Ballet Positions Ballet Turnout And Stretching Exercises For You Too

Stretching exercises for ballet require a comprehension of typical warm up exercises done in classical dance classes, and of course, some basic ballet positions. A beginner in ballet learns the five foot positions  early in training, even if if they can not immediately do the more difficult fifth position and fourth crossed position.

These two positions are difficult because they depend on the dancer having been born with ballet turnout – requiring both a shape and flexibility in the hip joints. Ballet turnout can be increased, either by stretching the rotator muscles (Piriformis) which allow turnout, and also strengthening ballet posture (which is the natural spinal posture allowing the natural curves) and also the core muscles.

Ballet dancers want high leg extensions, to the front (devant), second (a la seconde) and the back (arabesque). These ballet positions depend on long hamstring muscles, long adductor muscles, and flexible psoas and quadriceps muscles. This flexibility can be improved with easy to learn stretching exercises.

In every day language, long at the back of the thighs, long inside the thighs, and long in front of the thighs and in the front of the spine muscles, allowing the back to bend at the waist. These three areas will allow the basic ballet positions of the legs.

Stretching exercises in ballet class are usually done at the end of the ballet barre.

The muscle groups are all well warmed up at this point. While the dancers stretch, they also get a rest from high intensity exertion. In a stretching exercise they must maintain the integrity of their ballet positions, yet they can relax a little as they place their legs on the ballet barre, and do graceful body bends, stretching their muscles and lengthening their ballet positions as they do so.

After this ballet stretching on the barre, the dancers get a small break and they will usually proceed then to do the splits–front-to-back–and sideways, stretching by themselves, at their own pace, on the floor.

Advanced students can stretch in partners, because they have the experience and skill to do so. This is not usually recommended for beginner or intermediate student levels, because forceful pushing in ballet positions could possibly tear a muscle or ligament.

The simplest ballet stretching that can be done by any level of ballet student, including beginner or adult ballet beginner, is a series of stretching exercises that do not necessarily look balletic, but are very safe and effective. These are presented in  “Effective Stretching The Ultimate Stretching Guide”  and can  be learned by anyone. These stretching exercises will elongate the leg muscles and the hip muscles involved in ballet turnout.

The creator of these ballet (and for the rest of us) stretching exercises also includes a demonstration of relaxation techniques and massage using a medium soft/hard ball, a pinkie ball, and tiny balls to release muscle tension even in the arms and hands.

The Benefits of Flexibility

Increase ballet turnout for better ballet positions.

So while ballet turnout may seem a complicated issue for the beginner ballet dancer or uninitiated, it can be learned from a dance medicine specialist, at home, and enjoyed even more when you get into ballet class.

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