Do you feel you’ve plateaued in your ballet career? Or are you simply just not improving as quickly as you’d hoped? It’s important not to skip ahead to skills we’re not flexible or strong enough for. Instead, follow these proven tips to elevate your ballet career.
4 Tips for Getting Better at Ballet
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
If you are serious about getting better, it isn’t enough to wish it. Ballet shouldn’t end when you go home. The most common advice you will receive about improving your ballet skills is to practice whenever you have the chance. In class, identify skills that require more work to solidify and do those at home. If you don’t have a mirror, record yourself doing them so that you can see how you look. In addition to practicing, consider cross-training by adding conditioning to your regime. Though doing ab workouts are never fun, your strength will lift you to new heights as you jump higher and hold positions longer.
2. Come Prepared
The best way we can come prepared for class might be the first that comes to mind. If you want to improve quickly, make sure to take time beforehand to memorize essential ballet terminology. The faster we can mentally recall positions, the more focus we can put into the form and correct positioning. By learning the terminology outside of class, we spend more time in class getting feedback on form and technique instead of figuring out what we are supposed to do.
Stretching beforehand is another great way to maximize class time. If you come to class still needing to limber up, it may take half the class before you’re loose enough to perform skills at your peak. Consistent stretching outside of class will also ensure that you are reaching your potential in training. Additionally, consider doing breathing exercises before class to loosen your muscles and relax so you can better ease into your moves.
3. Let Go of Embarrassment
Often the only one holding you back is yourself. Don’t be afraid to fail because the only people that never fail are those that never tried. In such a competitive sport, it’s easy to get discouraged. Don’t let criticism get to you. Your coaches wouldn’t be worth your money if they never gave you constructive feedback. Seek out their feedback every class to fine-tune your dancing. Remember that with every correction, you are getting closer to being the best ballerina you can be. Trust in the process and keep your chin up.
4. Focus On Your Goal
Scientific research has shown that mental visualization can be a very effective tool for growth! Use it to help you correct your form on a specific move or execute a routine smoother. When you have downtime, run through skills in your head multiple times that you are struggling with. If you see yourself do it in your head, it will make the physical execution even easier. Focusing on your goal also makes the process seem less difficult. When you are struggling with motivation, remind yourself why you are doing this. Picture yourself in the coveted lead role of The Nutcracker, or whatever position you are aspiring to, and take a minute to visualize how it will feel. When you wholeheartedly focus on a goal, the sky is the limit.
In short, if you are looking for a simple fix, we don’t have the answer for you. Ballet is a difficult sport that requires dedication and perseverance. As with any sport, the time you’ve spent practicing is reflected in your performance. Keep focused, work hard, and you’ll get to where you want to