Ballet - The Classical Method, Level One
on VHS Video

PRICE: $29.95 US

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

Ballet can actually change the shape of your body into a
beautiful and graceful form.

It's much better than jogging, because in jogging your mind is somewhere else. But with Ballet you are mentally in control; it gives you a sense of power to command your body to move in a certain way. Ballet is probably the oldest of exercise programs. Its movements have evolved over two hundred years and are specifically designed to enhance the beauty and grace of the dancer. Today's Ballet is the result of centuries of learning how a dancer's body can be made strong and supple while expressing itself with beautiful delicacy.  Ballet training has one goal:  to produce a beautiful body.  It is probably the only controlled exercise in which beauty is the primary goal, and agility and strength are secondary in importance.  Ballet requires you to move and to stand in a particular and balanced way. It benefits your co-ordination, your posture, your flexibility and your emotional well-being. Ballet tones up the body.  Many thousands of people, and not just professional dancers, have looked to Ballet as a beautiful and rewarding form of exercise, yes, even professional football players.  The Ballet student will understand the mental, emotional and physical benefits to be gained from practicing the discipline of ballet. 

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.

Exercises at the Barre

Warm-Up Tendu With Demi Plié (tendu means stretched and demi plié means half-bends) 
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 positions) 
The demi plié is a half or small bending of the knees.  This basic exercise turns out legs and develops the tendons and muscles of thighs, calves, ankles and feet.  It increases flexibility and strength in the Achilles tendon.  The spring like action of demi plié is essential to all jumping movements as preparation before jumping upward and upon returning of the feet to the floor.  As knees bend there is a slight counter pull upward in the thigh, abdomen and buttock muscles. 

Grand Plié (means a full bending of your knees) 
The Grand Plié is a slow continuous movement bending downward and rising upward without pause. Arm movement is also coordinated with the action of the legs.  Here again the legs are developed by gently stretching the muscles as you slowly lower yourself, maintaining the slight upward pull of the thigh, abdomen and buttocks.  Achilles tendons and ankles are also strengthened.  Keep your weight centered and the head erect.  Turn knees and thighs outward and move the knees in a line over the center of the feet.  As the body rises, press the heels into the floor and gently increase the tension in buttocks and abdomen. 

Battement Tendu (battement means beating and tendu means stretched) 
Battement tendu is a stretching and pointing leg exercise.  This exercise strengthens and turns out legs and feet and develops the instep.  Be sure to center weight on the supporting leg to give freedom to the movement of the working leg.  While holding both legs straight you also hold your torso and head erect.  Draw the tummy in and keep the shoulders down.  Stretch the entire leg from thigh to toe during extensions.  Hold your hips down when doing battement tendu to the derrière (behind).  And finally lead with the toe to point back. 

Battement Glissé (means a glided beating) 
Battement glissé is similar to battement tendu only you keep contact with the floor with your foot. Glisse means to slide or to glide.  This exercise is designed to push the leg and foot out quickly with energy and control.  Keep your weight centered over the supporting leg.  Push the foot sideways along the floor.  Again, this exercise helps to elongate the leg and develop the pointed foot. 

Battement Jetté (or dégagé)(jetté means "thrown") 
Battement jetté is a leg lifting exercise.  This exercise develops speed and precision of leg and foot movement.  It develops strength in legs, ankles and instep.  It also develops a freedom of leg movement from the hips and develops and strengthens the torso and legs from thigh to toe.  While keeping buttocks and tummy firm and tight hold torso and head erect and shoulders down.  When doing Battement Jetté to the derrière, move torso slightly forward and keep the working leg turned out. 

Rond de Jambe à Terre (circle of the leg on the ground) 
This is a circular leg movement exercise where the pointed toe keeps contact with the floor.  This exercise develops the rotary position of the legs from the hips and flexibility in the ankles and insteps.  It helps in the slimming of the hips and strengthening the upper thighs.  Accent is on a semi-circular movement outward to derrière.  Working leg moves continuously, the toe sliding lightly over the surface of the floor. 

Battement Fondu (beating sinking down) 
This exercise involves a slow bending of the supporting leg with the working foot pointing in front of the supporting ankle, unfolding and extending to point the leg on the floor, or in the air, as the supporting leg slowly straightens. Battement fondu develops and strengthens hips and legs. 

Battement Frappé (struck or striking, beating) 
This exercise is a series of quick foot movements with the ball of the foot brushing the floor. It develops strength in the legs, ankles and instep.  The tummy is held in and torso erect while the legs are stretched outward to the maximum from thigh to toe.  The working leg thigh is turned outward. 

Adage or Développé (slow graceful development) 
Développé means to "develop" and the movement is a slow unfolding of the leg.  It develops strength in the abdomen, legs, hips and thighs.  It also develops control and balance.  The second position and derrière are the hardest to hold, so use the barre for support in these positions.  Hold your turnout equally in both thighs.  Listen to the music as it will help you with the slow unfolding.  Practice till you can do it with ease. 

Grand Battement (large throwing movement) 
This is no longer a preparation, but the real thing.  Remember to raise or throw your working leg without disturbing your supporting leg.  Keep your back still, except in derrière when you can slightly arch and keep your knees tight.  This exercise develops strength, balance and control of leg and hip.  The lower back is also strengthened in the derrière position.  DO NOT FORCE the grand battement too much. 

Preparation for Allegro (allegro is a generic term applied to all light and lively springing movement) 
This exercise prepares the dancer to perform jumps.  The legs must be properly conditioned for this.  Keep the back straight and do not lean forward.  Push off the floor as quickly as you can.  This is where the demi plié exercise begins to pay off.  Your legs should really feel the work out here.  Land as lightly as you can.  Imagine a gentle lift upon landing, keeping firm control in the buttocks and maintaining atight tummy throughout. 

The Positions of the Arms

Port de Bras (carriage of the arms) 
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. 

Centre Practice

(Exercises performed without the support of the barre) 
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. 

If 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 
movements until you can follow the dancer on the tape. 

Centre Exercises

Battement Tendu is similar to the stretching and pointing leg exercise performed at the barre. 

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. 

The Révérence 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. 

These are just a few of the many steps and movements used in Ballet, there are of course many more.  Once you have mastered these fundamentals you can go onto to more advanced levels of Ballet.

The Rewards

Dancers are craftsmen of a difficult art form.  Only with dedication and discipline can one master the Ballet.  It takes years of training but even as a hobby or recreation the rewards are many.  The dancer's body is a model of perfection.  The line and form are precise and clear, the movements graceful and awesome.  With discipline you can accomplish anything.  And if you gain nothing else from this video, you will at least gain the knowledge that YOU CAN CHANGE THE SHAPE AND FORM OF YOUR BODY; 
  • if you practice carefully and daily with this tape
  • if you watch your diet
  • if you believe in yourself
  • if you relax and enjoy the Ballet exercises on this tape
It is no miracle that dancers have beautiful bodies which are the envy of most of us.  Beautiful bodies are the result of dedicated work and daily practice at this precise and classic art form called BALLET.  It is becoming more popular than ever before and with your new found knowledge, you can enjoy ballet performances with added delight.  Now you will be at the head of the class and you will look beautiful being there. 
Ballet Home


PRICE: $29.95 US
.... the ideal exercise program, safe, effective, easy to follow and enjoyable. "Ballet the Classical Method" is an entire ballet class on video. The viewer is guided step-by-step, through a class, in the same sequence and manner that every student of dance and professional dancer goes through everyday.
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