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The Dancer's Notebook

Ballet for beginners
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The perfect page for people just starting Ballet. There is alot of information that needs to be learned but here is just the basics: 

So, Before we start ballet class we need the proper attire. usually the uniform consists of pink ballet tights, a black or navy blue leotard, and soft ballet shoes. This, of course, depends on the studio. you can get these items at your local dance supply store or through your dance teacher. leotards and tights are self explanitory and not that hard to find or fit. Shoes on the other hand, are a different story.

When you purchase your first pair of ballet shoes, I would definitely reccomend getting fitted by a professional to insure a great fit. Having a good-fitting shoe will enable you to dance your very best, rather having a too-small or too-big shoe!

When you get your first pair, knowing how to sew on the elastic will probably be really helpful...

How To Sew On The Elastic:

The elastic should be positioned high in the instep. This ensures a good fit at the heel.

1.) Fold down the heel of the shoe until it is flat against the socklining.
2.) Place a pencil mark where the fold creases closest to the binding.
3.) Stitch only one side of the elastic onto the binding right below the drawstring. Be careful not to sew the elastic over the drawstring.
4.) Put the shoe on the dancer and gently pull the elastic strap over the instep where it is the most comfortable.
5.) Place a pencil mark where the elastic meets the binding.
6.) Stitch the elastic below the drawstring being careful not to sew the elastic over it.
7.) Repeat steps one through six for the other shoe.

The Atonomy of Your Ballet Shoe:
Get to know every part of your ballet shoe!
Image hotlink - 'http://www.zappos.com/img/partsballet.jpg' 

So keep this in mind and head to your local dance supply store and have fun shopping!!!

Here are some basic Leg position that every ballet dancer need to know......

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positions_feet_second.gif

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positions_feet_fourth.gif

positions_feet_fifth.gif

Here are some basic arm position that you would need to know:

positions_arm_first.gif

positions_arm_second.gif

positions_arm_third.gif

positions_arm_fourth.gif

positions_arm_fifth.gif

These are just some basic arm and foot position that are needed when starting ballet. There are more positions such as Croisé Devant, Efface Devant,Croise Derriere ...etc. You can see these on the "Ballet - General" page.
 
PLIES They are the first exercise done in a ballet class and the first things learned. It is very important to do them properly so that you don't get into bad habits. Here is a breakdown of a plie:

The Plies

Image hotlink - 'http://www.passionballet.com/animplie2.gif'


Plie: Knee bends, done with the legs turned out. Normally the first exercise in a ballet class.

Demi Plie: One of the steps that classical ballet is built upon. It is executed by bending the knees over the toes, keeping the heels on the floor, and increasing turnout at the hips.

Grand Plie: A deep bend, down to where the thighs are almost horizontal. In all positions except second, the heels release from the floor in a grand plié.
 
 
Now that you have all this information you can get started with your class. Here is a sample from the English National Ballet that you can follow:
First exercise: demi-plié and relévé in first position
 
1. Start in first position, heels facing each other and toes pointing out at the ‘ten to two' position.   Put both hands on the barre (or a chair back or something similar).

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/1a.jpg'

2. Bend your knees over your toes, keeping your heels on the floor.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/1b.jpg'

3.  Stretch your knees and rise up onto demi-pointe (tiptoes) with straight knees.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/1c.jpg'

Remember to keep your shoulders down and your tummy in, and don't lean on the barre too hard! If you do the whole exercise a few times can you feel your calf muscles working?

Second Exercise:  Swan Arms
 
1.  Pretend you are a swan! Lift your arms above your head with the backs of your wrists facing each other. Your head is slightly tilted down, looking towards the floor.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/2a.jpg'

2.  Take your arms out to the side, feeling resistance as you do this as though you are in a swimming pool. Your head is now straight.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/2b.jpg'

3.  Take your arms all the way down to your side, your face now slightly raised towards the ceiling.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/2c.jpg'

Once you have mastered this movement you can do it whilst running around, but don't forget to point your toes!

Third exercise: port de bras a la seconde
 
1.  Stand in first position, facing the barre as in the first exercise, but this time take one arm out to the side.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/3a.jpg'

2.  Lift the arm from the side up above your head in a beautiful curved fifth position.   Keep those shoulders down!

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/3b.jpg'

3.  Without moving your lower body or twisting, bend to the side, looking down at the floor.   See how far you can go!

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballet.org.uk/images/3c.jpg'

Don't forget to keep your arm curved above your head as you bend in a beautiful fifth position.