“Oh no! I am having my first ballet class. What should I expect?!
Here is a, hopefully, complete and helpful thread to answer your question. Oh! and welcome to join the dazzling ballet world. :]
Effort & Ballet Class conduct
All dancers must be willing to push themselves to be the best dancer they can be.
At all times dancers must show respect to their instructors and classmates.
Be on time and ready to dance.
Have you checked the school dress code? (Some schools have very strict dress code. Please pay attention to that before you purchase your dream leotard.)
Dancers are the athletes of God. ~Albert Einstein
Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham
I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words. ~Ruth St. Denis
Turn yourself into a ballet/dance mode before the ballet class begins. It will always help you to get into the atmosphere quicker and get ready to dance. (Whatever you are worrying, stressing about, throw it outside the studio.)
– This often takes place before class.
– In some beginner classes, the teacher may lead the students to do some stretching and warming up at the beginning of the class.
Why warming up is important
Simple answer: to be safe. The main purpose of warming up is to increase your heart rate slightly. This has two benefits:
1) it raises your core body temperature
2) it increases the blood (oxygen) flow to your muscles to prepare your body for more vigorous physical activity. Your muscles and tendons (which attach your muscles to your bones) will be more flexible for stretching after mild movement has raised your internal body temperature. This flexibility helps you increase the range of motion of your joints and may help you avoid injuries such as muscle tears and pulls.
How Long should I warm up?
It takes your body approximately 3 minutes to realize it needs to pump more blood to your muscles. Warm ups should last approximately 5 – 10 minutes and they should incorporate stretching of large muscle groups (such as the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders etc…)
The barre is a handrail, approximately waist-high, that dancersuse to steady themselves during the first part of a ballet class. The barre provides a reference point; it can be used to provide resistance,as when you press down on it to lengthen the spine; and it is your first partner. “Barre” is also a shorthand term for exercises done at the barre; dancers frequently refer to “doing a barre,” for example to warm up just before performing.
Then you move to the center of the studio to
work without support. The second part of class, called adage consists of slow work in which the emphasis is on sustaining positions and on balance. The final part of class, allegro, consists of fast work, mostly combinations (sequences of steps) with the big jumps and turns that make
ballet such an impressive and dazzling sight.
Remember to applause and thank the teacher at the end of the class.
There is a part for warming up. Why not cooling down?
It is often the best time for stretching as your body is fully warm up. Your muscles are best and easiest to be stretched at this point of time. Cooling down stretching also help to avoid the soreness and tightness you may feel after class.
Why Cool Down?
After you’ve reached and maintained your training heart rate level in the aerobic portion of your class, it is important to recover gently. The cool down serves two purposes: 1) it reduces your pulse; and 2) it returns the blood to your heart in sufficient quantities to rid the muscles of lactic acid (a chemical result of muscular fatigue). If you stop suddenly, the blood will pool in your legs instead of returning to your heart. Dizziness, nausea and a “worn out” feeling are common symptoms of an improper cool down.
Duration of Cool Downs
It takes your body approximately 3 minutes to realize it does not need to pump all the additional blood to your muscles. A safe cool down period is at least 3 minutes, preferably 4-5 minutes. All cool downs should be followed by stretching of the muscles to avoid soreness and tightness”