Ballet has been called the poetry of the dancing world…and no wonder. This fluid, graceful form of dance has been a favored discipline for decades now and shows little signs of waning in popularity. Ballet is also as much a rigorous workout as it is a dance. You may believe you’re not up to the challenge of ballet, but if you start smart and work hard, anything is possible.
There are plenty of tips and tricks and things to remember about the art of ballet that any ballerina/o would do well to commit to memory. We will look at six sensible ballet tips today, in the hopes that they will inspire you on your dancing journey.
Tip #1: Take the time to stretch
One of the most important ballet tips before any lesson is that of going through a thorough warm-up routine. When your muscles haven’t had a chance to move, breathe, and stretch before you go into a challenging routine, they can become strained or even tear. Many ballet classes offer a warm-up period before you start your class. But even if yours doesn’t, make sure you take the time before class to stretch and loosen your muscles.
It can be tempting to skip the warm-up and jump right into more interesting routines. However, if you want to take your ballet classes more seriously, it’s vital that you stay safe by stretching.
Tip #2: Know how to take criticism – and compliments
In the world of ballet, critical comments and compliments often come from the same creative space, especially if they’re given by your instructor. One of the hardest things in the world (especially in the world of performing arts) is taking criticism. This is especially true when you’ve given everything to a ballet move or a full performance and someone finds it wanting.
If your instructor gives you a critique, take it with grace. They truly want to help you become better at ballet. And if they give you a compliment, take it with humility. It’s tempting to focus a large part of your thoughts on compliments. However, that makes failures harder to deal with. So accept compliments, enjoy them for the moment, and then work even harder to perfect your craft.
Tip #3: Allow failure to become a friend
This advice might seem crazy – insane, even. How can failure be a friend? However, it’s not so hard to understand, once you really think about it. Failure can become our greatest enemy, yes, but that is all in our head. In reality, we learn from failure, perhaps even more than from success because we learn what doesn’t work – and what does.
If you’ve never failed during ballet, it may be because you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. Only by pushing ourselves close to the breaking point (and, yes, to the point of failure) can we truly learn and grow.
Tip #4: Never doubt yourself
Achieving any kind of success as a ballet dancer is all about discipline – making sure that you’re committed and willing to do anything necessary to make your dreams and goals a reality. With that in mind, the importance of staying the course cannot be overstated. As a ballet dancer, you need to throw yourself – body, mind, and spirit – into the pursuit of excellence in the dance.
Yes, it may be difficult at first to attain that kind of laser-focused vision that’s necessary to really succeed as a ballet dancer. By always striving, reaching, and training yourself to never accept second best, you can become a truly proficient ballet dancer.
Tip #5: Hard work will take you farther than anything else
Some people are born with an innate grace and a natural talent for the ballet. This is wonderful, of course, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But what about the rest of us who may not be as well-equipped for dancing? The good news is that you can still go far, very far, simply by working hard.
‘Simply’, yes. In some ways, it’s a simple thing to strap on your ballet shoes and go to practice every single day without fail. In other ways, it’s one of the hardest things. There will be days when you feel like giving up, when you feel as though your body cannot take another practice session. Where your spirit feels broken after a round of criticism or a mistake during a performance. But when we work hard to overcome these things, our technique and skill will be all the richer for it.
Tip #6: Eat smart
We saved one of the best ballet tips for last. While there are many debates over what is the best diet for a ballet dancer, you should try to eat as healthily as possible. Proteins, fresh produce, and healthy carbs are your best options. You don’t want to feel stuffed – or starving – on the day of a big performance, or even during a practice session. Fuel your body in smart ways and it will repay you many times over.