This Article is About
adult ballet classes
gluteal muscles
ballet positions
ballet class
calf stretch
handrail
cool down
bends
stretches
exercises
legs
Ballet Basics For Adult Beginners
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If you plan starting adult ballet classes, or would like to practice by yourself at home, you’ll need to know some basics on how a class usually runs. Like most physically engaging work, ballet class goes through a warm-up, stretching, the actual training, a cool-down, and at the end, some more stretching.

Unless you’re joining a special class, the class starts with exercises by the barre.The barre is a handrail slightly higher than waist level, usually either attached to the wall, or as a portable structure. The barre is used primarily as a support to train for certain steps, however it is also used to learn correct body placement, and for stretching. By the barre, the first exercise done is usually the plié exercise, which consists of a series of bends, in the different basic ballet positions. Several more exercises are done by the barre, including tondué exercises (extension of the legs), battements (beating of the legs), and a port de bras (carriage of the arms).

After the barre work, (which is technically the warm-up) you might want to stretch the muscles that you have been using and might have tightened up during the barre. Consider hamstring stretches, calf stretch, and perhaps some stretches for the gluteal muscles. (More information about stretching will be up shortly)

At this point you will probably be told to move away from the barre towards the center of the studio. Center work basically consist of some exercises related to the ones that you have done at the barre (without the barre to hold on to this time), an adagé (slow and controlled movement), petit allegro (small jumps), and then onto the grand allegro (big jumps). Of course you won’t be doing all of these in your first couple of classes, it takes time to learn and go through all of this, and requires you to be physically quite fit to be able go through a whole complete class, but slowly you could work your way to that point.

After the big jumps, at toward the end of the class, a cool-down is usually done, sometimes consisting of simple pliés in the centre, sometimes, on the floor, it really depends on who is giving the class and what method the instructor prefers.

By the end your muscles should feel warm, your heart rate should be high, and this is the best time to go into the deeper stretches. If you’re planning on becoming more flexible, only push yourself physically after class, when your muscles are warm and can take the stretch. Never stretch deeply when your muscles are cold as this could result in a muscle strain or a tear in the muscle. Don’t bounce in your stretch either, stay in a fixed position till your muscles feel like they have lengthened, bouncing could also lead to injuries.

Last but not least, be sure to have a decent sized bottle of water handy, and take sips regularly in between exercises. Take also a small towel, especially in warm weather, because you’re doing the class right, you will most probably perspire. Don't give up the practice of ballet too quickly, although the benefits take take some time to become visible, I can guarantee that once they do show up, they will definitely be worth the sweat.


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