on VHS Video
Welcome to the wonderful world of Ballet. This video will give you years of enjoyment and relaxation while shaping up your body to make you as beautiful as you were meant to be. But, please, check with your physician before beginning this, or any other exercise program.
See also: Ballet, Beyond Basics - Level Two
beautiful and graceful form.
Before you Begin Start every exercise session with the floor exercises. These are important to warming up and stretching the muscles in a safe and comfortable way. Don't worry if you can't do all the exercises to the extent that you see the dancer do them. Try as best as you can but NEVER EVER FORCE ANY EXERCISE. Wear comfortable clothes like sweat suits or, if you have other exercise clothes by all means use them. But don't be too concerned with what you wear as long as it feels comfortable and doesn't hinder your movements. Try to keep your hair back and out of your face. For your feet it is recommended to use ballet shoes or any other type of dance shoes. Determining the right shoe for your home use will depend on whether you will be exercising on the rug or on a bare floor. If you don't have dance shoes, socks can be used. Use a chair or counter top as your own home barre. Don't push your body when it tells you that it hurts. Remember Ballet should be recreational and enjoyable. There is no need to compete with anyone but yourself. Finally, enjoy it! Dancing is one of life's most enjoyable experiences, and Ballet is one of the most beautiful dances.
A Word About Weight Loss Anyone concerned about their weight should exercise to reduce fat and burn up calories. After all that is only one of the reasons for exercising with Ballet. But, in order to be effective in weight loss one must be careful of what and how much one eats. Consult your physician for the best diet program suited to you. Be sensible about eating and combined with exercise, you will discover a new world of beauty for you and your body.
|The Floor ExercisesThe floor exercises are based on the "WISEMAN TECHNIQUE", and are specifically designed for dancers. Users of this TECHNIQUE may also include people with chronic back problems. The idea is to safely exercise the muscles around the hips and spinal column so that they can function without too much back strain. The inner thighs are also stretched safely to develop the length of the leg muscles and prevent bulging. A dancer needs slimmer legs and a flexible spine to perform Ballet. These floor exercises will help develop the body's flexibility and posture. While doing the floor exercises pay close attention to your breathing. Your breathing should be relaxed and rhythmic. You will enjoy the floor exercises more if you maintain a sense of relaxation and do not force any part of the exercises. If you do no more than just the floor exercises on this video you can benefit by a flexible and strengthened lower back.|
| Correct Posture Dancers must
learn to stand correctly before they start to move. Of importance
is the placement of the torso over the legs; the pelvis must be centered,
not tipped forward or backward. The abdomen is slightly drawn in and
the diaphragm should be raised. The shoulders are dropped naturally
resting downward and the head is held straight with the eyes looking forward.
The dancer should feel energized in a standing position. To stand
as a dancer one does not merely rest; the stand itself is part of the dance
and should be poised and alert, drawing attention to the dancer before the
dancer moves. Now the dancer is ready to move, ready to dance.
The Turn Out The turnout is the amount that you can turn your feet sideways in any position. This will depend on how much you can make your thigh turn outwards in the hip joint, so that your knee is facing the same way as your foot. The perfectly turned out position is acquired gradually and should not be forced. The ideal first position (180 degrees) should not be used until the muscles have been conditioned to assume it without strain. An angle of 100 degrees is sufficient for the beginner. The knee and thigh can be comfortably maintained in a turned-out position at this angle, and the danger of forcing the feet to turnout while the knees rotate inwards can be avoided. The muscles of the abdomen, buttocks and thighs are the dancer's center of muscular energy and control. The muscles in the thigh are pulled upward causing a slight tension in the buttocks and abdomen; this frees the body above the waist from strain and eliminates tension from the neck, shoulders and arms. The dancer must be aware of the importance of this control before making any Plié. The dancer should execute these moves with a slight counter pull upward in the muscles of the thighs abdomen and buttocks. As training progresses this control becomes an unconscious part of the dancer's work.
The Positions of the Feet - The Five Positions All leg movements begin and end from the five basic positions demonstrated on the tape. The dancer should attempt to center their
weight equally between the feet. Keep muscles in thighs and buttocks tightened. Draw the abdomen in and lift the diaphragm. Try and keep the thighs turned outward, and the knees straight and in a direct line with the center of the turned out feet. Never push your foot out beyond the knee as this can cause problems. Keep the head centered, neck free of tension and eyes straight ahead.
| At The BarreAll
dance training begins at the barre. Here the dancer executes a series
of exercises carefully designed to prepare the body for the exacting demand
of the classical dance. Each exercise is meant to strengthen specific
parts of the body. These exercises done correctly, develop the dancer
gradually, giving the ability to achieve a balanced and controlled movement.
The support of the barre frees the dancer from the strain of maintaining control of the entire body before the muscles are sufficiently prepared. Barre practice remains an important part of the dancer's technique throughout professional life. It is always used as a preparation to every class and performance.
The Barre should never be tightly gripped, leaned on or pulled on. Each exercise should be performed slowly and simply.
The first barre exercise will warm-up the thighs and tendons of the leg. It also aids in developing the instep and arch of the foot.
Demi Plié (in five
Grand Plié (means
a full bending of your knees)
Battement Tendu (battement
means beating and tendu means stretched)
Battement Glissé (means
a glided beating)
(or dégagé)(jetté means "thrown")
Rond de Jambe à Terre
(circle of the leg on the ground)
Battement Fondu (beating
(struck or striking, beating)
Adage or Développé
(slow graceful development)
Grand Battement (large
Preparation for Allegro
(allegro is a generic term applied to all light and
lively springing movement)
This is a series of exercises that develop the fluid movements of the arms through the basic positions used in all dance. This also gives flexibility to the upper part of the body. As a result the movements are flowing, continuous and graceful.
The centre exercises begin with various combinations of exercises learned at the barre. Here the dancer should be aware of the direction of the body. Arm movements should be done slowly and land with distinction. Watch the dancer in the video and see how she moves her head and arms for each of the exercises. Imitate these as closely as possible. Each position in the centre should be assumed accurately before going on to the next. Once all positions have been learned correctly they may be combined as the dancer performs them with flowing and continuous movements. Remember practice makes perfect.
any of these exercises are difficult for you, simply practice the leg
patterns at the barre (or your
chair at home), then add the arm
Temps Lié or a combination of leg and arm movements based on three fundamental positions of the feet (the 4th, 5th and 2nd). It combines movements while teaching you how to shift weight from foot to foot.
Preparation for Pirouette. Here you learn how to position yourself correctly for a turn or spin done on one leg.
The Arabesque (extended or stretched a classic example of balance and strength with gracefulness) Consists of balancing one leg with the other extended behind the arms in a position to create the longest slanted line possible between your finger tips and toes.
Sauté. These are jumps in first position.
A Changement. These are jumps that change feet position in the air.
An Enchaînement or combination. This is a grouping of Allegro steps with simple choreography. This is one of the pay offs of learning the steps on this tape. You can now dance a simple Ballet sequence of steps.
is the movement at the end of the class. It is a curtsey
or bow to show respect to the teacher, pianist or audience, as
well as a warm down exercise.