Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Perfect Your Posture
Although it may seem elementary posture is an essential for ballet, and if you perfect it your teacher will notice. Always keep the following in mind during class: head up, stomach in, pelvis under, turned out, shoulder down. You should remind yourself keep this posture up throughout the entire class.
Stretch Before Class
To become the most flexible in the class, you need to stretch in your free time. But a trick to appear much more flexible than you really are is to do a good hard stretch before class. That way once you get there you'll already be looser than most others, and you'll appear much more flexible when doing your class's routine stretches.
Listen To Your Teacher
This really cannot be stressed enough. Your teacher will take notice if you listen to her comments and critique, and if you keep in mind everything she tells the class to work on. Some girls will shrug off their personal critique, or not really take in what the teacher says to the whole class because she hasn't picked them out in particular. If you do listen, you'll definitely get praised.
Dress To Impress
Be sure to look neat and ready for ballet class. If you have a neat ballet bun and remembered all your dance stuff, you'll already have a leg-up over those who are unprepared or careless. If you have a strict dress code, abide to it. If not, buy a leotard that makes you feel confident and pretty in-- you WILL preform better.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Some dancers just practice the moves in class. If you practice outside of class, becoming the best is easy as pie. If you learn a pirouette in class, try perfecting it at home. Try learning a double-pirouette. If you go that extra mile, the teacher (and other students) will notice your improved skills.
It really only takes these simple steps to get to that next level. If you use them, you'll notice some vast improvements. So now that you know how, go out there and become the best in your class, beginner ballerina! And no, you don't have to thank me when you become a prima.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Q: I want to start ballet, but does that mean I have to dance with a bunch of kindergartners in tutus?
A: Maybe. It depends on the studio. Usually the more popular studios have classes for older kids beginner ballet, so you can be with people your own age who are beginners too. But if the studio only has 10 people for a beginner ballet class, they may group you all together regardless of age. Check out your studio's policy.
Q: When will I go en pointe?
A: Anyone who has been dancing from a very young age in most cases will go en pointe between ages 9 & 12. Any sooner will damage the dancer's physical development. If you started as a teenager, you have the opportunity to go en pointe in as little as 6 months (this is still rare) since your ankle bones are already fully developed. The most common range for going en pointe as a dancer who started ballet as a teenager is probably with 1-4 years, although it may be later or sooner depending on your studio's policy. Again, research your own studio's policy if going en pointe is a priority for you.
Q: I'm a guy and want to dance ballet. What should I do about teasing?
A: You can go with the common excuses like "I want to gain muscle", "I heard it makes you better at football", or "because you get to see girls in leotards!". But unless one of these reasons is actually honestly why you want to start ballet, they probably won't work very well. Believe me on that one. The real key is to just be honest and say you enjoy it, it's fun, however you want to phrase it or whatever your reason. Be really confident. Don't become embarrassed if teased, smile politely but act like you don't get the joke. If you're cool about it, others will follow.
Q: How do I get more flexible?
A: Check out my post on how to make the splits easier, there are a few tricks that may help you. But I think we all honestly know that answer to how to get more flexible, it's just we don't like doing it! Yes, the answer is simply to stretch, and a lot. It'll hurt, but if you push yourself (not too hard-- that may cause an injury!) eventually you'll get more flexible. Look up videos on youtube to find stretches that work best for you, but don't just do the easier ones because they hurt less. Try holding your splits too.
Q: How do I get really good really quickly?
A: Take as many classes as you feel you're able to take, if you really want to get good fast. Listen to your teacher! If you did everything she told you in your first few classes, you'd be great. Go to summer dance intensives, or master classes on weekends during the year. Watch other ballerinas preform, notice their technique. Stretch, work out your muscles, control your movements. And of course, keep reading the beginnerballerina blog :D With dedication and commitment, you should be great in no time!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Misty Copeland: Soloist, started age ballet 13
Misty Copeland didn't start ballet until she was 13 years old. Her ballet teachers and her mother had shared guardianship over her,which resulted in a courtcase that eventually just emancipated her. She took several summer workshops in ABT, then became a member of the Studio Company in 2000, a member of the corps de ballet in 2001, and a soloist in 2007! She is known as the second african american ballerina in ABT.
Calvin Royal III: ABT II, started formal training at 14
Calvin started his formal ballet training at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. His dance career took off when he became a finalist at YAGP. He won a scholarship allowing him to continue his ballet studies at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. He went to intensives ranging from The Rock to Julliard. He eventually joined ABT in 2007.
Carmen Corella: ABT, Started ballet at 13
"One of the myths of ballet is that girls must start dancing in early childhood if they are to have any chance of becoming a successful professional. Not the dazzling Carmen Corella. At the age of thirteen, in her hometown of Madrid, Spain, Carmen was totally into basketball and had no intention of dancing; in fact she had tried ballet class as a small child and didn't like it."
So there you go! Many dancers who either began their formal ballet training as a teenager or who actually just started ballet completely as a teenager. Before writing this post, I really thought that someone who start at 13 had no chance of becoming a professional. I was proven wrong! For someone like me who just wants to become advanced at ballet, hearing that some late starters became professionals is a huge inspiration. I hope it is for you too.
This is a quad stretch. It's not very painful, but will help your splits a lot. So many stretches focus on the leg thats forward in the splits (toe touches, heel in hand, etc.) but you can't forget about the leg facing back too! This will help you get farther down in your splits by getting that quad muscle looser.
TIP #4: Watch TV.
Okay, okay, so maybe I'm being a little vague. Just watching TV won't get you into your splits. But if you watch TV while stretching, you are distracted from the pain and don't get bored. Holding your splits is much easier to do while watching Spongebob re-runs!
TIP #5: Stretch at Night.
Do you ever notice how when you first wake up in the morning, you feel super tight and un-flexible? That's because when you sleep you stay in generally the same position and your muscles get stiff. But after a day's worth of activity, your muscles are loose and ready to do splits!
TIP #6: Wear Socks.
Wearing socks while pressing down into your splits will help your feet slide out farther. Plus they're cozy! Bare feet don't slide as well, and neither do ballet shoes. Socks help you reach your whole potential.
TIP #7: The more the merrier!
Doing a split everyday hurts less than doing one once a week. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. If you stretch every night you don't give your musclees a big chance to tighten up again, so even if it hurts because your sore you'll make much more progress and won't hurt as much from being tight.
TIP #8: Take Breaks Every so Often.
If you have a week off of school and are going on vacation, don't stretch for the week. If you're tired and need to take a week off, do it. You'll come back feeling better because you won't be sore anymore (or as sore!). It's important to take breaks every once in a while, but "once in a while" is a key word-- don't take breaks every other week!
TIP #9: Over-Splits.
If you're really struggling getting down those last few inches, try over-splits. Yes, these will hurt but they're a pretty clever trick for getting down your splits. Just go into your splits with elevate on leg on top of a book or two (a textbook works well). After you've done your oversplit, try going into your reular split again. SHAZAM! Suddenly you can do it! Over-splits are like magic for those last few inches.
An Example of an Over-Split:
TIP #10: Make a Friend Before Class.
If you have some free time before class starts, ask someone to stretch with you. You'll be loose for class and will dance better. You'll also impress the teacher with your flexibility. Not to mention, it's a great way to make a friend!
A material with silky sheen and the twist front bodice add a little flare to this leo. The wide starps add extra support if you have a bigger bust. Not to mention, that turqois color will be sure to catch everyone's eye! Mirella
Neon halter! Open back! Twist front! Oh my! This leotard is sure to make you stand out and feel amazing! Bloch
I love this one because of the beyond pretty princess style seams. Princess seams make you look thinner and have a very cute effect. The cross top, low cut back, and unique colors make this leotard an even more flattering version of the classic cami leo. Capezio
Gahh!!! I love it!!! I have a feeling that not everyone will like it because it's not a very leotard-ish leotard, but I just think it's so unique you gotta love it. Netting back, zipper top, t-shirt style, and comes is black, blue and hot pink! Natalie
Warning! Metallic Leotards are not for the faint at heart, or at fashion. I don't know if I'd wear this myself, but if anyone out there does, I applaud your daring! Natalie
Sunday, July 26, 2009
He performed in Paris, New York City, London, and Chicago, and was a permanent guest artist at the Royal Ballet (which lasted for 20 years!). Since he was not technically part of the company, he was able to guest star across the globe in many ballet preformances and also as a choreographer. He also appeared on televisions and in movies.
So next time you think you can't dance ballet because you're too old, think again. These two dancers will hopefully provide some motivation and inspiration for all of you out there who want to start ballet as a teenager! But remeber, if you start late you WILL have to work hard if you want to reach an advanced levels. But now that you know it's possible, it seems a little easier, doesn't it?
Saturday, July 25, 2009
That's what I thought, too.
The truth is that anyone who has the passion can be a ballerina, no matter their age. Ever since we were little girls we dreamed of being a ballerinas dancing up on stage in tutus, tights, and buns. Not to mention the all too glorified pointe shoes! But for those of you like me who didn't join (or stick to) that ballet class in pre-school, this blog is for you. I'll be posting advice for beginning teenage ballet dancers, guiding you to your dream of one day dancing up on that stage. I'll also include plenty of fun ballet fashion, tips and tricks, answers to questions, and much more ballet related posts on the way.
So it's time to let that inner-ballerina out! ...finally!