Ballet Exercises - Flexibility and Pointe work

by Kate

Ballet Exercises - Flexibility and Pointe work

Hi Odette my names kate and I'm going to be 16 next week and I'm training in a school that is developing its own full time vocational school . This is the second year. I go to a regular high school for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I do a 2.5 hour of class on a Saturday with pre-professional company rehearsals 4 hours each Sunday .
I am good at ballet but I feel I could be 10 times better if I was more flexible. I am having problems trying to achieve box splits as it causes me pain sometimes to stretch and sometimes I just end up achieving nothing.
I have right split and left split but I need some tips for acheiving side splits.
Also I do pointe class but I feel for the age I am I should be better as I'm not very confident on pointe and slightly rocky. So any tips on flexibility and pointe work are welcome.


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Flexibility and Pointe work

ballet pre-pointe
Remember, just like I did before I went en pointe, ballet students MUST take responsibility for their own strengthening prior to beginning pointe work.
Australian dancer, Lisa Howell has made a video which explains how pre-point strengthening works.
Don't leave it to your teacher!
You can watch this pre-pointe video
yourself here
(just wait for the page to load up then the video is on the top right of the page).

Hi Kate,
Thank you for your message, it's great to hear from you and how you are training in ballet. Firstly, I've already given some excellent advice on box splits to other young dancers on this page -

The Splits Position

You must read through it and see what I say here. Also, you will find other people who feel just the same as you, so you are welcome to join in the discussion.

Otherwise I suggest to make sure you are stretching regularly in the side splits position to increase your range of flexibility, but don't push too much or it will get sore and painful. After class is the best time to target your flexibility because this is when your muscles are most warm.

For pointe work, it does take a lot of time and practice to feel more stability in your shoes. You have to focus a lot on your leg strength to support you on pointe and not just rely on your feet to hold you up.

I would try keeping a very light hand at the barre, so you are really working your muscles and not relying on the barre to support you. This will build your strength up, especially in your legs, which will help you feel more confident on pointe.

Also, look at Lisa Howell's pre-pointe video above which could be just right for you to get you more ready to tackle your pointe work.

Best wishes,

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