all sorts of reasons (and your never too old!), and I’m looking forward to interviewing a bunch of fellow adult ballerinas to find out why they do it, and hopefully draw inspiration from them, and add them to this list. But, for now, here’s some of my own:

1. Ballet is great exercise. You probably already knew that, but ballet is a lot tougher than it looks. I was sore for days after my first class.

2. Ballet is fun. Running on the treadmill is boring. Other forms of exercise are boring. Dance gets you moving, doing different movements, dancing, not standing in one place or lifting weights or doing crunches or lunges. (Yuck!)

3. You can pretend you’re a kid again. If you’re like me, you took ballet as a kid (I find that most people who show up to an intro ballet class did), and you wanted to get back to it.

4. Ballet means new clothes. Don’t worry. Everything like tights, leotards, legwarmers isn’t necessary when you’re just starting. But, buying new clothes is fun once you get in to ballet.

5. Ballet means new friends. You’ll meet new friends in class as well in the online community. Those I’ve met through my personal blog have been amazingly supportive.

6.. Doing ballet means you are a ballerina. While you may never get to perform on a stage (although I’d love to set up a showcase of adult ballerina work if I could find enough ballerinas in my area!), you still are taking ballet classes and doing really hard work. Don’t forget that.

7. Ballet makes you more graceful. (By Legal Ballerina)

8. Life is too short to say “What If?” “I started ballet (and continue with it), because I know that life is too short to squander on “what ifs”. As the saying goes, you usually regret the decisions you didn’t make as opposed to the ones you did. I want to seize the day and try to live my life to the fullest while I still have my health, strength, time and courage to do so! Let me tell you, I am so very happy that I took a chance on myself and started ballet. It has changed my life.” (Legal Ballerina)

So why do you want to do ballet? I really want to make this a never-finished list, so leave a comment and I’ll add your reason to the post! Or, post in the forum your reasons why you do ballet!

UPDATE: The old forum was too complicated, so I started a new one using a wordpress blog. Just shoot me an e-mail (your wordpress e-maill to connect accounts) and I’ll be sure I add you as a new author so you can post your own threads!

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