5 Things Adult Ballet Students Should Do If They Want To Improve

by | Mar 23, 2015 | Ballet For Adults

If you really want to improve your technique, there are some things you should be doing every class. Just as you wouldn’t expect long-term results from extreme dieting, becoming a better dancer requires that you develop habits to use every time you dance. Consider five things to implement in class:

1. Arrive early

arriveearly

There is something to be said for early risers. They get stuff done. Likewise, you can get a leg up (pardon the pun) by arriving to class before anyone else does. You can practice mild stretching and pay attention to your body without the distraction of chatting with your peers. Consider investing in a good foam roller; as you notice particularly tight spots, you can lightly massage your muscles, or focus on releasing nagging trigger points. Whatever the case, having time to mentally and physically prepare for class gives you an advantage that others don’t have when they barely arrive in time to start barre.

2. Apply corrections

Corrections

It’s perfectly okay to ask your teacher for help when you’re having trouble understanding a step or another concept. But make sure your question is pertinent to the task at hand to avoid unnecessary interruption. Do you ever notice that one student who asks a million questions, yet they never show any sign of improvement? Brief, sincere questions are welcome, but overly casual conversation slows the class down. Whether the corrections are solicited or not, follow your teacher’s corrections and be careful not to make an educational experience the Me Show.

3. Double up

DoubleUp

If you’re in a beginner class, it’s safe to say your teacher designs slower combinations. If you desire more of a challenge, there are ways to kick things up a notch. Ask your teacher if it’s okay for you to perform the combination in double time. For instance, if you’re doing a series of frappés, where the foot quickly strikes the floor, sometimes it can feel like you’re lagging in between the counts. If you feel like you can handle it, add an extra frappé before the next count.  Dégagés are a great step to practice double-time. Squeeze your gluteals and inner thighs to increase the speed of each brush.

4. Stay in the front row

frontrow1

If your teacher divides the class into two rows for a combination, ask if you can remain in the front row for all rounds. Most will not have a problem with this. This gives you no break to coast or get distracted. If you fail the first time, you have more than one chance to, as one of my former teachers put it, redeem yourself. Plus, throughout all of those attempts, you’re bound to improve in one area or more. Perfection doesn’t exist, but practice does make better.

5. Volunteer to go first

Volunteer

This is one of the best things you can do for yourself. When it is time for you to perform a combination across the floor, don’t hide away in the back of the line. Going first forces you to confront your apprehension and encourages mental agility; you don’t have time to psyche yourself out. So what if you mess up. Mark your way through it, and pick the pieces you do know how to do. The key is not to put so much pressure on yourself. Besides, you still have to perform it on the other side!

These are some surefire ways to improve your technique and performance. You don’t have to do them all at once, but by incorporating some of these methods into every class, you will notice your efforts start to pay off.

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