Ballet is the root, the foundation of all movement. It fosters strong technique in all dance mediums by increasing flexibility, balance and core strength. It improves your lines, turns and jumps. It teaches you how to transition from one movement to another correctly, prevents injury, and helps a dancer to find grace through strength. Ballet is fun! Wait, ballet is fun? Taking ballet class can sometimes seem like a necessary evil, a means to an end or a repetitive mix of the same pliés and tendus that can put you into a lull of sleepy monotony. No more! Here are 5 ways to make every ballet class a joy.
1. Make every exercise a performance
Even at Barre, think of someone you would like to be dancing for and do it! Picture them watching your every move. Use your eyes, your head, your power and your heart to give them the show of a lifetime.
2. Challenge yourself
Think about the corrections you received in your previous class. Choose one to focus on the entire class long. You will be amazed how one correction can fix so many things from adagio to allegro and everything in between.
3. Be inspired by your peers
Don't be jealous. Look around. Who grabs your attention, makes you want to watch them dance? Think about what it could be that makes you want to watch that person dance. Is it their passion, expression, lines, energy, confidence, mystery? Then, use that inspiration to find your own spark and work to become the dancer in class that no one else can take their eyes off of!
4. Cheer each other on!
Clap when other groups complete a combination. Congratulate other dancers when they perform well or make a new breakthrough. It feels good to be nice. It raises everyone's spirits, and the whole room can float on the accomplishment of just one when celebrated.
5. Go somewhere else
In your mind, that is. No, that does not mean to ignore your teacher! Pretend you are dancing each combination in some exotic location. What would that piqué arabesque feel like on the Moon? Pretend you are under the sea and imagine little bubbles floating off of your fingers with each port de bras. You can go anywhere; it is your mind.Amber Rosah Keeley has been a ballet teacher and an award-winning choreographer in the Twin Cities metro area since 1993. She is currently the School Director at Out on a Limb Dance Company & School, a St. Paul non-profit arts organisation, and the ballet coach for the national champion University of St. Thomas Tommies dance team.