Ballet Tips For Beginners

ballet tips for beginners

If you are looking at starting ballet classes, especially as an adult, you will probably be looking for ballet tips for beginners, so these are some of my tips on how to start training for ballet, especially if you start when you are older than the normal age of five.

If you are an adult wanting to get good at ballet you will need to be spending at least three hours a week in class, especially if you are an adult beginner, as your body has set, and the movements will be a little more difficult to master than a child whose body is still soft and pliable.

You will also need a lot of work in the beginning so that your body can learn the muscle memory required for ballet so be patient with yourself during the first year or two while your body learns what it should be doing.

Learning your basic arm and leg positions is a good idea to do before you attend your first official ballet lesson.

Ballet Tips For Beginners

ballet tips beginners

These ballet tips are designed for the older beginner who would like to take his or her dancing to the next level, and not just somebody who is doing ballet for fun and exercise purposes.

Ballet Tip Number One:

Don’t Be Obsessed With Your Body Shape

The body shape is really important in ballet and some people are born with that perfect ballerina body. But for the majority of us, we have to make the best out of what we are given. Learning ballet will give you grace and improve your posture, so already you will have a major advantage over the majority of the population.

Work hard in class and concentrate on what muscles should be activated at what times, and in this way, you will always improve on what you have.

Supplement your ballet training with some yoga and Pilates as this will strengthen and tone all the right muscles.

Ballet Tip Number Two:

Learn To Take Correction

Your teacher is there to give you help and correct your technique. Sometimes it may feel as if she is picking on you, but this is not the case, and you will most likely find that she is only trying to help you to be the best dancer that you can be.

If you get corrected, try to absorb and work on the correction as the smaller details are what is going to make you the better dancer in the end.

Ballet Tip Number Three:

Do It Often

Ballet is not something you are going to improve in if you choose to take one lesson a week. The more you do it the better you will get. One lesson a week students generally are in the class to get some exercise and not to actually improve their dancing skills in a hurry.

Ballet Tip Number Four:

Listen To Your Body

Ballet is a physically demanding art that requires your body to do all sorts of things that are not normal.

Don’t try to get there in a day. Work consistently to strengthen your muscles and don’t force your joints to do things that they are not ready for.

Some of the most common mistakes beginners (and even more experienced dancers) make that can cause damage to their bodies are:

  • forcing their feet to turn out instead of using the hips to turn out the legs and feet.
  • trying to do dangerous leaps and jumps without learning to land properly first.
  • going into pointe shoes before the muscles are sufficiently trained.
  • doing backbends without supporting them with your core muscles.
  • forcing or bouncing stretches. Consistent gentle stretching will get you there in the long run.
  • only do what your body feels comfortable doing, so if you have bad knees, don’t do full plies, or if you have back problems don’t kick your leg too high behind you.

ballet tips for beginners

Ballet Tip Number 5:

Stretch Often

Try to do some stretching every day, as having a flexible body will leave you less prone to injury, and your dancing will also look better if your body can move freely.

For some great stretching routines I highly recommend this stretching article and the course recommended at the end of it.

Ballet Tip Number 6:

Practice, Practice And Then Practice Some More

During class time, take advantage of the time you have in the studio and with a teacher.

Put in your best effort all the time and don’t be tempted to do anything half-way because you are getting tired. If you channel your energy into the right places, you will get the results you are wanting.

More Ballet Tips For you:

Here is a great video to give you more tips on the actual ballet steps that you are learning and doing.

If you have any more ballet tips for beginners, please feel free to add them to the comments section below.

All The Basic Ballet Positions Explained

Here are some basic ballet positions explanations and illustrations for you.   There are 5 basic foot positions and 5 basic arm positions in ballet – 1st to 5th position in both feet and arms.

Basic Ballet Positions Illustrations

Here are some ballet positions illustrations and descriptions to help you to understand them in your ballet training.

Ballet Positions of the Feet

The first position of the feet is with heels touching and the toes facing outwards.

basic ballet positions
First Position

Make sure that both feet are equally turned out from the hips and that they are not so turned out that the feet roll forward.  The turnout should come from the hip.

All five toes on both feet must be on the floor and relaxed, not clenched.

Because the arches of the feet are lifted and held, the feet shouldn’t look flat.

The knees should line up with the toes, or face the same way as the toes.  On this illustration, the toes are a little too turned out for a beginner, and most people will suffer knee injuries if they do ballet with too much turn out before they are ready and strong enough for it.

2nd Position of the feet has the same rules as the first position but the feet are separated by anywhere from one of your own feet to one and a half of your own feet.  The toes are in line with each other and the feet are equally turned out.

2nd position
2nd Position

2nd Position is not a pretty position but is used a lot in ballet exercises like echappe sautes and to strengthen the feet in pointe work.

Ballet dancers also do plies in 2nd position and it is the only position in which we plie without lifting the heels.

3rd Position of the feet is more like a stepping stone to 5th Position.  It is used to train young children or beginners and is used a lot in the grades exams.

Once a dancer is comfortable with 3rd Position, she then moves on gradually to 5th Position.  Professional dancers usually only work from 5th position rather than 3rd.

ballet position illustrations
Third Position

5th Position of the feet is the ultimate classical position, that you will see all the professionals doing.

It is a difficult position to work in, as the dancer must fully understand how to work the turnout from the hip socket as well as master landings in this position.

4th Position of the feet is a difficult one for dancers to master properly, and both legs need to be turned out equally at all times from the hips, and the weight of the body has to be in the middle, and not favoring one leg. The hips also need to remain square to the dancers front.

There are different variations of 4th position, for instance, 4th opposite 1st is a more open position than 4th opposite 5th.  The feet are about a dancers foot distance apart.

5th position of the feet
Fifth Position
basic ballet positions
4th Position

Ballet Positions of the Arms

ballet positions illustrations
First Position

The first position  of the arms that a beginner will learn at ballet is Bras Bas.

In ballet, the arms are always rounded in the basic positions, and they stay in the same shape while moving through all the positions.

Bras bas is not pictured here, but the arms are down with the baby fingers in line with the top of the thigh.  The elbows are held away from the body and there is a small gap underneath the armpit.

The upper back should be engaged, and the shoulder blades down.

1st Position of the arms is taken by lifting the arms in front of you so that the middle fingers are in line with the belly button.  The elbows are well supported and rounded, and the palms face inwards.

ballet positions illustrations
2nd Position

2nd Position of the arms is an open line with the arms sloping gently down from the shoulders.  The elbows remain supported and the hands have a soft and relaxed look to them.

The Dancer should feel the muscles across the upper back and underneath the arms working.

ballet positions illustrations
3rd Position

3rd Position of the arms is one arm in 1st and the other in 2nd Position.  This position is used to prepare for pirouettes and the arm line shown in the diagram is a bit higher than it should be.

ballet positions illustrations
5th Position

5th Position of the arms is the classic ballerina pose.  Both arms are above the head, rounded but lengthened with the shoulders relaxed, and shoulder blades have a feeling of sliding down the back of your spine.

4th Position of the arms is a mixture of 5th position and 2nd position.  You also get a 4th crossed position of the arms where the one arm is in 5th position and the other arm is in 1st position.

If you have any questions about these ballet positions illustrations, please leave a comment below.

ballet positions illustrations
Open 4th Position 

Turnout In Ballet and How To Increase Your Turnout

turnout in ballet

Turnout in ballet is a very controversial subject, and every ballet dancer wants to achieve perfect turnout. But how does turnout actually work and what are the limits. Let’s look at some of the muscle groups and ways in which we can increase our turnout in ballet.

Why is this and why do we need turnout in ballet?

There are three reasons we need to turn out in ballet.

The first reason is that turnout helps the dancer move sideways across the stage. In this way, the dancer can keep facing the audience in front of her as she moves effortlessly and elegantly across the stage.

The second reason we have turnout in ballet is because you can lift your legs higher when they are turned out. In ballet, the dancer aims to get her leg as high as possible without compromising her posture and hip alignment, and turnout is used to achieve this.

The third reason is that it looks aesthetically pleasing to watch a dancer with turnout. Turned in legs do not look at all attractive in ballet.

What is Turnout In Ballet?

Turnout is the outward rotation of your legs from the hip socket. Turnout in ballet can be used to describe the angle at the feet, the flexibility of the hip or the muscular control of that external rotation.

Although it is safe to imagine that the feet should perfectly reflect the available external rotation at the hip, in practice this is not exactly right.

Thomasen, who was a Danish orthopaedic surgeon, said in 1982 that the lower leg is externally rotated 5 degrees at the extended knee and that the normal ankle joint has an axis with an external rotation of 15 degrees. Therefore the foot lies at an angle of 20 degrees outwards. This is a bonus for classical dancers, but pushing beyond this at the knee or at the ankle when fully turning out the hip causes distortion of these joints with resulting malalignment of the foot.

Unfortunately once the joints are forced out of alignment, true balanced muscular control of the joint is lost.

So dancers need to be very careful to make sure that they are working within the range dictated by the hip joint, and only then can the externally rotated limb be securely controlled.

Turnout is not about standing and trying to force your feet into a 180-degree line as can be seen in Figure A. This is an impossible, over turned-out position.

turnout

Figure B shows a more realistic angle at which to work, but this position still demands at least 60 degrees of external rotation from the hip.

Figure C shoes a still visually acceptable angle at which to work, where a good balance of muscular control can be used around the hip.

When training young children, they need to work at an even more decreased angle to avoid injuring their joints over time.

Children dancing from the ages six to twelve years have the benefit of developing the femoral neck angle and after that can the bone shape no longer be altered.

To benefit from this, the child must presumably be working at her individual maximum with good control in order to generate the force withing the hip joint.

The entire leg is rotated outwards, and it is dependent on your flexibility in the hip socket as to how far you can work your turnout.  When bending your knees, they should always align with your toes and when standing, your kneecap should face the same way as your foot is pointing.

The amount of external rotation in the hip is dictated by the shape of the bones involved and the flexibility of the ligaments, joint capsule, and muscles.

What Muscles Are Used In Turnout?

There are many muscles of turnout, some more important than others, and there will be a constant interplay between them depending on the position of the hip.

Teachers will need to find the best ways of teaching turnout. Some may emphasize the wrapping round of the upper thigh at the back and others may emphasize the flattening and rotating of the front of the thigh.

These are the muscles that are used and that will be activated during external rotation of the hip in classical ballet. How much they are activated depends on the position of the hip joint.

The first are the adductors (inner thigh muscles). Nowadays the majority of teachers believe these are the most important muscles and insist that they are used.

In first, third or fifth position of the feet when the thigh is is fully turned and the pelvis held in balance, the inner thigh is brought to the front producing a flatness and muscle delineation, which is evidence of control and increased stability.

If we consider that the pubis of the pelvis is the origin of the adductors and the insertion is down the line spear at the back of the femur and if the pelvis is well placed (neither tucked under nor arched), the adductors will pull the back of the femur round towards the front.

They will also adduct it (bring it in towards the centre), which is exactly what we want in our closed positions, from where we start and in which we finish.

The more anterior muscles of the adductor group also help with flexion, taking the hip into deviant positions.

So teachers need to continue teaching the importance of the adductors in holding turnout. These muscles need to work hard in all closed positions and closing movements in first and fifth.

ballet turnout

Using the adductors of the supporting leg in adage will help the control of the supporting hip. However, in high adage positions to second when the pelvis has tilted horizontally, it is unlikely that the adductors are active on either leg. The adductors could well be holding onto turnout as they go through the motions of a grand battements a la second, but It is important that this muscle group  develops strength to balance out the muscles on the outside of the hip.

The apparent decrease in knee problems in dancers over the past two decades could be due to better emphasis on the use of the inner thigh rather than the forcing of turnout from the feet.

The gluteus Maximus is the most superficial of the seat muscles and is an external rotator of the hip joint and will be more or less active throughout classical movement.

If it is over gripped in static positions, the pelvis will tuck under and the normal lumbar curve will flatten. Whan movement takes place, the gripping actions must relax and so control is thus lost.

The Gluteus Maximus is an important muscle which extends the thigh and turns it out, as in arabesque. Posturally it works with the hamstrings below and supports the spine above, but overuse disturbs fine control and upsets muscle balance around the hip.

The third set of external rotators is made of the six deep lateral rotators (deep turnout muscles) situated closely over the back of the hip joint.

These can be thought of as the deeper layer of the gluteal muscles. This group is made up of the obturator interns and externes, gelmellus superior and inferior, quadrates femurs and piriformis. Their attachments strongly suggest that they are external rotators of the hip, but they are so deep that no EMG studies have been carried out on them.

However most dance investigators ad anatomists agree about the importance of the six deep lateral rotators in their role as turnout muscles.

So when standing on two feet in your ballet positions, the adductors, Gluteus Maximus and the deep turnout muscles will be well activated. In adage positions to second where the hip is abducted the deep lateral rotators come into their own.

As so much of our classical vocabulary is set in second positions, both a terre and en l’air, the full use of rotation and the dropping of the hip requires the use of these ideally placed muscles.

Remember that these are relatively small muscles and they will need to work concurrently with others to generate a burnout force around the joint.

The Sartorius is the long diagonal muscle which passes over the front of the thigh from the pelvis above ve the hip joint to the medial condyle of the tibia. It has a rotatory effect on the hip, although its main action is flexion, abduction and external rotation of the thigh at the hip and flexion of the knee like in a retire. The Sartorius works with the six deep lateral rotators in second positions.

The posterior fibres of the Gluteus medius and minimus also help with external rotation of the hip as the anterior fibres internally rotate.

Biceps femoris, the outside hamstring muscle, contributes to external rotation of the hip, pulling laterally on the head of the fibul where it inserts.

Another muscle that contributes to turnout is the iliopsoas, which is the main hip flexor. It is also an external rotator helping to hold the turnout in devant positions along with the adductors.

So as you can see there are many muscles of turnout, and some more important than others. There will be a constant interplay between them depending on the position of the hip.

While it is interesting to learn about the muscles of the hips, teachers cannot teach too analytically, but instead have to find the key to achieve the desired results.

How To Turnout In Ballet

Simply spreading your feet outwards as wide as they will go, as most beginners tend to do, is not correct, as you are simply placing a lot of strain on the knees, and this is going to cause injury in the future.

The best way to start is to find your natural turnout by standing with your feet in parallel first position, and then gently squeezing the buttocks muscles and letting your legs move outwards from the hip.

Once you are in natural turnout, there are many exercises that are done during your ballet class that work in turnout and train the muscles to remember this position and improve on it while you are dancing.

The more you dance in turnout, the stronger the muscles will get, and your body will allow you to do more as you get stronger. In the beginning, you will often feel your turnout slipping. Just stay focused on holding the turnout from the hips while you dance, and your body will eventually start doing it on its own.

Extra Note: When you turn out your legs for the first time you may find that one side can comfortably turn out much more than the other side. If this is the case, always work according to the rotation of the less supple leg. Never force turnout as this will lead to injury.

How Can I Improve My Turnout?

Most dancers dream of having 180-degree turnout, and unfortunately, this is just not possible on most body types. You can, however, enhance and improve on what you already have.

never force turnout
Some of these children are forcing their turnout more than they should

Remember, in order to be a good dancer or a professional dancer, there is a lot more than turnout that is needed, for example, musicality, technical strength, good feet – the list goes on…. Most gifted dancers do not have 180-degree turnout but still do very well for themselves.

If you start to dance as an adult, it is a lot harder to get your turnout as the hips have already set, whereas in a child the growing body is pliable and supple.

On this video, is one of the more popular exercises to stretch the turnout in your hips.

How To Increase The Turnout In My Supporting Leg

Here is an excellent exercise to do to increase the turnout in your supporting leg.

More Exercises for Your Turnout in Ballet

Tune Up Your Turnout In Ballet

Working rotation from the hips is important in all dance forms, not just ballet.

Here are two exercises to test your turnout and then end with a stretch.

Exercise No. 1

Lie on the floor with your hips about two feet away from the wall and place your legs at a 60-degree angle above the ground, resting your heels against the wall.

Hold your feet a few inches apart with your legs parallel to one another. Keep your knees straight.

Place your hands on your hips to make sure they remain still.

turnout in ballet

Turnout in balletWorking from this starting position, slowly rotate your legs out, initiating from the hips.

You will feel your inner thighs wrap forward and out like you should when standing in a turned-out position.

Without the floor under your feet, you won’t be able to twist your knees and angles to increase your turnout, you will be working only within your natural range.

Once you are fully rotated, return to parallel and repeat the rotation five more times.

Exercise No. 2

Lie on your side with your head resting on one arm and the other arm bent in front of you with the palm flat on the ground. Line up your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles so that you aren’t rolling forward or back.

Slide your knees forward so that they are slightly bent. Point your toes and keep them in line with your upper body.

Without changing the position of your torso, hinge your top leg like a door, opening at your knee and keeping your feet connected.

The rotators of your upper leg will be isolated as you work against gravity to lift your knee without disturbing your balance.

Hold your most turned out position for a few seconds before lowering.

Repeat 15 times then roll over and repeat on the other side.

If you really want to work those rotators repeat the exercise with a thera band tied around your legs just above your knees.improve your turnout

After working those rotators, stretch it out by sitting with one leg bent in front of you and fully extend your other leg behind you, aiming to keep your hips square.

Relax your upper body forward and feel a release in the hip of your front leg.

Hold for 30 seconds or longer and then repeat on the other side.

Correct control of turnout in ballet does not just happen. It needs to be careful tough, just as the position of the pelvis, alignment of the spine and weight placement through the foot need to be guided.

Red Ballet Shoes And Why They Are So Popular

red ballet shoes

Red ballet shoes are very popular and I am not sure if it has any correlation to the story of The Red Shoes, but let’s look at what types of red ballet shoes you can purchase online.

The Red Shoes Movie

The Red Shoes Movie is a 1948 British drama film written, directed, and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

The film is about a ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale ‘The Red Shoes’ by Hans Christian Andersen below.

The movie if you are interested can be purchased online for about $4 by clicking on the picture below.

The Red Shoes Movie stars Moira Shearer (famous ballerina of her time), Anton Walbrook and Marius Goring, as well as other well-known dancers at the time.

The film won best original score and best art direction at the 21st Academy Awards. It also got nominations for best picture, best original screenplay, and best film editing. In 1999 it was voted the 9th greatest British film of all time. In 2017 it was voted 5th best British film ever.

The story of The Red Shoes is the only reason that I can think of why so many people want to own a pair of these ballet shoes.

Red Ballet Shoes For Sale

Here are some options for anyone looking to purchase red ballet shoes. These can be purchased online at discounted prices. Simply Click on the picture or link that interests you to find out more.

Wendy Wu Girls Womens Dance Shoe Pink Ballet Pointe Shoes with Toe Pads (6, Red)

Silk-blend and imported.
  • Same size as sneakers 12C=18cm=7.08”, 12.5C=18.5cm=7.28”, 1 B(M) US=19cm=7.48″, 1.5 B(M) US=19.5cm=7.67″, 2 B(M) US=20cm=7.87″, 2.5 B(M) US=20.5cm=8.07″, 3 B(M) US=21cm=8.26″, 4 B(M) US=22cm=8.66″
  • 5 B(M) US=22.5cm=8.86″, 6 B(M) US=23cm=9.05″, 7 B(M) US=23.5cm=9.25″, 8 B(M) US=24cm=9.44″, 9 B(M) US=24.5cm=9.64″, 10 B(M) US=25cm=9.84″
  • Same size as sport shoes Size 12C and Size 12.5C suitable for children.
  • Toe Pad 1 is pink color, Toe Pad White is white color, just different colors; Soft ballet shoes with pure high-quality ribbon, High quality and economic dance shoes for ladies.
  • Noted: Please choose the size as your usual wear, for example, you wear US size 8 sports shoes, you can choose the size 8 dance shoes. Package included: 1 pair ballet shoes, 1 pair toe pads, 1ps shoe bag.

LONSOEN Ballet Slipper Shoes Stretch Satin Ballerinas Dance Yoga Flats with Pure Ribbons for Girls (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid SHC553 Red CN29

These satin ballet slippers have a high-quality leather sole with a soft and smooth satin upper.

They are non-slip and durable as well as comfortable and breathable, as well as cost effective.

Perfect for ballet, jazz, gymnastics, yoga, modern dance, and even as a costume.

L-RUN Girls’/Women’s Canvas Ballet Dance Shoes/Ballet Shipper/Yoga Shoe (3 Little Kid, Red)

  • Canvas upper and leather sole.
  • High-quality canvas top with a split leather sole and elastic drawstrings.
  • Washable.
  • 8 colors to choose from.

BININBOX Girl’s Canvas Ballet Dance Toe Shoes Professional Satin Pointe Shoes (Red,13 M US Little Kid)

These ballet shoes are canvas and come in both red and pink.

Kid Girl’s Classic Leather Practise Ballet Dancing Yoga Shoes,Red,Toddler 8 M US

These shoes are imported leather and with a suede sole.

Durable and long-lasting PU leather with elastic straps.

Elegant embroidered design and split soles for ease of movement.

The color of the shoe is guaranteed not to fade.

Silky Toes Women’s Foldable Portable Travel Ballet Flat Roll Up Slipper Shoes with Matching Carrying Pouch (Large, Red)

  • These comfortable red pumps are synthetic with elastic in the back of the shoe to keep them firmly on your feet.
  • They can be rolled up and put in your bag.
  • They come with an adorable matching hair bow.

NLeahershoe Lace-up Canvas Dance Shoes Flat Jazz Boots for Practice, Suitable for Both Men and Women (10W/9M/44, red)

These gorgeous boots can be worn as ballet shoes or just as something comfortable to lounge around the house in.

For more information on buying shoes online, click here.

How To Strengthen Feet Especially For Dancers

how to strengthen feet

Because feet are a very important part of our anatomy let’s look at how to strengthen feet. If we have problems with our feet, we will almost certainly have problems elsewhere in our bodies. It is a worthwhile exercise to take good care of your feet, to ensure that they stay healthy and strong well into old age. As ballet dancers, you should be taking even more care of them than the average person.

how to strengthen feetEach foot is made up of thirty-three joints, over a hundred ligaments and twenty-six bones.

It is your job to keep all your foot parts aligned properly. You can help your feet by learning to lift your arches, spread your toes and center your weight over your entire foot.

Learning to do this will help your muscles to move better, your spine to stack as it should, your core to engage and your posture to improve.

Here are some easy exercises that you can do to strengthen your feet and in turn help the rest of your body.

How To Strengthen Feet

Improve Your Ankle Stability

Start by lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip distance apart. Your feet should be about sixty centimeters away from your butt.

Lift your toes so that only your heels are on the floor and your feet are flexed. Then from your heel to the tips of your toes, slowly roll your feet to the ground and lift your heels until only your pointed toes are on the ground. Repeat the entire process about ten times.

Strengthen Those Arches

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip distance apart. Your feet should be about sixty centimeters from your butt. Lift both arches and draw your toes in towards your heels.

Then relax the arches and slide your heels towards your butt flattening your feet. Repeat this process until your heels are close to your butt. This movement resembles a caterpillar.

Now reverse and take your heels towards your toes. Your toes should flatten and spread as the arches flatten. Continue until you are back to where you started. Repeat the above process three times.

strengthen feet

Stretch The Ligaments In Your Feet And Work On Your Alignment

Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your left knee ninety degrees and place the outside of your left calf on the top of your right thigh. Having supple feet is super important.

Interlace your right fingers with your left toes. Spread your fingers and inch them forward until your toes are webbing out between your fingers. Close your hand and let your foot totally relax. Keep holding your foot and make large circles with your ankles. Do six circles in one direction and then six in the other before switching feet.

Strengthen Your Ankles And Promote Correct Gait

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip distance apart. Your feet should be about sixty centimeters from your butt.

Roll your feet onto their inside edges keeping the insides of your big toes on the ground so that your feet look like wings.

Next, roll your feet to their outer edges so that the outsides of your pinkies and heels are on the floor. Repeat this process slowly walking your feet away from each other until they are between sixty and ninety centimeters apart, then walk them back together. Do three sets as described above.

That’s it. It doesn’t take to much when it comes to how to strengthen the feet and keep those feet healthy, so make sure to schedule a little foot time into your busy week.

How To Protect Your Feet, Ankles, Calves And Legs

how to protect your feet

As a ballet dancer, you know that your feet, ankles, calves, and legs are your most valuable assets. Let’s look at ways on how to protect your feet and safeguard your lower extremities, as well as common injuries and how you can avoid them.

how to protect your feetHow To Protect Your Feet And What To Watch For Dancers

Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendinitis

Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendinitis is, unfortunately, a common ailment in ballet dancers. Your calf muscles provide the power to point your feet, and the flexor hallucis longus is the tendon directly responsible for pointing the big toe and helps you to stabilize your ankle on pointe.

This tendon runs through a sheath on the underside of the inner ankle bone and along the bottom of the foot. If you have flexor hallucis longus tendinitis, you will feel pain on the inner side of the ankle behind the bone and just in front of the Achilles tendon when you go up on pointe or when you point your foot.

To prevent this happening in the first place make sure to warm up and stretch well before dance class. Avoid excessive rolling in of the feet, pointing the toes to forcefully, and over-rehearsing.

how to protect your feet

See a doctor if you feel catching or clicking in the sheath of the muscle, as this is a sign of chronic inflammation.

If this condition is left untreated, it can result in weakening, thickening and even tearing of the tendon.

Sprained and Twisted Ankles

Another common ailment in ballet dancing is sprained or twisted ankles.

The ankle is a vulnerable joint and is prone to sprains, especially when the foot is forcefully twisted or turned inward. This most commonly occurs when the dancers land incorrectly after jumping, especially when overtired.

It also occurs a lot by people just misjudging when doing something as simple as walking down steps. This twisting can also tear ligaments.

Most dancers will know when they have twisted an ankle but just in case, the signs are swelling and pain when putting any weight on their foot. Sprains can be minor or severe, so it is best to consult with a doctor for proper treatment.

Treatment will normally involve resting, ice, compression, and elevation. Sprains can take from ten days to three months to heal, depending on the severity.

To limit the odds of this happening to you, try to strengthen and condition all the muscles that support the ankle. Also check the floor that you are dancing on is smooth and clear of debris, and not too slippery.

More Insights On How To Protect Your Feet

Those little feet at the other end of your body take a lot of beating over the years, whether you are a dancer or not.

Here are some other things you can look at when it comes to how to protect your feet.

Lose Weight

Excess fat is hell for your feet. A survey of more than 6,000 respondents by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society found that 41 percent of people with foot pain reported gaining weight before the soreness set in.

Most people visiting a physician for foot or ankle pain, or changing shoes based on a doctor’s advice had an average BMI of nearly 28; a healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9.

The more you weigh, the greater the stress you place on the bones, ligaments, and tendons in your feet. Being too heavy can cause fatty tissue to break down under your heel and contribute to Plantar Fascitis, which is the inflammation of the bottom of the foot between the ball and the heel.

Choose Function Rather Than Fashion

Because each and every foot is different, it really pays to get your running or walking shoes from a store that specializes in helping you find the right fit rather than ordering a pair online because you like how they will look.

Your local store should analyze how you run or walk and help you find the best shoes to fit your needs.

(Even if you’re not a runner, shoe specialists can fit you with good trainers based on the activities you do).

Ideally, the shoes you choose will provide support in the places you need it in order to reduce the risk of overuse injuries, stress fractures, and knee pain, which can occur if your shoes don’t fit properly. how to protect your feet

Don’t Wear Shoes That Are Too Narrow

Wearing shoes that are too narrow causes bunions over the long haul. This includes ill-fitting pointe shoes, dancers. Bunions can cause severe pain and swelling and may require surgery to remove them.

Shoes that are too narrow at the toe area can also cause ingrown toenails, which as we all know are not fun to have.

In Conclusion

If you do any high impact activity, such as running, dancing, aerobics, make sure to take special note of the surfaces that you do these activities on.

Running on concrete is very straining on the entire leg.

Doing high impact activities on floors that don’t have any give in them is the opposite of how to protect your feet.

Your feet have to last you forever, so start learning to protect your feet starting today.

Ballet Positions Feet – How Do I Teach Them to Little Dancers

ballet steps for kids
ballet positions feet
1st Position

The best way to teach the ballet positions feet to little ones, is to use a language that little dancers will understand.  It is not important in a five year old’s mind to learn what 1st Position is, they are just there to dance and have fun.

With little ballerinas it is best to stick to parallel when teaching them, especially when jumping.  Let them feel their knees over their toes first before trying to get them to dance turned out.

A good way for them to get the feeling in 2nd Position is to get them to stand in parallel 2nd, feet hip distance apart, squeezing a ball between their knees.  Get them to bend and stretch without dropping the ball.  The knees will tend to go inwards when they bend, but the ball will help them to get their knees aligned over their toes.

A good way to teach ballet positions feet, especially for little ones, is to come up with special words for the positions that can help them associate to the positions of the feet. For example you could call first position “smiley feet” or tell them to look down and check that their feet are smiling at them.

You could also try placing their feet in parallel and then tell them to open the door and get them to open up their toes and keep their heels together.

How To Teach Ballet Positions Feet

ballet positions feet
2nd Position

When you approach first position, make sure that their knees are over their toes.  Don’t let them turn out too much as children love to exaggerate and stand with their feet at 180-degree turnout.

I tell my children that this is very bad for making pretty ballet legs.  Let them work to their ability and do some plies in 1st, explaining that the knee must open over the toes.

Using pictures helps. I tell them that their knees are like an umbrella shading their toes.

Young children have a limited ability to understand turnout from the hips so when introducing 2nd Position, you could have them jump out and in.  Try to stop them from going too wide and work in parallel or natural turnout.

Let them try to stand in second and check that the weight is evenly placed in the middle of their two feet.

Make sure that the children have their weight equally on both feet when standing.  All the toes should be on the floor and the ankles should be in a straight line and not rolling forwards.

ballet positions feet
3rd Position

I usually show them 3rd Position of the feet, but at this age we don’t work from third as they are not developed enough to be able to understand using both sides of their body equally, and tend to put more weight on one leg than the other.

I also like to show them 4th and 5th position, although I don’t work from these positions either at this age.  They usually ask as they are curious once they know there is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd position of the feet.

ballet positions feet
5th Position

Ballet Lessons Online – Should You Be Doing Them?

ballet lessons online

With the internet, we are able to do so much more nowadays than say twenty years ago.  You can even go as far as having ballet lessons online.  We would have had a good laugh at this all those years ago, but now it seems almost normal.

Yep, all you need to do is Google ‘how do I do a pirouette, ‘show me a battement tendu’ or, even ‘Teach me all the positions of the feet.’  There is no shortage of free online dance classes beginners can do.

Well are ballet lessons online a good thing or a bad thing you may ask?Ballet Lessons Online

Well, classical ballet is a very specialized field. Although there are masses of resources online, in order to do a good job of learning the art of ballet, you are going to need to go to formal lessons.

There is no way around this. If you have never taken lessons before, you are definitely going to need to do this.

Ballet, although it looks so easy, takes years and years of training.

Exercises have to be taught and repeated endless times correctly in order to develop the muscle memory.  It takes years to perfect movements so that they look natural and easy.

You will need a trained eye to correct your faults before they become bad habits that are impossible to get rid of.

For example, you could be sickling your feet every time you point, and if this doesn’t get nipped in the bud timeously, you could have a difficult time correcting it later on, and you will have even more difficulty getting up onto pointe when the time comes.

Another reason not to take ballet lessons off of the internet is the fact that you could seriously injure yourself.  If you try to do something before you are physically ready or strong enough, you could cause permanent damage to your body.

Why You Need A Ballet Teacher?

  • You need a teacher to tell you just how much you must turn out and what muscles you should be using to achieve this turnout.
  • You need a teacher to tell you just how far you should be bending your spine backward, and believe me everyone is different here.
  • You need a teacher to tell you just how far you can push your body without causing injuries, and as ballet has such unnatural body alignments, it is obvious that your whole posture needs to be adjusted in order to perform the physical exercises that ballet demands.
  • You need a teacher to point out your faults so that you can correct them before they become habits.
  • You need a ballet teacher to give you a good foundation that you can use throughout your life, whatever other physical sports you pursue.ballet classes online

So there is no doubt that the art of ballet is something that needs to be trained slowly, precisely and over a number of years by a good teacher.

Can I Still Do Ballet Lessons Online?

Sure, you can use the internet to compliment your training by all means. The internet is a great place to get new ideas and new ways of doing things.

There are also videos that you can use to consolidate what you have learned in class, and help you to understand the steps better.

Just make sure that your internet lessons are accompanied by good solid technique, that only a qualified ballet teacher can offer you.

To find out more about good ballet lessons online, Click Here!

How To Buy Ballet Shoes Online And Save

how to buy ballet shoes online

Many dancers would love to know how to buy ballet shoes online, as it works out a lot cheaper in most cases, not to mention that there are so many more choices available than one would find at your local dance shop.

In fact, there are many places that you can buy ballet shoes online from.  A Google search should quickly reveal a multitude of websites aimed at selling all types of dance shoes and gear. The best part is that you will usually be able to pick up some great ballet shoes at discount prices, as online stores save a packet on their rentals.

How To Buy Ballet Shoes Online

Before you start your search on how to buy ballet shoes online, make sure you know what size you want. Ballet shoes are supposed to fit your foot like a second skin, so resist the urge to buy 2 sizes bigger for you or your child. They will not only hamper dance performance but also look ugly. Remember ballet is about clean lines, and nothing looks worse on a ballet dancer that slippers that look like gumboots. Always remember that ballet is a visual art form.

There are many places that you can order ballet shoes online with the most popular and well known online store being Amazon. You should be able to get cheaper ballet shoes here, but know your prices so that you can double check and get the best deal.

For children, there are two primary types of ballet shoe – namely leather and satin.

Although the satin shoes are a lot cheaper, bear in mind that leather shoes will last you a whole lot longer. Satin shoes get dirty rather quickly, but can be put in the washing machine and then stuffed with tissue paper while they are drying. Now you can also get canvas shoes which are also strong, durable and proving to be quite popular.

Resist the urge to buy split soled shoes for a young child. When children do ballet, they need to work the underneath muscles in the foot, and the split soled shoe does not give too much support in this regard. Split soled shoes, however, look lovely on the stage or for exams, but I wouldn’t recommend them to train in all the time.

Make sure you know the width of your child’s foot.  Ballet shoes come in different widths and lengths for a better individual fit.

There is a selection of ballet shoes you can take a look at at the bottom of this post.

Can I Buy Pointe Shoes Online?

how to buy ballet shoes online
Photo by J Lamberson

Pointe shoes are a different ball game as they are quite specialized, and each dancer has unique feet, so care and thought must be given, especially when starting pointe work for the first time.

Here is a guide you can use when buying pointe shoes for the first time.

Pointe shoes are not something you should buy online for the first time. Rather let a qualified professional fit you when you first start pointe work.

You will need to get pointe shoes that support your type of foot in the best way possible, as getting incorrectly fitting pointe shoes can do more harm than good for your feet in the long run.

Once you know what your exact size, fit and pointe shoe make is and your feet have stopped growing then it is fine to order online as you will know exactly what to order.  Pointe shoes are fairly expensive, and they don’t last long once you reach the advanced levels in ballet, so it is always good to shop around, and what quicker way to do it than online?

Did you know that the average lifespan of a pointe shoe is about 12 hours?

Selection of Ballet Shoes To Buy Online:

If you want to have a look at how to buy ballet shoes online through Amazon, simply click on any of the links or picture below to find out more.

Capezio Daisy 205 Ballet Shoe (Toddler/Little Kid), Ballet Pink,8 M US Toddler
how to buy ballet shoes online

  • Leather
  • Imported
  • Leather sole
  • Leather ballet shoe with a pre-attached elastic strap and adjustable ties at the front
  • Features “This belongs to: ” satin ID tag at the interior, Bar-tacked elastic drawstring.

The above information applies to this she and the women’s ballet shoe below.

Capezio Women’s Daisy Ballet Shoe, Ballet Pink,8 M US
how to buy ballet shoes online
Msmushroom Kid Girl’s Classic Canvas Practise Ballet Dancing Yoga Shoes, Natural,9 M US


how to buy ballet shoes onlineThese are canvas ballet shoes that can be used for class or for a party. They come in various different colors to suit every party dress.

CIOR Ballet Slippers for Girls Classic Split-Sole Canvas Dance Gymnastics Yoga Shoes

These can be used for both Ballet and Yoga. Super comfortable and soft, and the feet look beautiful in them.

Capezio Women’s Daisy Ballet Shoe,Black,7 M US

Black ballet shoes aren’t as popular at the used to be as pink is the new black, but they are always good to have, especially for your costume wardrobe.

Isotoner Satin Pearl Ballerina Girl’s Slippers White Large 2-3

  • This slipper is made of satin with a suede leather sole.
  • Beautifully adorned with embroidery and pearl detailing. They are made of the same quality materials as the Isotoner Embroidered Pearl Satin Ballerina Slippers.
  • These are not proper ballet shoes for class, but more for a bridesmaid or flower girl. Also great to use as slippers at home.
  • Machine wash in cold water with like colors. No bleach. Dry flat away from heat. Do not tumble dry iron or dry clean. 
  • These slippers will make a great gift for a winter Christmas holiday season.

So there you have it – how to buy ballet shoes online and save.

Hope this post has helped. Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions about how to buy ballet shoes online and save.

 

Capezio Dancewear That Dancers Love Wearing

capezio dance wear

There are many companies that manufacture dancewear, costumes and other great dance essentials for both students and professional dancers, but Capezio dancewear is one of the most popular brands of dance gear out there. Capazio dancewear has over a hundred years of experience in the performing arts field, and I have included a brief history at the bottom of this page.

Because dancers are always looking for comfortable gear in the form of tights, leotards, and shoes, Capezio Dancewear caters, especially for the dancer. Not only is Capezio Dancewear comfortable and practical, but they also have some really pretty designs, especially in their leotard range.

Capezio leotards are available in a variety of designs and interesting fabrics like ribbed cotton and velvet. Some of the more popular styles include the double-strap or cross-strap camisoles.capezio dance wear

Although there are no specific brands of shoes that schools require for their dancers, many encourage their girls to wear pink and their boys to wear black or white for ballet. Capezio dancewear has so many different colors and designs to choose from. Their pointe shoes are also very comfortable and many dancers worldwide choose this brand.

Other popular ballet manufacturers alongside Capezio dancewear are Sansha, Bloch, Grisko, and Prima Soft. These companies all have popular full-soled and split-soled shoes. Capezio also sells leather Romeos, split-sole ballet shoes designed especially for men.

Some ballet dancing schools can be strict about accessories, but most allow short skirts to be worn during variation classes, but only at the instructor’s discretion.

Some allow skirts that match your leotard,  and a lot of manufacturers are doing skirts that are attached to the leotard now. All the skirts are normally color coordinated to their leotard line. Some allow for creativity, and students can even opt for the hand-dyed look of Watercolour skirts.

Fun accessories in dancewear include unique dance bags and warm-ups. A popular style with girls and boys is the rip-stop nylon shoulder or messenger bags with cell-phone cases attached.

The most important aspect for dancers I find is the comfort. Capezio Dancewear is made with only the high-quality materials and fabrics that allow the skin to breathe, which is great, especially on hot sweaty days.

Popular Capezio Dancewear

Here are some examples of Capezio Dancewear that can be purchased online from the comfort of your own home. If you are interested in any of the items below or viewing anything similar, simply click on the picture or the link above it.

Hope you enjoy, as these are some of my favorite Capezio products.

Capezio Little Girls’ Flutter-Sleeve Dress Leotard, Pink,S (4-6)capezio dancewear

  • The leotard is 90% Nylon, 10% Spandex and trim is 100% Polyester.
  • Cold water, hand wash, lay flat to dry.
  • Pretty pleated flutter sleeve.
  • Full front lining.
  • Available in baby pink, white and black.

Any little ballerina will feel like a princess in this outfit. The perfect gift for the little ballerina in your life.

Capezio Women’s Double-Strap Camisole Leotard, Black, Smallcapezio dancewear

You will absolutely love wearing this leotard. Attractive crisscross back.

The fabric is made with 90% cotton and 10% lycra. It feels great on the body even when you’re sweating.

Just beware of the sizing on this style when you order. It seems that you need to order two sizes up from what your normal size is.

This leotard comes in Amethyst, black and Navy.

 

Capezio CapezioBig Girls’ Diamond Racerback Leotard, Seafoam, Large

  • 78% Other Fibers, 22% Spandex.
  • Hand wash the camisole leotard.
  • Dries quick with natural wicking.

This sophisticated camisole leotard flatters your figure and is secure on the body for both adults and children.

You will definitely draw ooh’s and ahh’s for its unique laser cut pattern which is backed by a stretch mesh. Produced with high quality Meryl fabric which moves with the body, dries quickly and naturally wicks moisture. Vibrant new colors with matching skirt available.

These are just a couple of examples of the stunning leotards that the Capezio dancewear range offers.

 

Capezio Women’s Ultra Soft Body Tights, Light Suntan, Large/X-large

  • 86% Taclel Nylon, 14% Spandex.
  • Hand wash only
  • 1 inch plush elastic waistband,
  • Dye-to-match gusset.
  • Also comes in pink, black and nude.

A customer wrote “I discovered Capezio because my sister is a ballet dancer and I once asked to borrow her tights when my nylon stockings ripped before a party.

I instantly fell in love with them. They are so soft and are designed to stretch in every direction, so they never tear. They are not translucent like ordinary stockings but they don’t look silly like thick tights.

For the price of one these forever tights, I would have gone through so many cheap stockings and so many evenings with the crotch falling down to my knees, my feet getting sweaty and blistered, and the material tearing along my entire calf. After buying these tights, I’ll never wear anything else.”

 

Capezio Daisy 205 Ballet Shoe (Toddler/Little Kid), Ballet Pink,6.5 M US ToddlerCapezio Dancewear

  • Leather slipper and sole.
  • I recommend ordering one size up from the shoe fit guide shown on the website.
  • This ballet slipper is constructed of high quality, lightweight, soft, durable leather and a bar-tacked elastic drawstring
  • Full chrome tanned suede leather outsole for durability. Wider fit, shaped on a generous women’s last. Begin with street shoe size
  • Daisy print on hung cotton lining, Unisex no-print lining for black colorway.All dance shoes are to fit snugly as they do stretch with use.

 

Capezio Little Girls’ Ultra Soft Transition Tight, Ballet Pink, One Size (Kid 2-6)capezio dance wear

  • 86% Tactel Nylon, 14% Spandex.
  • Hand or machine wash in cold water, tumble dry low.
  • Plush elastic waistband.
  • Dyed-to-match gusset.
  • Super soft and comfortable.

Transition tights are great for dancers who do ballet and modern and they need to get into bare feet in a hurry.

 

Capezio Women’s Seamless Clear Back Bra With Transition Straps, Nude, MediumCapezio Dancewear

  • 90% Tactel Nylon, 10% Spandex.
  • Machine wash cold, gentle cycle, hand dry, no bleach.
  • Adjustable straps
  • Perfect smooth fit under layer.

 

Capezio Women’s Hold & Stretch Footed Tight, Ballet Pink, X-LargeCapezio Dancewear

  • 100% Nylon.
  • Hand wash Only.
  • Matte, semi-opaque tight with dyed-to-match gusset and cutout at the ball of the foot.
  • Comes in many different shades and colors.
  • Once again, order one size bigger than needed, as a small fit.

 

Capezio Women’s “E” Series Jazz Slip-On, Black,9.5 M USCapezio Dancewear

  • Leather/Fabric.
  • Synthetic sole.
  • Heel measures approximately 0.5″.
  • Shoes may appear small due to intended stretch factor. Once the shoe is stretched to fit over the foot, the shoe will fit as per the Women’s size.
  • This shoe’s sizing is equivalent to street shoe size.
  • Heel counter features an Achilles relief that provides a softer top line
  • Neoprene stretch arch insert.

 

Capezio Leather Pirouette II Dance Shoe, Nude, Large/10-11.5 M US

  • Ultra-soft leather with a leather sole.
  • Suede sole patch with pleats,
  • Ballet constructed sole patch really allows the toes to spread,
  • 5/8″ one-sided plush primary elastic pre-attached at the sides,
  • 3/8″ secondary elastic attached under the arch.

 

Capezio Women’s Footundeez Lyrical/Modern Shoe, Nude, M (US Women’s 8-9 M)Capezio Dancewear

  • Made of fabric with a suede sole.
  • This shoe’s sizing is equivalent to street shoe size.
  • ExoArmour duet suede sole patches molds to and moves with the foot for unbeatable traction and protection.
  • One-sided plush elastic with Capezio logo.

 

Capezio Women’s Rockit Dance Sneaker, Black,8 M USCapezio Dancewear

  • Mesh, suede, and synthetic.
  • Synthetic sole.
  • This shoe’s sizing is equivalent to street shoe size.
  • Flat, boxed toe for toe stands.
  • Padded Achilles notch for added comfort.

 

Gel Knee Pads SMCapezio Dancewear

  • Hand wash and air dry. 
  • Bamboo knit fabric and contoured silicone knee pad provide comfortable support and protection in the studio.
  • Slip on and stays in place through those long rehearsals.
  • Nude fabric and low profile make them less visible on the Dancefloor.

Capezio Dancewear Had Humble Beginnings

Capezio/Ballet Makers Inc. is the leading U.S. manufacturer of dance and theatrical footwear. The respected brand has been around for well over one hundred years, and many famous dancers have relied on Capezio shoes over the years.

Capezio dancewear began as a tiny shoe shop in New York City run by a teenaged Italian immigrant called Salvatore Capezio.

He was born in 1871 in the town of Bruno Lucania Potenza, Italy. After training as a cobbler, he came to the United States as a youth. He set up shop on Broadway and 39th Street in New York in 1887 when he was only 17. His shop was called “The Theatrical and Historical Shoemaker.”

He did not start out by making dance shoes, only repairing performers shoes. But more and more performers and dancers started bringing their shoes to him for repairs and soon he was just specializing in dance shoes. Anna Pavlova made him famous by ordering shoes for herself and her entire company from him.

Capezio mainly specializes in ballet slippers and toe shoes, as well as costume shoes for jazz, modern dance and theatrical performances.

Capezio also makes specialized footwear for circus performers and gymnasts. Along with shoes, the company produces dance and athletic clothing such as tights, leotards, and warm-up outfits as well.

Capezio now operates two factories, one in New Jersey, and one in Florida. Much of the shoe assembly is done painstakingly by hand. Capezio also contracts with factories in Brazil, Thailand, and China to make some of its shoes and clothing range.

Capezio dancewear sponsors the annual Capezio Dance Award, which gives a cash prize to a significant dancer or choreographer each year. The award is overseen by the Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, a charitable organization set up by the company in 1953. Capezio/Ballet Makers is a private company still run by descendants of the founder, Salvatore Capezio.