What should I do?

I am sixteen and a Junior in High School. I took a beginning ballet class for a half a year when i was a freshman but i quit because the studio closed and i didnt know where to go. I have just started beginning ballet again at another studio and am taking an hour of jazz and an hour of ballet a week. I really love ballet and I want to do pointe someday. I exercise and stretch everyday at home to help build my muscle and get more flexible, but i dont think its enough to have only one hour of ballet a week. My studio doesnt offer anymore ballet classes to my age group during the week.

I am really serious and dedicated to progressing in ballet, should i find more classes at another studio? I dont know how to achieve my goal! Any advise?

Choosing a Good Ballet Teacher/Good Posture

In choosing a good ballet teacher pay careful attention to the postures you see in the students you observe. While the teacher is not responsible for posture acquired before a student begins training with her or him, she/he is responsible for establishing correct posture at the beginning of every exercise in the class.

The spine has a natural curve. The back should not be swayed with relaxed abdominal muscles, nor should it pulled into a straight line with the pelvis tucked under and the abdominal muscles bunched. The correct support of a natural curve in the spine will develop the whole body correctly.

Abdominal muscles should be pulled UP and flattened. The diaphram should be firm but not pulled in and down. The sides of the ribs should expand for breathing. This way the chest will lift to breathe, but not noticeably. If the chest is held properly, the shoulders can relax. Shoulders should never be pressed downward, or a fluid use of the arms will not be achieved.

The head floats. It is a feeling of one’s vision reaching for the horizon, not a chin lift. This allows for free and natural head movement even though the body is working hard below.

The arms move easily from the shoulder joints, the fingers are placed in an easy manner, not tense and spikey looking. The thumbs relax parallel to the index finger, not clenched against it, or sticking out away from the hand.

Each individual has imperfections, or say differences, of physique and posture compared to the ballet ideal. A good teacher will take care to correct what the student is doing, as opposed to commenting on what the student innately has (or is stuck with, as the less ideally formed usually think). Although from an instructional viewpoint, a teacher could point out to a student who has very wide shoulders, that a high 5th position of the arms (5th en haut) could be elongated, to detract from the wideness of the shoulders.

After all, this is about theater, and the arts of illusion. (In the advanced classes when the body is strong.)

Starting every exercise in the correct posture of the spine is essential to developing strength and grace, and preventing sprain, strain, and unnatural mannerisms.

It is also wise to have your skeletal alignment checked with a chiropractor periodically, especially if you experience joint pain or severe muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can also be due to dehydration and exhaustion of your electrolytes, or a calcium/magnesium deficiency. Please don’t reach for a popular sports drink. You need full mineral salts as in from ‘all 12’ cell salts, a homeopathic tablet, good sea salt on your food, and cayenne pepper is great for replenishing minerals. But all that really is another article.

It’s always best to check out a beginning level and a more advanced level class in any given studio, to watch and listen to how a teacher instructs, and to see how persistent she or he is in demanding good basic technique.

All the best.

Dianne M. Buxton is a graduate of the National Ballet School of Canada. She taught there for several years, and also taught at York University and George Brown College in Toronto, and at Harvard University. More articles about ballet can be found at http://www.theballetstore.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dianne_M._Buxton

Ten things you should do if you do not want to improve your ballet, or the art of being negative!

Those times, many people claim they have the solution to be the best in many things. I have decided to do the opposite. Explain you how to be the worst !!
Yes, I am not scared, I’ll explain you how to be the worst in your ballet dancing.Off course, this has to be read “the funny way”, keeping in mind you have to read behind the words, and understant what you need to do is the exact opposite !!

  1. In your ballet school, always compare what you can do with girls 2 levels upper than yours.
  2. You’ll be and remain convinced that what you are able to do is in many way not
    as good as what they can. You’ll feel jalous and envious of them, and will only
    copy them. That way, you will not increase your own creative and artistic way,
    you’ll just become a good copyist.

  3. Always wear large oversized clothes when going to ballet. Most of all, wear large sport pants.
  4. You’ll avoid having your teacher see exactly the way you work and will keep away
    from the bad comments like “she’s got fat there, her legs are not turned out,
    …”. As your teacher will not see what you do, he / she will not say it is
    right. If you are hot with those pants, just think that you may be cold if you remove them, so keep it.

  5. Never listen to tips / advice / discussion you may have with your teacher.
  6. Anyway, the teacher is just here to earn money and his / her only goal is to
    have his / her income at the end of the month. If she / he gives you this or
    that tip, it is just because it is the way she / he learnt when younger, and
    this is past. And, anyway, it is more pleasant to chat with your best friend
    than listening to what is said. If sometimes your teacher says you should
    listen, just laugh, this will make other laugh too and you’ll be honoured to be
    the official ballet school laughing girl.

  7. Always eat hamburgers (2 at a minimum) and drink coke before your ballet lessons.
  8. Sugar is very important for intensive exercice. With all this sugar and fat,
    you’ll have enough energy when you’ll need it. It you need to jump during the
    lesson, just claim you feel “heavy”, this may be a good excuse not to do them.
    If you feel a bit hungry during the lesson, just eat a few more chocolate.

  9. Just expose how flexible you are to other, do not help them to be.
  10. Exposing yourself as “the best” and not beeing helpfull is certainly the best
    way to remain convinced you are the best to something and avoid seeing other
    people getting better than you are. If talking about flexibility, always answer
    “it is the way I was born” when asked how you do, do not share your tips and
    personnal way to do, this would make you lose a big part of your charisma.

  11. Never try pointe shoes before your end of year recital.
  12. First, you risk to make them dirt. Second, they certainly are way too nice and
    clean to be worn. Just wait the last time before going on stage to wear them.
    Off course, as your feet will hurt, just stand en pointe during the performance
    and keep not smiling too much, everyone must see how hard it is. When going out
    of stage, just say everything is ok, and your feet do not hurt. If some seem
    surprised, just claim that “you do not understand why people do so much noise
    with brand new pointe shoes, as they do not hurt that much”.

  13. Always critic what other dancer do, and when you fail just say you are tired.
  14. You must always have a good excuse for failing. And you do not need to find it,
    you have it. You are the best, you know it. And as the best, it is normal that
    you may be tired and exhausted with all you need to do to be. If some say you
    are not so good, just tell them you are, period. Off course, refuse to debate
    your status or whatever, other girls are not able to understand genius. If this
    comes from your teacher, just cry and have big tears. If asked why, beg to have
    congratulations, tell (with lots of tears in your voice) that you are good to
    nothing, nobody likes you and that you know the teacher hates you. You’ll be
    surprised how much people will tell you you are not, maybe some will say
    (temporarily) they are your friends !!

  15. Ask parents, relative, boyfriend, friends, whoever to come and watch you at your ballet lesson
  16. First, this will add a lot of mess to your lessons. Second, you will feel very
    important for several reasons :

  17. Other girls in your ballet school will think you have many friends, and it is important to have friends.
  18. The watchers (as they are not ballet dancers) will be impressed by your ballet practice, although you fail to something.
  19. As your teacher will probably ask them to leave, just look sorry. All watchers will think you are someone very courageous to handle such teacher.
  20. If you consider you do a (pirouette, grand-jete, …) perfectly, don’t try to do it better.
  21. If you do it perfectly, why would you lose time trying to do it still better ?

  22. If the weather is too hot, don’t go to your lesson. If the weather is too cold, don’t go to your lesson.
  23. You are way too much important and precious to risk beeing cold or hot at your ballet lesson. Always tell people who will ask why you didn’t come that you were afraid of getting sick (or whatever) because of tireness, and that your body needs to have a stable temperature to perform at its best. People will not think you are fragile, they’ll be convinced you are someone who knows what she does with her body, and must be an expert. Maybe some will ask you tips !!

In few words, always be negative, not-smiling and feel confident in yourself. Refuse any help and do not listen to what other people have to say.

This is the only real way to success …. well, to your own succes 🙂

I am Olivier TOURCHON, webmaster of www.dansephoto.com. Working with many ballet companies in France has helped me to have a knowledge of the way dancers live and dance.

Pointe Shoes For Ballet, Which Shoe is Right for You?

Anatomy of a Pointe Shoe

There are several elements involved in the anatomy of a pointe shoe, all of which contribute to its fit and performance. The ability to identify these parts is important in understanding their impact upon the dancer and her performance. The front edge of the shoe is the platform, or the flattened area upon which a dancer stands en pointe. Inside the shoe is a stiffened cup encasing the toes known as the box, or block. The area covering the toes and top of the foot is the vamp, while the opening nearest the toes is the shoe’s throat. The supportive insole of a pointe shoe, or shank, fits within, while an outer sole, typically made from leather, runs along the underside. The rear portion of the shoe that encases the heel and sides of the foot is known as the quarter. Running the circumference of the shoe is the binding. This is the fabric channel through which the drawstring runs. You can learn more about pointe shoes at http://www.balletdancestudio.com

Beginner Pointe Shoes

The most important aspect in selecting beginner pointe shoes is proper fit. This not only affects one’s ability to dance en pointe, but safeguards proper development of the feet, ankles and legs. Bones in the feet do not fully mature until the early 20’s, and improperly fitted shoes can cause damage. Look for pointe shoes that fit properly standing on and off pointe. The ends of the toes should reach the front of the shoe, and there should be no excess material at the heel. To find the best width, check that there are no wrinkles in the box and that a finger cannot fit between the box and the foot. Most often, beginner pointe shoes should feature a medium shank, unless the dancer is particularly muscular or has a high arch. No matter the shank, a properly fitted pointe shoe will allow a dancer to roll through with comfort.

Ballet Demi Pointe Shoes

Ballet demi pointe shoes are designed to meet the needs of younger dancers until they mature and develop adequate strength for pointe work. The main difference between a demi pointe and pointe shoe is that the demi pointe is boxed and shankless. They do not provide the support and stability needed to safely go on pointe, but are ideal for working up to it. These shoes are intended to help familiarize pre-pointe students with working in a boxed shoe, as well as basic shoe care such as sewing on ribbon and elastic.

How to Choose the Right Pointe Shoe for Ballet Dancing

Pointe shoes, in many ways, can be considered an extension of the dancer. Designed for pleasing aesthetics as well as function, these shoes typically have a short lifespan, but enable the dancer to move with incredible grace and strength.

The most critical feature of any pointe shoe is how well it fits. Proper fit safeguards the dancer’s feet, ankles and legs and makes en pointe work possible. This is especially important for younger dancers, as proper bone development can be impaired by incorrectly fitting shoes. There are a number of brands and styles available, and no single type is built for every dancer. A dancer’s experience, shape of the foot and strength should be considered in finding the best shoe.

Bloch Pointe Shoes

The Bloch pointe shoe is available in different styles including Sylphide, Sonata, Suprima, Serenade, Aspiration, Concerta, Triomphe, and Alpha ¾ Sole. Beginner dancers will be suited to the Sylphide, Sonata, or Suprima. The Sylphide has broader widths than other Bloch pointe shoes and helps beginners with untrained feet roll up onto pointe more easily.

The Suprima will feel comfortable to beginners and advanced students as it provides good flexibility while maintaining good arch support. Note that some Bloch pointe shoes have the narrower box shape and snug heel which is not suited to a “fleshy” foot. Shoes such as the Aspiration and Alpha pointe shoe are designed with the advanced student in mind. These shoes offer better arch flexibility but should not be worn if you do not have strong feet and ankles.

Capezio Pointe Shoes

Capezio Pointe Shoes includes several styles, each intended for specific needs. The original Glissé features a hard shank, broad toe-box and a U-shaped vamp to allow dancers to roll up to pointe comfortably. The Glissé ES offers the same, but with a harder shank. The Glissé Pro and Pro ES are intended for more experienced dancers and feature a lower side and back height, with a medium and hard shank respectively. The shankless Demi Soft is based on the Glissé design, and intended for pre-pointe students.

The Plié style is best suited for dancers needing a vamp that extends beyond the toe. Plié I offers a medium shank, and Plié II features a harder #5 shank. The Tendu style offers a medium shank and boasts a quick break-in time. Tendu II has a broader box and wider platform. Both Aerial and Pavlowa shoes feature a Russian-styled tapered box. The Aerial is best to support high arches, while the Pavlowa offers a harder shank, longer vamp and heel height. The Contempora is an American-style wide-platform shoe with a longer vamp and lower heel.

Freed Pointe Shoes

Freed Pointe shoes are available in the Classic, Studio and Studio Pro styles. The various lines are designed for a specific level of dancer, as well as their physical requirements. The handcrafted Classic is particularly designed for the needs of the experienced or professional dancer. It features a deep, round vamp, but those needing more support will favor the deep V-cut vamp and stronger insole of the Classic Wing Block.

The Studio line is intended for the younger dancer and offers extra support. The Studio II style features a wider platform and lower profile than the original. The Studio Pro is also designed for the younger dancer, but it includes a V-shaped vamp and ¾ shank for greater flexibility.

Grishko Pointe Shoes

The line of Grishko Pointe shoes features Eleve and Releve models. The Eleve include the Ulanova I and II. These shoes are intended for dancers instructed to roll up on pointe. You can find out more about dancing en pointe at www.balletdancestudio.com . Ulanova I has a medium height vamp and versatile box for dancers with toes of an even or slightly varied length. Ulanova II has a deep vamp and is best suited for dancers with longer toes or narrow feet.

The Releve styles, Fouette and Vaganova, are designed to accommodate the Russian–style of springing on point. The Vaganova has a deep vamp and tapered box. This style is particularly suited for dancers with a flexible arch, longer toes or narrow feet. The Fouette has a broad box and wide platform best suited for dancers with shorter toes or wider feet.

Gaynor Minden Pointe Shoes

Gaynor Mindon Pointe shoes differ from many brands. While manufacturers commonly feature a variety of styles, Gaynor Mindon instead designs shoes over six fitting options; shank, vamp, heel, regular fit, sleek fit and size. So many variations can feel confusing, but the benefit of this brand is that dancers essentially custom fit their shoes. The entire line is designed to minimize the shock of impact and comfortably fit every type of foot. Shank options run from flexible/little support to hard/ample support. In order from flexible to hard shanks, options are Pianissimo, Featherflex , Supple, Extraflex and Hard. Vamp options include Regular, Deep and Sleek.

A deep vamp is best for dancers with pronounced arches, while the sleek vamp is best for feet wider along the ball and narrower towards the heel. High, Regular, Low and Sleek heels are available. Choosing between them is a mainly a matter of comfort. The Regular and Narrow fit shoes differ only in width, but less heel and vamp options are available with Narrow Fit shoes.

Suffolk Pointe Shoes

Suffolk Pointe shoes includes the Solo, which features a slightly tapered box and longer vamp. It is available with a range of shoe types, Standard insole, Hard insole or Light insole. All but Light feature a standard box which provides uniform support appropriate for most dancers. The Light version is a flexible choice designed to help dancers go on pointe more easily. Hard insoles are available with either a full or ¾ shank, so dancers have the choice of greater flexibility along with ample support. No matter the variation, the Solo Pointe shoe features a low profile to provide comfort throughout the metatarsal area without sacrificing support or function.

How do you choose?

There is not one shoe that overall is considered better than every other shoe. It really is a matter of individually fitting the right shoe to your foot. Be wary of other dancers recommendations because your feet will differ from theirs, and their shoes may feel very uncomfortable on you. You now know the major brands of pointe shoes and their different characteristics. You should have a good understanding of which style of shoe and which brand will fit best on your feet. I recommend finding a good retail dance store with a good shoe fitter. Get them to take you through the process of fitting different shoes and working out which shoe will best fit your feet.