Things You'll Need
- Ballet slippers
- Pointe shoes, with teacher's permission
- Leg warmers (optional)
- Portable barre (optional)
Ballet dancing is one of the most strenuous art forms. You need time, dedication and support from family and ballet teachers. Train in studio dance classes with other dancers five days a week to work towards being a ballerina. Join the company of other ballerinas such as Gelsey Kirkland, who danced in her farmhouse kitchen as she trained to return to her dance career. Continue your training at home to solidify your path to being a ballerina.
Sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together. Put your hands around your feet and straighten your back. Slowly lean forward as far as you can, keeping your back as straight as possible. Hold this position for a minute. Return to an upright position. Repeat the exercise. Try to reach farther each time, with the goal of reaching your head to your feet.
Sit on the floor, holding your back straight. Stretch your legs out in front of you and put your feet together, keeping your legs and knees straight. Hold onto your knees. Lean forward and slowly put your head as close to your knees as possible. Hold the position for a minute. Lift your head and stretch your back, then return to your original position. Repeat this stretch several times. Try the stretch with your hands moved down to your ankles.
Practice the side splits, or Chinese splits. Sit on the floor. Place your legs in front of you with your knees straight and feet together. Hold your back straight. Slowly move both legs, one to your right and one to your left, as far as they will go, keeping your knees straight. Hold this position, keeping your back as straight as possible. Hold onto your knees or ankles. Lean forward and place your chest as close to the floor as possible. Move to your right leg and try to place your chest on your leg. Repeat with the left leg. Move slowly and hold the positions for one minute.
Practice the front splits. Stand straight with your feet together. Point your right foot and begin to slide down into the splits. Go as far down into the splits as possible. Hold this position for a minute. Stand and repeat the process by pointing your left foot and going as far down into the splits as possible. Keep your arms in fifth position, over your head, as much as possible. Repeat this exercise several times.
Practice plies. Face a sturdy surface that is waist high, such as a kitchen counter or bedroom chest. Place your feet together. Keep your heels together and move your toes as much as possible to either side. Your goal is to eventually form a 180-degree line. Hold your back straight. Bend your knees slightly so that your knees are over your toes. Return to a straight position with your knees straight. Repeat the exercise eight times. As you plie, keep your back as straight as possible.
Practice tendus. Face the kitchen counter or bedroom dresser. Place your feet in first position. Keeping your hips even, brush your right foot on the floor forward to a pointing position. Then return to first position. Do this eight times. Repeat with your left foot. Remember to push down with your foot as you are lifting your heel up. The heel should seem to lead, followed by the toes.
Work on your releves. Slowly rise up as high as you can, keeping your toes on the floor. Lower back to first position. Repeat this exercise eight times. Avoid "sinking" as you return to first position. Keep your back straight and your chin parallel to the floor.
Ask other dancers and read ballet books for tips.
To avoid serious injury, consult with your ballet teacher about exercises you do at home. Do not work in pointe shoes without your teacher's permission.
- The Shape of Love; Gelsey Kirkland and Greg Lawrence
- Ballet Shoes, Pointe Shoes and Adult Ballet Class: Ballet Stretches
Teresa Dashwood began writing professionally in 1984. Ye Galleon Press published her book "Warrior of the Mist" in 1996 and 2003. Dashwood completed her Bachelor of Arts in literature and Master of Arts in teaching from Gonzaga University. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Eastern Washington University.