Stretching Exercises For Adult Ballet
One of the hardest challenges for those who want to take adult ballet, especially if they haven’t been doing any flexibility exercises, is to learn the right method in performing stretching exercises. If you are sore and stiff in your joints when you get out of bed in the morning, how do you approach learning ballet stretches?
My advice is to start with some easy stretches every morning. Not ballet stretches, but a comfortable stretching program that will get you feeling more flexible in general. After you’ve moved around for a few minutes, and feel a little awake, stop wherever you have enough space to swing your arms around.
- raise your arms to your side
- swing to one side, letting your head follow, and allowing the opposite heel to come of the floor when you swing as far as you can
- let the arms bend as you swing, and rotate around you, with one arm bending behind your back, and the other bending across your front
- as you start to swing around to the other side, stretch your arms out then let them bend again, crossing behind you and in front of you
- it doesn’t matter if the heel you swing away from comes off the floor a little, or a lot. Keep the toes in contact with the floor to maintain balance
- repeat 6-8 times
- repeat 6-8 more times, but leave the face forward until the swing pulls it into the direction you are swinging
- this gives you an easy neck stretch and shoulder stretch; it’s one of the best morning stretching exercises
This swinging/rotating movement increases circulation in your spine, from tail bone to neck, and in your neck and shoulders. Just by the fact of moving, your circulation increases in general, moving more oxygen around your body. A great way to wake up! While you’re waking up, you’re doing something for your class in adult ballet!
Don’t get up in the morning and decide to bend over and try to touch your toes. Why? This position isn’t a stretch. You may feel a pull in the back of your legs, but in most cases this strains your low back. Both the backs of your legs – your hamstring muscles – and your low back muscles can be properly stretched in two very different positions. In fact, don’t do much of anything except get up and move around gently for a few minutes. It simply isn’t necessary, and won’t help you with stretching exercises..
The above swinging exercise is wonderful to repeat at lunchtime if you’ve been sitting on a chair all morning, or doing some restricted but repetitive motion in your job. It’s also good to repeat later when you’re preparing for class at adult ballet.
A few stretching exercises will usually be included for adult ballet students, sometimes different ones from class to class. Since each individual in an adult ballet class has a different dance background (or none) the teacher tries to give an array of flexibility exercises, hoping that they will be practised at home in between classes.
Your adult ballet teacher will be happy to point out to each student which of the stretching exercises he or she needs the most, if it isn’t obvious from ballet exercises.
There are more easy-to-learn stretching exercises which will specifically help you become more flexible for adult ballet. I hope you will try these out and realize your goals to become an adult beginner in dance.