Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adult Ballet Brings the Ethereal and the Grounded Together With Ballet Exercises

A common response to why adults seek ballet as an exercise to reduce stress, anxiety, or feeling spaced out, is "to get a sense of my body". Ballet is ethereal, yet taking adult ballet classes is a great way to get grounded.

If you take the big step and find a dance studio that provides adult ballet classes, how do you prepare yourself?

First, go and visit the ballet school, and observe the dance instruction in the adult ballet section. Before you buy any ballet wear, you can find out the dress code, and the the type of ballet leotards and tights most frequently worn. Check out the ballet shoes that are either required, or free for you to choose. Black or pink, black or white for men in ballet, and so on.

Whether you have a huge performing arts school, or a small neighborhood ballet studio, visit, watch a couple of classes and get a feel for the place. Ballet wear includes your hairstyle, clothes you might want to wear over your leotards and tights, if allowed. Even if you want to hide a less than wraith-like figure under a sweater, filmy skirt, or dance pants, always wear a leotard and pink tights, for women.

This classic ballet wear allows the ballet teacher to see what your muscles are doing, if she/he wants. This is only to your benefit, since especially in the beginner adult ballet classes, you want to know that you are learning correct ballet technique and getting into correct ballet positions.

Some adult ballet classes use Pilates to help warm up. This is excellent for developing the core muscles. Feeling your core muscles gives a good sense of the body. It is grounding. Feeling the core muscles and having correct posture in the low back/pelvic area will help you develop your turnout muscles without needless tension.

Feeling the soles of the feet flat on the floor, not slanting in (pronation) or out (supination) is essential. That in itself is a grounding effort. If you have been advised to exercise for stress or anxiety control, I think ballet is excellent. Ballet gives you control over something which you can indeed control. Your own body.

You cannot be spacey in ballet class. The music, the sound of the teacher's voice, and the sense of your body working, enhances your presence. You cannot be somewhere else. While getting grounded, you are learning an elegant and ethereal style of dancing. The best of both ideas.

By the way, presence is IT. If you ever wonder why professional ballet dancers work so hard for little money and lots of aches and pains, for so long, maybe because it creates more of their own presence so often. Because presence is Presence. You know what I mean.

So if you have always wanted to take adult ballet classes, go. Get the best teacher you can, and benefit from all the wonderful ballet manuals available now that will tell you all the finer details of ballet technique. That extra understanding will get you even more grounded in adult ballet technique.

The Ballet Store site provides a free ballet glossary so you can learn the French words for ballet quickly.

The Perfect Pointe Book gives practice routines you can do safely at home, after a few months of beginner adult ballet classes. Even if you never dance ballet in pointe shoes, the exact details of this manual will answer many questions you may have and never get to ask in ballet class.

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