Ballet is a beautiful, graceful and incredibly precise form of physical and artistic expression. Learning ballet brings not only a joy of moving to music and an elevated sense of physical awareness, but a respect for the amazing possibilities of the human body.

This blog brings you tips and tricks on ballet positions, moves and techniques, as well as an assortment of news and other interesting facts!

For more great ballet info, including video tutorials of positions and moves, check out www.squidoo.com/ballet_positions

Pre-Performance Anxiety Tip For Dancers: Water

Did you know a proper eating and drinking habits for a ballet dancer can help eliminate pre-performance anxiety? Today we look at the simplest of them all: water

Fresh water is a helpful tool as an anxiety cure. Almost all processes of the body are monitored by and linked to the efficient flow of water through our system. Water carries hormones, chemical messengers, and nutrients to all the organs of the body. If we don’t keep our bodies hydrated with plenty of water, we may experience a number of signals from our bodies such as anxiety, which normally we wouldn’t think of as being related to poor water intake. 

Ballet Term of the Day: Chassé

Pronounced ‘sha-SAY’, meaning ‘chased’. A slide in which one foot ‘chases’ the other foot out of its position in a series. Both legs are either bent forward, backward or sideways, and meet straightened in the air. Either done like a gallop or by sliding the first foot along the floor in a plié and leaping into the air where the legs meet.

Click here to see a demonstration.

Stretch Before Dancing to Increase Flexibility and Decrease Risk of Injury

Stretching is the act of lengthening the muscles, in order to increase elasticity, tone, and strength and muscle flexibility. Many dancers stretch before or after dancing in order to increase performance, reduce the chance of injury and to prevent stiffness. Stretching can also improve range of joint motion, suppleness and posture. Plus it improves general wellbeing and vitality.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting some of the best stretches for ballet.

Tip: Yoga is also a great way to stretch, not to mention its many other benefits like mental relaxation and as an exercise in itself.

Tips When Fitting Ballet Shoes (Part II)

A bad fitting ballet shoe can not only spoil the appearance and articulation of certain moves, it can also cramp or injure the muscles in the foot. This might occur if the toes are clawing the shoe to keep it in place while dancing or even walking.

  • When you think you’ve found the right size, it’s a good idea to try the sizes directly above and below that size to ensure that you really have found the correct size.
  • Often shoes will be designed to suit both left and right feet. This being the case, you can experiment by switching shoes, trying different steps and positions and seeing how they feel
Remember, your ballet shoes are your most important tool!

Tips When Fitting Ballet Shoes (Part I)

Whether you’re buying your first pair, or buying a replacement pair, it goes without saying that it’s an absolute necessity to have proper fitting ballet shoes. The following are tips you may find helpful when trying on ballet shoes:

  • It’s advisable to be wearing the the tights you would normally wear for dancing when you try the shoes on. This allows you to account for the correct thickness of material between your foot and the shoe.
  • Begin by standing flat in the shoe. Is there tightness around the toe, or does it curl? This indicates that the size is too small
  • Perform various steps in the shoe. For example, pointe the foot. If the shoes becomes loose, this indicates the size it too large
Continues in part II….

Ballet For All Ages

There is a misconception that if you don’t begin ballet at an early age, there’s no point in beginning at all. True, a late starter may not reach the top of the profession, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get immense enjoyment, great physical exercise and mental stimulation from ballet.

How about 55 year old surgeon Peter Chau from Melbourne: “I realise there is something a little bit crazy about taking on ballet in your 50s, but I have finally found something I really love doing”.

"People want something that fits into their lifestyle and allows them to express themselves," says dance teacher Anna Achia  from St. Kilda’s Glamour Puss Studios. "I love the fact that people come along to class and sort of evolve into a different person for an hour and half. Doing something purely for fun is immensely therapeutic and it’s something we don’t do enough of as adults."

For more see here

Easy Way To Make Your Ballet Shoes Non-Slip!

Here’s a simple and inexpensive way of stopping your ballet shoes from being slippery. You may know that violists rub a substance into the hair on their violin bows to create friction that will make the violin’s strings resonate more when they’re bowed. Known as ‘rosin’, its tapped from a variety of living trees, much the same as maple syrup is from the maple tree. If you rub some rosin into the leather of your ballet pumps, you’ll find they lose any slippery qualities.

You can find rosin available here, or at any good music store.

Interview with famous Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta

If you’re a fan of Carlos Acosta, you might be interested in seeing an interview with the well known ballet dancer at Cuba News Headlines here

Highlight quote: “Do whatever makes you happy, however you want it. Because life is special.”

Veteran Ballet Donkey Retires

After 19 years of carrying Sancho Panza in the Mariinsky ballet production of Don Quixote, ‘Monika’ the donkey has formally retired. After her final performance, she waltzed with a ballerina and was given carrot cake and a pinafore.

Monika has been replaced with a younger donkey ‘Alina’, and now resides in St. Petersburg Zoo.