It is simple to improve your dance fitness with the wealth of information available. I didn't say easy, but simple. The following tips may help you.
Sometimes it is a little stressful thinking about the things that are wrong in your ballet positions, ballet movements, or other dance steps. Yet, if you do some analysis for yourself and develop a plan, I think you'll feel optimistic with an organized long term view.
Making a checklist to sort out things that you want to change and improve. It might look something like this:
***"the most basic correction I get - related to posture, flexibility, turnout or weakness?"
In other words if your corrections are directed to your demi plies, that is basic. It is going to affect nearly everything else you do in dance class. Is your most basic correction related to something you can change, or related to your physique?
If related to your physique, you may or may not be able to change something. Or, you may be able to change it over several years, so you have to give up being frustrated about it and get very patient and methodical.
If your correction is about something you do wrong, but you cannot seem to change it, why not? Is it related to a lack of understanding about it? Or you understand it but your body just doesn't seem to do it when everyone else's does? In classical technique, it's important to understand that certain ballet movements and ballet positions defy the human anatomy.
Sometimes ballet technique means "the safest and most aesthetic way to cheat", be it fifth position, or your arabesque. Ballet teachers do not like to talk about cheating, and it's not really cheating. It's calculated, educated compensation.
If you have to release the hip placement to get an extension of ninety degrees in a la seconde, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. If you learn the right way to do it, you will be able to do turns a la seconde without falling off pointe or demi pointe. You will still have a postural plumb line, and you'll look correct, aesthetically.
So back to making a checklist:
*** "things I can change by improving my ability to concentrate on doing it correctly every time"
*** "things I can change over a few years"
*** "things I don't understand how to change"
*** (a sublist) "things I need to research to simplify my practice"
Ballet and other dancers tend to just work harder, do more and more repetitions. However, practicing until your muscles burn is worse than not practicing. Ballet training does not usually accommodate what sports and fitness trainers consider a realistic recovery period, so burning out your muscles is harmful.
Professionally prepared ballet tutorials and guides are written with moderate practice routines, and self-assessment tests so you know when you have improved. You can get progress charts with some of these, or make up your own.
Adding to how you make your checklist:
*** "my weakness is because of muscle power and I need to......" understand and add nutrition, hydrate better, sleep better, rest more, learn to release more tension. Once you've figured this out, you will start improving.
If you are still growing, growth spurts can bring on muscle pain and awkwardness. Your body doesn't fit anymore! However, this passes.
Let your ballet teachers know that you are practicing for better dance and ballet fitness, the ballet tutorials you are using, and ask for feedback. If your teacher is not that approachable, work with another student and you'll learn some valuable ballet coaching skills as a bonus, and you'll be making faster progress.
This is just a way to get started. I haven't dealt with many details. I'd have to write a book. Thankfully, some excellent dance educators already have. With you in mind. Three of the best are right on our home page.
Last update : Friday, 06 February 2009