How to Warm Up for Ballet: Exercises to Do Anywhere

When watching a ballet performance, you might be in awe of the dancer’s effortless movements. While dancers certainly make it seem that way, a lot of work goes into achieving grace and finesse for a memorable performance. Even if you are just starting out on your journey to become a skilled ballet dancer, you know that the most important step in preparing for ballet is warming up your body.

Warming up allows your body to prepare for mobility by getting the blood flowing through your muscles which releases tension. This is crucial for stretching your muscles which will improve your flexibility while you dance. At our dance academy in Edmonton, we train the best dancers. Needless to say,  discipline and patience are key traits of a great dancer which are best practiced by taking the time to do a full warm-up. We stress warming up so that your body is at lower risk of injury and the form and quality of your movements are optimal.

If your goal is to be the best dancer in your class, it is important to practice at home. Being at home can sometimes mean limited space but that shouldn’t stop you from getting a full warm-up before dancing. At our Calgary dance classes, we recommend the exercises below that you can do anywhere to ensure that we’re warmed up and ready to dance.

  1. Breathe

While this may seem self-explanatory, taking deep breaths as you warm up will help to relax your muscles and allow easier access for oxygen to reach them. Focusing on your breathing will optimize how you use your muscles while you dance.

  1. Barre rises

All ballet dancers know that the barre is a big part of your warm-up. If you don’t have a barre at home, a table, chair or railing will suffice. Barre rises should be done by keeping your feet parallel to each other while you raise and lower your heels. This will help to ensure proper form and alignment when you begin dancing.

  1. Shoulder rolls

Shoulder rolls should be done standing or sitting up straight while lifting your shoulders up to your neck and rolling them slowly back down. Repeating this step will improve your reach and make your arm movements look more elegant.

  1. Prancing

This warm-up will help get your body ready to build more momentum. Raise your heels off the floor in an up and down movement as your keep your knees loose and roll through your foot to meet the ground. Stretching your foot muscles correctly can also help avoid injury.

  1. Hip rolls

This exercise involves bringing your knee up to your chest, extending your leg outwards, and drawing a circle with your bent knee. This will stretch your hip muscles and increase mobility.

  1. Butterfly stretches

This stretch should be done once your body is a little warmed up already. Keep the soles of your feet together with your knees bent and pull your heels in towards your body to stretch your hips and prepare them for dancing.

  1. Jumping jacks

A childhood exercise that we all know too well is perfect for getting your heart rate up and blood flowing. Jump up and down while simultaneously extending your arms and legs out and apart, then back in.

For more information about any of our dance and training programs, please call the Alberta Ballet School at 403-245-2274 ext. 722 or fill out our online contact form and we will be happy to assist you. We welcome everyone at our dance academy in Edmonton and encourage you to sign up for dance classes at our Calgary location.