Ballet Exercises - Benefit Flexibility

by Catriona

Ballet Exercises - Benefit Flexibility






Hi Odette,

I was wondering if you could help me as I am training and dreaming to be a ballet dancer however I feel as though I need to improve my flexibility . I have trained in competitive gymnastics for a while but I had to give it up to focus on my dancing and I think gymnastics has helped me with my strength and balance but I need to work on my flexibility so I was wondering if you have any exercises that you would recommend for me to help me improve my flexibility x
Thanks.

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Reply by Odette

to Ballet Exercises - Benefit Flexibility

Dear Catriona,

Thank you for contacting me, it is a pleasure to hear from you.

I also did gymnastics before I began dancing and just like you, I had to give it up to focus on my dancing. I do believe it helped my dancing in terms of coordination and strength, so I expect it will be the same for you too.

Improving flexibility is something that takes time and it is important to build a balance of strength and flexibility. To
help progress your flexibility, do deep stretches such as the splits or shouldering the leg to get more range into your muscles. Also place your leg on the barre in devant, a la seconde and derierre. Hold the stretches for at least 20 seconds. But you must be warm to do more demanding stretches, so stretch after class when your muscles are warm and ready to be stretched.
Try not to sacrifice the height of leg for placement and alignment, as it is crucial to have the correct placement in order to build the right strength.
You can work within your physical limitations to produce beautiful lines.

Best Wishes,

Odette

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Ballet Exercises - Still Not Getting Flexible

Ballet Exercises - Still Not Getting Flexible

Hi,

I am determined to improve my flexibility and core strength as this is what I personally need to work on.
I have been doing a variety of stretches (including some of yours :) ) to do so. I have been stretching about 5 times a week since the start of the christmas holidays so..5 and a bit months?
However I am really not seeing any difference, I still find the stretches as difficult as they were and I'm not getting any more flexible or stronger. Could you suggest any reasons why? It's really frustrating as I have been trying so hard and nothing seems to be working. Please help!


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Reply by Odette

To:- Ballet Exercises - Still Not Getting Flexible

Hello,

Thank you for contacting me, it is great to hear from you.

Firstly, which particular stretches are you doing? Perhaps you need to alter your stretching regime and include more or different types of stretches. To gain more intense flexibility (getting high legs in adage/ grand battement), try and focus on stretching when your muscles are truly warm. For example, after your ballet class is the ideal time to push your stretches as your muscles are safely warmed up and you should be able to push beyond your usual range.

Also, check how long you are holding the stretches for. I would advise about 30 seconds, however there are many different opinions on this.

Doing the splits with the front leg on a step is a good, higher intensity stretch. Also, shouldering the leg or placing the leg on the barre in devant/ a la seconde/ derriere are also good stretches to do.

Perhaps also approach your ballet teacher before or after class and ask if she can give you any stretches to practice.

I understand it must be frustrating, but do not give up. Keep trying and experimenting - you will get there!

Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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Ballet Exercises - Stretching

by Catreen
(ireland)

Ballet Exercises - Stretching

I just want to clarify this please.. I have heard that ballet dancers do their stretching to allow the muscle not to build up (as girls dont want big muscles).. i understand that they do the stretches for flexing the muscles & to warm up etc.


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Reply by Odette

To:- Ballet Exercises - Stretching

Hello Catreen,

Thank you for contacting me, it is great to hear from you.

Yes, one of the many reasons ballet dancers stretch is to lengthen out the muscles. It is important for dancers to stretch after exercise as it can prevent bulky muscles and instead create lean, long lines.

All the best,

Odette

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Ballet Exercises - Turnout and Flexibility

by Tracy
(Arlington, Texas, US)

Ballet Exercises - Turnout and Flexibility

I'm sixteen and the only ballet classes i've ever taken were about eight classes three years ago. But i liked ballet and recently decided to continue learning. I've been doing some ballet exercises to improve my turnout. I've only been doing them for about a week but my turnout seems to be fifty percent better than it was in the beginning. Is this normal? Isn't it supposed to improve slowly?

Also, i began doing some ballet exercises to improve my flexibility at the same time. There's this particular exercise where i put my leg on a high surface, keep both legs straight and tough my nose to my knee. Then when i can do it without difficulty, i move on to a higher surface. I've only been doing it for a week but i'm suddenly out of higher surfaces. I've been through five different levels. Is it normal for flexibility to improve that quickly?


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Reply by Odette

To:- Ballet Exercises - Turnout and Flexibility

Hello Tracy,

Thank you for your ballet exercises query, it is great to hear from you.

I do not know exactly what to say, apart from you prove to be progressing very quickly. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you aren't forcing your muscles or feeling any pain, it is absolutely normal.

As you say, if you have previously taken ballet classes then perhaps the technique of ballet was already in your muscle memory, therefore enabling you to improve at a more rapid pace now.

It is true that usually ballet exercises can often take time to see improvement, so I guess you are very lucky to see progress! I can only suggest to share your curiosity with your ballet teacher and double check how often you should be doing the exercises.

All the best,

Odette

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Ballet Exercises - Stretches to get more Flexible

Ballet Exercises - Stretches to get more Flexible: -

What stretches will help me to get more flexible?

Are there any stretches that you know of that would help me to become more flexible? I am not flexible and neither is anyone else in my family. My flexibility is a genetic thing but I feel that there is no way I can become a professional dancer if I am not flexible. Do you have any suggestions?


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Reply by Odette

To: - Ballet Exercises - Stretches to get more Flexible

Hello,

Thank you for your queries!

It is true that your genes and type of joint can result to how flexible you are, but with patience, persistence and knowledge I believe you can increase your flexibility.

For you, I would focus on flexibility stretches such as the splits or sitting in frogs which can open up your hips. Also, ask your teacher to give you some stretches to target the areas you need to improve.

The main key to stretching is to maintain the stretch. It sounds simple but stretching will only ever be beneficial if you hold it. I suggest to hold any stretch for 30 seconds or so, and then gently release. It's also important to maintain your natural breathing... don't hold your breath - relax into it!

After class is the ideal moment to do deeper more intense stretches because this is the time when your muscles are most warm. The warmer your muscles are, the more pliable they are to stretch.

I've written some detailed pages stretching so take a look at ballet stretches and ballet stretching for more information on flexibility!

All the best

Odette

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