Stretching Exercises for Ballet

I am happy to say that we are off to a good start with this blog with new subscribers almost every day! Thank you for sharing my tips with your friends – I really appreciate it. While originally my idea was to keep this newsletter exclusive for former students and parents, with your efforts we now have subscribers from 14 different countries and I received many good questions from many of you – keep them coming! Looks like a sense of community is starting to emerge and I am truly excited to keep this letter going to help you all improve and succeed in the ballet world.Now on to the fun stuff..In the previous two newsletters about pirouettes and about lifting your leg higher in develope I promised to follow up with a list of exercises that helped me to get my leg higher for ballet class. Below you will find a fairly long list of videos I’ve collated from youtube which you should watch in order and then perform the stretches. Don’t be intimidated by the long list because the clips are fairly short.I always suggest to start very slowly especially in the mornings, because remember you need to do this list of exercises in the morning and in the evening. At night you don’t need to do such easy warm up asanas like I put in the beginning of my list, but you can do all of them before your ballet class. Again please do these in order for best results. Here are the links for you:

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After this exercise, do the same thing to side.  Lie down on your right side and stretch your right arm under your head and with the left hand lift your left leg by the heel. Do it on the other side.  Now return to lying on your back and do eight kicks to the front of each leg and then same on the side.
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After you have completed these exercises you should be all ready for splits. You can start your splits by doing it with the front leg bent and then straighten it slowly and hold it for eight counts. For the middle split – start standing up and then sliding your two legs out to the sides and then bring your arms forward and lean forward on them and the onto your elbows.Also you can try doing the same thing against the wall. Ask someone in class to help you to get closer to the wall by *slowly* pushing you forward. For girls that are more advanced or have better flexibility you can do the right and left splits with books under your front leg.After these split exercises and if you feel like you ready for it (it might take some time to get to this point) you can proceed with putting your foot up on the wall (making sure your leg completely straight) and then placing your hands on the wall beside each side of your leg. Then following this up by placing your head down on your knee almost as you are “going to sleep on the knee”. Now do the same stretch sideways. If you are stretching your right leg put your right arm in front of your leg and try to touch your tows with your left hand.To briefly summarise:

  • Get yourself into a routine and build a habit of stretching in the mornings and evenings. Partnering up with a friend in class is a smart idea.
  • Follow the exercise list in order and remember not to overstretch! Always feel comfortable in your stretching position.
  • Start your split exercises on the floor and then progress to the wall.
  • Take it slow, but be consistent. The first week might be tough and you will likely be sore and because of this the second week may feel like you are not making progress. Don’t get discouraged. By the third week you will surely see positive results.

Until next time and live with passion,

Anastasia

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P.S. With all the videos you watched already, I hope you don’t mind if I share one more… This one is about pointe shoes and I found it fascinating! Enjoy:

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