Class Questions: January & February 2017

Hello Spartan dancers! I wanted to follow up on some questions that I’ve received since the semester started…

Q: What music have we been listening to in class?

I work with a lot of CDs for class music, but the two most common ones are Reimagined for Ballet: Classical Edition by Andrew Holdsworth and Ballet Class Music, Volume 3: Advanced by Elena Baliakhova. Both are available for purchase online.

Q: Are there any big differences between full-soled ballet slippers, and split-soled ones?

Not in my experience. Most canvas ballet slippers made for adults are split-soled (wherein leather pads are placed just under the toes and the heel of the foot). All-leather slippers tend to be full-soled.

ballet-slippers

I use both regularly and have never really noticed a difference in performance or comfort, though all-leather slippers do tend to last longer than the canvas variety.

Q: Are satin ballet slippers OK to wear?

So long as they are actually ballet slippers (with the leather sole) and not a fashionable shoe meant to look like ballet slippers. Satin ballet slippers meant for dancing will have a soft leather sole (no heels or rigid shanks). They usually have ribbons, and sometimes will have both elastics and ribbons (though you may have to sew these on yourself).

black-satin-slipper

These types of shoes are more common outside of the United States, though I have occasionally seen them in stores and catalogues in the U.S. as well.

Q: What about pointe shoes?

It takes years of continuous practice and exercise to become strong enough for pointe work. Though I have known adults who have progressed in their training to start on pointe, it’s very, very rare. So unless you are planning to spend more than 20 hours a week in dance classes and training along with additional exercise to strengthen the ankles and feet, I’m afraid that pointe is likely a no-go.

Q: What resources do you recommend for ballet practice at home?

You can do barre exercises at home using a sturdy chair to help support you (for many years, I used a heavy kitchen chair as my “barre”). There are a number of barre videos out there, from the New York City Ballet’s barre workouts to livestreams posted by various ballet companies and schools. One of my go-to YouTube channels is hosted by popular ballet vlogger and NYC Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan, who has a ton of videos ranging from stretching tips and barre workouts to make-up and hair advice. Her videos are informative and a lot of fun, so check that out. J

If you are working out at home, just make sure to follow the same rules that we observe in the studio:

  • stretch fully and completely before beginning barre
  • work from slow to quick tempos to make sure that your muscles are well-warmed before extending your technical practice
  • allow yourself a cool-down period after practicing
  • listen to your body! Make sure to stay well-hydrated and not to over-exert yourself to avoid potential injury

Q: Are there other types of exercise that can help me get better at ballet?

Cross-training is a great way to stay fit between classes and improve coordination and strength outside of ballet. Yoga, Pilates, swimming and jogging/running are all great ways to stay in shape when it’s time to return to the barre. In addition to my own ballet practice, I take water fitness and yoga classes to keep in shape. MSU offers a host of different classes and forms as part of the Group Exercise program, so definitely check out their calendar for more fitness options!

Please keep the questions coming – I will do my best to answer all of them! Until next Friday’s class, have a great weekend!

~Kitty

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