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Unlock Your Flexibility Potential: A Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Ballet Skills

Isabella McGuire Mayes • 29 Sep 2023

Unlock Your Flexibility Potential: A Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Ballet Skills

As a beginner ballet dancer, you’ve already taken the first graceful steps into the enchanting world of dance. Every plié, tendu, and arabesque is a testament to your dedication and passion for this beautiful art form. But there’s a crucial element that often escapes the spotlight in the early stages of ballet: flexibility. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explore the significance of flexibility in your ballet journey and how you can unlock your flexibility potential, as well as this helpful, expert-led flexibility plan from our online studio. Whether you’re relatively new to ballet or have been dancing for a short while, this article will help you understand why flexibility matters and how you can work on it outside the studio, including live and online classes through an affordable soloist membership

The ballet beginner’s mindset

As a beginner, you’re navigating the fascinating world of ballet, where each movement is a blend of artistry and athleticism. You may have already realised that ballet demands not just grace and strength but also flexibility. Why is flexibility so crucial for a budding ballet dancer like you?

  • Range of motion: Ballet requires a wide range of motion, from the elegant extension of your legs in a grand battement to the graceful articulation and line of your feet. Flexibility allows your body to move freely and achieve those beautiful lines that define ballet.
  • Injury prevention: Flexible muscles and joints are less prone to injury. Ballet movements can be demanding on the body, and without adequate flexibility, you may risk muscle strains, ligament injuries, or joint issues.
  • Elegance and grace: Flexibility is the cornerstone of elegance in ballet. It enables you to achieve the fluid transitions and graceful poses that captivate audiences and express the artistry of dance.

Strength and flexibility: A delicate balance

Isabella, an experienced ballet teacher and coach, rightly stated, “Strength without flexibility is useless.” This mantra underscores the delicate balance that every ballet dancer must strike between strength and flexibility. Imagine a rugby player who, while undeniably strong, lacks the flexibility required for ballet. It’s a vivid example of how strength alone cannot fully unlock the potential of ballet movements.

Beyond the ballet studio

To truly enhance your flexibility and make significant progress in ballet, it’s essential to go beyond what happens in the studio. While your ballet classes are invaluable for learning technique and foundations, dedicating time to flexibility training outside of class is equally crucial. 

But where should you begin, and how can you ensure that your efforts are targeted and effective?

The pitfalls of YouTube classes

You might be tempted to turn to YouTube for flexibility exercises, and while the platform offers an excess of videos, it lacks the structured approach necessary for beginners. Many of these videos are not tailored to your specific needs as a ballet dancer in the early stages of your journey. You will likely find yourself overwhelmed by choices and uncertain about which exercises are suitable for you.

The solution: Structured plans

This is where structured flexibility plans like our Get Flexible Beginner Plan come to the rescue! These plans are designed to take the guesswork out of your flexibility training, providing you with a clear path to improvement. With well-structured plans like these, the choices are made for you, and the exercises are laid out in a logical and easily digestible way.

The plan (which is included in our very popular middle tier soloist membership) includes 3 options for different levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced – with both recorded online classes and live online classes. These plans include 4 weeks of classes that focus on key areas such as:

  • Learning how to add stretching into your routine
  • Stretches for all areas of the body for beginners
  • Learning how stretching will benefit your body, mind, and ballet
  • The power of consistency with the help of a plan

A blueprint for flexibility in dancing

In the meantime, here’s a blueprint to help you start your flexibility journey as a beginner ballet dancer:

  1. Stretching routine

Begin with a basic stretching routine that targets major muscle groups. Perform stretches for your legs, hips, arms, back, and shoulders. Hold each stretch for 1-2 minutes and repeat several times. Make stretching a daily habit, even on non-dance days, to gradually improve your flexibility. Try this Beginner Stretch class or this class on Long Hamstring Stretches

  1. Yoga or pilates

Consider incorporating yoga or Pilates into your routine. These practices not only enhance flexibility but also build core strength and balance, which are essential for ballet. Look for beginner-friendly classes or online resources designed for newcomers. As part of Ballet With Isabella, we have a host of conditioning classes by Isabella or you can take a live online class with our expert yoga and pilates instructors.

  1. Resistance band exercises

Invest in stretching  bands, a versatile tool for improving flexibility. Use them for stretching exercises to gently increase your range of motion. These exercises can be particularly helpful for improving leg flexibility. Try this Beginner Stretch class

  1. Flexibility classes 

Explore flexibility plans specifically designed for ballet dancers, like our Get Flexible Beginner Plan. These plans often include a curated set of exercises tailored to the unique needs of ballet practitioners. By following a plan, you can track your progress and ensure that you’re working on the areas that matter most for ballet. You can also try out targeted classes like our Spine Mobility class, Hip Mobility and Stretch class, or Morning Mobility Workout class.

  1. Consistency and patience

Remember that flexibility improvements take time, especially for beginners. Be patient with yourself and stay consistent in your efforts. Over time, you’ll notice gradual but significant changes in your flexibility, which will enhance your ballet practice.

Get Isabella’s expertise at our online ballet studio

At our online ballet studio, led by experienced instructor Isabella McGuire Mayes, the first British graduate of The Vaganova Ballet Academy and a soloist of The Mikhailovsky Ballet, we understand the importance of flexibility for ballet dancers. Isabella’s extensive experience allows her to create structured flexibility plans like this one, that cater specifically to beginners like you. With Isabella’s guidance, you can embark on a flexibility journey that complements your ballet practice, enabling you to move with greater grace and elegance.

Start your journey to greater flexibility today 

As a beginner ballet dancer, embracing flexibility as an integral part of your journey is essential. Flexibility not only enhances your range of motion but also reduces the risk of injury, contributes to the elegance of your movements, and supports the artistic expression that defines ballet. 

By dedicating time to structured flexibility training outside of the studio and following a well-designed plan, you can unlock your flexibility potential and elevate your ballet skills. Remember, it’s not just about how high you can kick or how far you can stretch; it’s about embracing the beauty of ballet through a flexible and resilient body. Start your flexibility journey today with us, and watch your ballet skills flourish like never before – you can select a plan here and sign up for our affordable soloist membership.

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