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How To Improve Ballet - Easier Than You May Think

Updated on September 8, 2014

Extra Help To Improve Your Ballet

If you are asking the question "how to improve my ballet," you must have found out by now that only working in the class is not going to do it. There is simply not enough time. If your ballet teacher has to correct every mistake every student makes in the class, there will be very little dancing going on in that class.

So, the best idea is to get extra practice at home, but of course the problem is that you may be practising the wrong technique and making things worse. Make sure you concentrate and do all the exercises while keeping the correct posture, turnout etc. in mind.

Unfortunately that is not always so easy to do on your own. You may need some help to make sure you are not making mistakes. Getting a good book, showing you exactly what you have to do, will be a great help.

Here is a video that shows you a few ballet exercises that can help you:

Expert: Mikael Monson


Bio: Mikael Monson is an instructor specializing in ballet and pointe at the Virtuosity Performing Arts Studio/Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy in Camas, Wash.

Filmmaker: Lisa Fenderson

some Ideas On How To Improve Ballet

Where To Start?

Asking the question where do I start if I'm thinking about improving my ballet is a very good question. You have to have a plan of action and you have to start somewhere.

Well, I think starting at the very beginning is a very good place to start. I say this from experience. You have to start where the problem originated.

  • Go back to the beginning and start re-learning from the point where you started having problems.
  • At first concentrate on your barre work
  • Learn all the wrong techniques you have practised in all over again. You cannot go onto more advanced work before you have properly mastered the very basics.

I know what I'm talking about because that is exactly what I did. This is how I managed to answer my own question of how to improve ballet. During my standard nine year, which is about grade 11, I did every single ballet class my teacher taught, from pre-primary all the way to my own Elementary class. I forced myself to do all those basic exercises with the little ones, concentrating as if I'm doing it for the first time. This made a huge difference in my dancing!

OK, so not everyone can do that, I know. Not all teachers will even allow it, even if you had the time, so doing it at home is what you are going to have to do.

  • Put some time aside every day to work on your ballet.
  • Put a good training video on and practice with all the concentration you are able to.
  • Do not overdo it though; a little every day will do you more good than 10 hours on one day and none again for months!
  • The crux here is consistency. Put a few hours aside to work on your ballet and you will see results very soon.

How to improve ballet? Keep Motivated
How to improve ballet? Keep Motivated | Source

Other Factors To Help To Improve Your Ballet

Now we get to the other factors that can help you improve your ballet

Your Mindset Is Important

  • It may sound strange, but your mental state plays a bigger role than you may think. Motivation can only come from inside yourself.
  • You have to think about your ballet in the right way. If you really want to improve your ballet you will need patience, perseverance, and punctuality.
  • Another important point is that you have to concentrate right through your ballet class and during all other exercises you do.
  • Make sure you concentrate on the correct technique during the class.
  • When you are doing other exercises you have to make sure you do them in such a way that they do not impede you in any way.

For me, personally, it was always a pleasure to dance and I could simply not get enough of it. That, is a good mindset to be in. If you love what you are doing everything, even the hard parts you struggle with, will be fun.

Practice with patience, perseverance and punctiality
Practice with patience, perseverance and punctiality | Source

Patience, Perseverance, And Punctuality

1. Patience:

You have to be patient. Everything is not going to happen overnight.

2. Perseverance:

Perseverance goes hand in hand with patience. You have to be willing to keep at it. Do not get disheartened if you do not improve as fast as you hoped, with patience and Perseverance you will get there

3. Punctuality:

Punctuality is very important. Make sure you are there for every class and with time to spare for some stretching exercises

How To Improve Ballet - A Good Book And A DVD

What is the most important benefit of having a book and DVD combination to help with your ballet

See results

Relax And Enjoy

I cannot state this strong enough. If you are all tensed up you will not be able to do anything properly, the stiff muscles will prevent it and your breathing will be laboured, making dancing even more difficult.

You may not believe it, but if you are tense you will not be able to “feel” the beat of the music with the problems that goes along with that. Ballet is dancing and if you cannot dance to the beat of the music it is hopeless, nothing will happen and you will not enjoy it.

Cardio: Always Important

If you want to dance you have to be fit, so some kind of cardio exercises is important. Here you have to be careful though, as all cardio exercises are not suitable for everyone. You have to make sure that whatever form of exercise you do does not compound a problem you have with your dancing. Here I think it is very important to get the help of your teacher to point out your weak points and a good Biokineticist to work out a cardio routine suitable for your needs.

Correct Stretching Important to improve ballet
Correct Stretching Important to improve ballet | Source

Stretching: But Be Careful

Stretching is important and it helps to improve flexibility, reduces risk of injury and reduces soreness. Once again you have to take care to do them in the correct way to get the most benefit as well as prevent injury.

Your Weight: Important But Do Not Overdo It

Fortunately we are past the time where a ballet dancer were expected to be almost anorexic. A far more healthier weight is acceptable now.

In spite of that your weight will still be important.

Make sure that you eat very healthy:

  1. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
  2. Low GI food and
  3. Lean fish and meat.

If you do not eat properly you may lose weight, but you will not be able to dance!

To help with the fat burning process cardio can help a lot and it is a far safer way of losing weight than a starvation diet. It is important though to make sure you are doing the correct exercises that will not harm your ballet.

Ballet Exercises Not Only For Dancers

Ballet gives you a good workout that can be a great help in a variety of sports. It makes you more supple, less likely to get hurt and very fit. This is a fun way to add some extra practise to your routine.

Ballet is fun, give it a try. Many people are starting to do ballet for the fun of dancing and not necessarily to become ballet dancers.

What Can You Do Besides Ballet?

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If you keep these points in mind and make serious work of all of them you will improve faster than you thought possible. I cannot stress it enough though, make sure that you do everything right and that none of the exercises you do will harm your dancing. Get help from an authority.

Your Comments Please

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  • Hendrika profile image

    Hendrika 8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

    Good idea Sage Knowles, I did not think of that possibility and actually it is a very good idea. You will be able to see EXACTLY what you are doing wrong!

  • Sage Knowles profile image

    Sage Knowles 8 years ago

    you can also video tape your own practice and then play it back to see if you can see your own mistakes.

  • Hendrika profile image

    Hendrika 8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

    I agree,practicing in bad habits is a very real problem. When I did it I also stuck to the basics and I mainly did all the barre work with real concentration not to make mistakes!

  • Marisa Wright profile image

    Kate Swanson 8 years ago from Sydney

    If you want faster results, practising at home is always a good idea - but I also agree that you have to be careful you don't fall into bad habits when your teacher's not looking.

    In fact, unless you're very sure of the technique for a particular step, I would recommend keeping your home practice very, very simple. One of the best things to do is lots and lots of releves, on one foot or both feet, and stretches.