Training Diary is the logbook that once leafed through takes us on a pleasant journey of daily workouts. A series of intermediate and advanced leveldance lessons that you can download for free from our website. Ten practical lessons using the Vaganova method both in the setting of exercises and in defining positions. Classes include:
Exercises at the barre such as demi pliè, bartement tendu, bartement tendu jetè, rond de jambe par terre, bartement fondu, ron de jambe en l’air, adagio, frappè, petit bartement sour le coud de pied, grand bartement tendu jetè.
Exercises in the center and diagonals
Musical beats are given for each exercise to help you translate each lesson into music.
To download the first three dance classes click on the image below:
How to dress for ballet class? Today we will talk about appropriate attire for a ballet class….
In ballet, although it may seem obvious to specify, the basic training kit includes three basic elements: leotard, tights, and half-tips.
My leotard: Cotton or Lycra?
The dance leotard can differ in both patterning and fabric making.
Opting for a particular model is mostly a matter of individual taste (except for requirements related to internal regulations of academies or specific teaching methods)
Instead, the choice of realization fabrics divides insiders’ opinions.
Cotton as a natural fiber is a hypoallergenic fabric that absorbs sweat excellently and is quite durable over time.
In contrast is cotton is a poorly elastic fabric that tends to shrink after a few washes.
Therefore, this fiber does not provide optimal fit and comfort and, due to sweat impregnation, is prone to discoloration and bad odor and therefore does not allow for aesthetic consistency over time.
Lycra on the other hand, is a synthetic fabric endowed with great elasticity, tends not to fade when washed at low temperatures, and thus provides greater wearability and color consistency over time.
Because it has poor wicking properties, Lycra can promote irritation or allergic reactions to its components, especially for more sensitive skin.
To overcome this, some manufacturers coat the bodysuit internally with a layer of hypoallergenic fiber or breathable mesh.
This expedient achieves the result of defining the body line more and increasing the feeling of comfort due to the increased support and firmness provided by the double layer of fabric.
Therefore, it is generally preferable to purchase internally lined leotards regardless of whether they are made of lycra or stretch cotton
And for my feet better canvas or leather?
Ballet half po inte shoes are divided into 4 main categories: full-sole canvas half pointe shoes, split-sole canvas half pointe shoes, full-sole leather half pointe shoes, and split-sole leather half pointe shoes. The full sole provides more support on the floor and being stiffer in its curvature forces the foot to exert more effort.
This type of sole is definitely more suitable for first courses. In fact, the students must learn to point the foot, as well as strengthen it, but at the same time they must feel more stability in contact with the floor. The split sole (also known as a teardrop sole because of the shape) tends to adhere more closely to the foot, enhancing the line of the foot and facilitating movement through increased foot contact with the parquet floor.
Among other things, these features allow the teacher to better grasp the movement.
Regarding the choice of realization fabric, it is always good to remember that:
Leather is more durable so it has the merit of being longer lasting and more suitable for any type of floor. Due to its stiffness, leather is technically less performing because it limits the movement of the foot more and does not enhance the line of the foot.
The skin also has the defect of not being able to be washed so with sweating it will tend to smell bad over time.
Although canvas is more delicate and therefore prone to deterioration, it is technically more suitable for encouraging and highlighting foot movement.
The cloth is also aesthetically pleasing (including the ability to be colored) and is both hand and machine washable at low temperatures.
Tights for ballet are normally made of micro fiber and can vary in thickness (denier) and coloration.
For the study, we tend to use 50-denier tights in white or pink.
These tights have the characteristic of being rather resistant to contact with the floor but at the same time stretchy and not overly thick to promote movement.
Professionals will tend to use the more transparent 40-denier tights.
So how to dress for ballet class?
In fact, there is no “ideal clothing” that applies to everyone.
Indeed, some elements must be taken into account that condition the final choice:
The degree of experience of the dancer, the characteristics of the room, membership in an academy or school that applies a specific method, and, last but not least, also the preferences of the teacher.
However, for the first courses it is advisable to use:
A girl’s studio bodysuit made of lycra or cotton as long as it is lined inside with hypoallergenic fiber
Of a pair of 50 den micro fiber tights
Full-sole leather or canvas half toes.
For intermediate and advanced courses, where technical and aesthetic requirements begin to become preponderant:
Compared to ballet, modern dance is apparently subject to fewer rules regarding studio attire.
In fact, teachers generally tend to give more freedom of choice to their students. This approach leads many female students to believe that for warm-up and standard training, the optimal solution is to use t-shirts and sweatpants. Instead, we can say that there are also more technical solutions for this discipline that guarantee higher standards of training.
More comfortable or tighter fitting?
In choosing on how to dress for modern dance class, one can in fact choose between two solutions.
Opt for a tighter fit that allows teachers to better technically correct pupils’ movement. Or prefer a softer uniform that still has suitable technical requirements and at the same time has an aesthetic impact on the final movement. The tightest uniform consists of a short-sleeved leotardse culottesfor warmer seasons or long-sleeved bodysuits and from tights for modern danceFor the colder months. There is also the option of opting for the use of a tight-fitting academic suit. The more comfortable uniform, aimed especially at more advanced courses, instead involves using a soft, long-sleeved shirt or tank top and short but slightly loose-fitting shorts such as a runner or Bermuda shorts.
Using this second solution has the added advantage that the suit can also be used for performances and competitions throughout the academic year.
What to wear on the feet?
For modern dance exercise depending on your needs, you can put on lifesavers, jazz shoes or sneakers. The lifesavers fit and a choreography with softer movements related to neoclassical or contemporary dance. Jazz shoes are preferred for modern dance choreography or video dance. The shoessneakers low or high with a split sole are preferred for hip hop or break dance choreography.
Modern dance today has increasing contaminations of contemporary dance, modern-video and hip hop.
Therefore, it is advisable for advanced course students to possess all three models presented to better suit various choreographic needs.
Even for the warm-up phase, it is possible to suggest the use of some technical clothing that will facilitate the dancer in achieving the intended result.
In fact, this phase is preparatory and essential to prevent small and large muscle injuries during training.
A proper warm-up also ensures proper muscle tone and flexibility during exercises.
There are warming apparel solutions for different affected body areas, which we outline below.
How to dress for warm-up: Bust
First of all, over the dance leotard, academic tracksuit or jersey it is always useful to wear a heartwarmer made of wool or warm cotton, also known as a crisscross cardigan.
The heart warmer has both the function of warming the torso and containing the heat given off by the body itself during warming.
The choice between woolen or warm cotton fabric often depends on the weather conditions in which students and teachers warm up.
The use of wool in direct contact with the skin is not recommended if there is any form of hypersensitivity to this specific fabric.
From an aesthetic point of view, but also and especially for functional needs, it is important to use a heart warmer that is as close as possible to the dance leotard we wear.
In fact sometimes the heart warmer is kept on even for the first few exercises of the class and therefore should not hinder movement.
How to dress for warm-up: Legs and Feet
As for how to dress for leg warming, it is essential to use so-called leg warmers over tights.
Depending on your needs, leg warmers can be short or long and always as close to tights or leggings as possible.
The foot is kept warm by wearing soft booties referred to as foot warmers until the time of bar exercises or toe climbing.
Note that students in intermediate courses and especially those in advanced courses often replace heartwarmers and legwarmers with comfortable full-body suits or academic jumpsuits made of warm cotton.
In recent years, wool is often replaced by fabrics such as warm cotton or fleece, which provide the same standards of fit and thermoregulation but with less dermatological discomfort.
As anticipated in previous articles, evaluating how to dress for dance class is clearly a preparatory step with respect to ‘training itself. However, before engaging in the study and execution of dance techniques, every good dancer (from beginner to professional) devotes a few minutes to warming up. Warm-up techniques normally follow standard figurations aimed at activating muscle groups and joints To prevent possible injury. There is an attempt to take more care of the parts of the body affected by the positions that will later be performed in the study phase. These techniques are basically similar for both ballet and modern dance. In fact, the exercises take place mainly on the floor for the first part and then with some stretching exercises at the barre.
Here are some examples of useful floor warm-up exercises to practice before class:
Warm up ankles, feet, hamstrings and lower leg muscles
Sitting on the floor, legs stretched forward and torso erect with both arms along the body and hands touching the ground.
Twist clockwise first the right foot and then the left foot five times. Repeat the exercise by doing counterclockwise rotations on both feet. Repeat the sequence by twirling both feet clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time, five more times.
Warm up trunk, shoulder blades, arms and cervical area
Lying supine with legs outstretched and arms stretched out to the sides along the body: draw circles with the arms directing them upward to reach the head, then spread them out until they touch the floor and let them come back down along the sides as they crawl across the floor. Repeat the sequence three times clockwise and then three times counterclockwise. Next: spread the arms sideways making them crawl across the floor to reach the head, descend down the center of the body bringing the hands to pubic height and then return to the initial position along the sides.
Warm up the hips and stretch the back
After finishing the trunk and arm exercises, remaining supine lying on the floor, bend both legs bringing both knees toward the chest. Embrace the legs at knee height with your arms and push them toward your chest, while your back will remain extended on the floor . Exhaling while pushing your knees toward your chest will throw out the air . Repeat the sequence three times.
For every aspiring ballerina, choosing and fitting a pointe shoe is a symbol of reaching a goal. Toe shoes should therefore be evaluated very carefully taking into account a number of technical variables:
In fact, one must consider not only the quality of the product but also its adaptability to the specific foot of the dancer. We list the most important features below:
1) Hardness of the sole
For the first few periods, it is best to prefer a soft sole that facilitates climbing at the toe and at the same time provides support once you get on.
For dancers with a “very pronounced” instep, it is preferable to opt for a stiffer sole now.
In fact, in this case the foot will need more support from the shoe.
2) Plant width
The pointe shoe should have a more square sole that will provide more comfort for those who are not used to wearing this type of shoe.
In fact in the early days the pointe shoe tends to hurt the toes of young dancers .
The square sole also allows for more stability when stepping on the toe because the surface area on which the toe rests is larger. To avoid the annoying toe ache, it is also good to wear a layer of thin fabric called a toe protector inside the toe shoe:
The toe guard will serve to protect the foot from rubbing during movement and consequently prevent blisters. There are two types of tip protectors:
A more economical foam toe protector that is ideal for those who only wear toes for one or two hours a day.
A more comfortable silicone toe-guard that provides greater foot softness for those who must wear the shoes for several hours at a time.
3) Height of the template
The toe mask is the part of the toe shoe that covers the toes and can be wider or narrower as needed.
For the first few toe climbs, it is preferable to opt for a medium jig, that is, one centimeter covering beyond the toes.
The template is used to keep hold of the foot and to support it when going up the toe to avoid what is called “going over” in technical jargon.
This thus prevents the risk of catching sprains during training. For those with very weak feet or those prone to flatness, a lower template as leaving the instep freer helps more to get on the toe.
Conversely, for stronger feet or those with greater instep, a taller template can be opted for from the outset.
Combined with an elastic band to be sewn into the shoes, the tape will serve to hold the shoe firmly in place at the ankle.
This facilitates movement and provides more stability to avoid sprains.
Nylon ribbon is always preferable to satin both because it tends less to slip and because it is more neutral in coloring.
Fun facts about the toe shoe….
Is it always necessary to sew the toe shoe ribbon?
Sometimes professionals depending on the ballet they are performing may choose not to sew the ribbons but only the elastic.
This choice is related both to an aesthetic fact and because depending on the choreography they can more quickly remove the shoe.
For beginners, not sewing ribbons is very risky because you risk getting sprains on your feet so it is always recommended to wear them.
We suggest you read this article on How to prepare the toe shoe.
How to distinguish the right tip from the left tip?
Pointe shoes do not have marked which is the right and which is the left, so to distinguish them we suggest a trick.
When you buy the toes put them next to each other, and you will notice that at the height of the sole of the foot at the side of the shoe, the toe shape is more cleated.
The cleated part of the shoe always dresses the inside of the reference foot. Therefore in the shoe of the right foot the inside of the neckline will be on the left, and in the shoe of the left foot the inside of the neckline will be on the right.
Purchasing ballet tips is an exciting time for any young dancer.
One practical lesson that all the dancers had to learn with a hint of disappointment is that pointe shoes cannot be fitted immediately.
Indeed, tip preparation is a ritual that is as fascinating as it is indispensable for them to be used in training or during the show.
First of all, we need to make sure that we have everything we need:
– Once the tips are distinct take the needle and thread and prepare them for sewing.
– Fold the satin heel of the toes back toward the insole to form a triangle.
– The corners at the base of the triangle thus obtained represent where we will need to sew the elastic since that is the correct distance from the heel.
– Use a pencil to mark this point in the inner sides of each tip.
– Sew the elastic into the inner part of the shoe being careful to sew only the inner toe lining so that the stitches of the seam do not show on the outside and thus avoiding an ugly aesthetic effect.
– Take the nylon ribbon and place it next to the elastic in the direction of the toe of the shoe after which sew it onto the ribbon by making small stitches on the three outer sides of the ribbon.
After sewing one point repeat all the steps on the other point as well.
Interesting facts about tip preparation
To avoid slipping on the parquet floor, it can be helpful to use the Greek pitch on the soles and toes of the pointe shoe.
Greek pitch can also be used on the inside back of the shoe to prevent it from slipping off.
You have waited so long, prepared for many months, and finally the time has come: the long-awaited ballet audition.
Now, however, the question arises, “What will I have to wear?” Let’s see how I can help you, starting with a fundamental element and that is the leotard:
a) If you feel really fit and comfortable, I recommend choosing a flesh-colored or otherwise light-colored leotard. This trick will help you visually attract attention and make your body lines stand out. Here are some examples of models on our site to which I refer:
Marta a long-sleeved leotard with a wide neckline at the back to highlight the back
Capri if you need a bodysuit with suspenders but with an eye-catching and unconventional pattern
Sophie if you love pink and are in a romantic mood
Odile as original as the Capri and also ideal for a possible variation of contemporary
If the regulations allow the skirt to be worn as well, it is always preferable to use one that matches the leotard possibly made of mesh if you prefer some transparency. Two particularly suitable models may be Tiss, at mid-thigh height, and Anya, at above-knee length and therefore suitable for slimmer physiques.
b) If, on the other hand, you prefer to use a dark-hued leotard then my advice is to try to catch the jury’s attention by choosing a particular pattern in shapes, fabrics and color combinations:
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