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.
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).
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!