If you are reaching a point where you can memorise all the steps in class, follow routines and more or less keep up, it’s easy to stop challenging yourself to improve. And that is why you should participate in our Class Challenge! In your ballet classes over the next week or two, try to see how many of these you can do! Let us know how you got on in the comments below:
Arrive early to warm up – this helps to find your centre and get more out of the whole class. Warm ups can be simple, a few joint rotations, sit ups and kicks are a good start
Don’t hold your breath during exercises – try to keep breathing, especially during jumps, this will improve your stamina and dance quality
Finish all your turns (especially pirouettes) with a slow and controlled landing, try to stay up with your foot at the knee/calf for at least one second
Try an extra turn – if you’ve mastered singles, go for doubles, if you can do doubles, try triples and so on
Put yourself at the front (either at the barre or in the centre), so you don’t have anyone to copy and try to rely on your own memory
If your class is usually split into two groups during exercises, for at least one exercise, join both groups (if there is space for you). This means you will run the exercise through twice instead of once – helping to improve your endurance
Notice one good thing about another dancer in your class and then try to copy it. It could be their arms, their head alignment during exercises or their turns. We can learn a lot from observation!
Focus on your timing and musicality – if you can do most of the steps, then it is time to work on artistry. Think about which parts of the dance are most energetic, which movements are slow and fluid, consider when you should look at the audience and how your face expression might reflect the mood of the dance. This is your time to add your own style and performance quality
Start and finish exercises professionally – hold your starting position for a few counts before the music, this is what performers do to build tension and excitement. At the end of a set exercise, hold your finishing pose. This can feel uncomfortable, especially because most other people in the class don’t do it, but it is a good habit to get into, clearly defining the beginning and the ending of exercises helps to add character and style to your dancing and over time, it helps you to grow in confidence
Stretch after class – by this point you are warm, so this is the best time to increase your range of motion and enhance flexibility. Partner stretching is also very effective, so try to encourage some of your fellow dancers to join in too!