Ballet Stretches to Eventually Split - How to w/ Video

Posted On 03/27/2012 02:11:59 by WorldBalletInc

Want to Do a Split?

Start with Effective Stretching Excercises for Ballet

by Henry Hernandez, World Ballet



Learning correct stretching for ballet class means that you have to have a pretty good grasp of the typical ballet barre exercises, and the alignment of the basic ballet positions.


A ballet beginner works with the five positions of the feet right away, although they may not use the fifth position, but third position instead, and fourth crossed position, which can be done more open, and ballet turnout is easier to maintain.



These two positions (fifth and fourth crossed) are difficult because they depend on the dancer having natural ballet turnout - both involving an angle of the hip socket, shape of the thigh bone, and flexibility in certain hip muscles. Ballet turnout can be increased; the rotator muscles (Piriformis) which allow turnout can be stretched, and the inner thigh muscles, or adductors, can be stretched, allowing rotation. Increasing the strength of the ballet posture (natural spinal posture with the natural curves) by doing extra exercises for the core muscles.


Ballet dancers want the highest possible leg extensions while they practice "en croix" at the barre. "En croix" is an exercise that is first practiced "devant" (to the front) then "a la seconde" (to the side ) and finally "arabesque" (to the back.)


Practicing Arabesque

The movement from Front, Side, Side, Back makes "The Cross" (en croix) symbol.


These ballet positions depend on long back-of-the-thigh hamstring muscles, long inner thigh adductor muscles, and flexible psoas, front of the spine muscles attaching to the front of the thigh or quadriceps muscles. Long psoas muscles allow for the deep back to bend at the waist. These three areas will allow the basic ballet positions of the legs.


Ballet Stretches Come At The End Of The Barre

At this point the muscle groups are all thoroughly warmed up. During the stretching exercises, dancers get a relief from the intense exertion demanded in a ballet class. While doing ballet stretches, ballet positions must be maintained.



However, dancers can relax their upper bodies as they put their legs on the ballet barre, and perform elegant bending movements, elongating their leg muscles and lengthening their ballet positions.


Following the ballet stretching at the barre, most teachers give a break so that the dancers can then to do the splits--front-to-back--and sideways, stretching alone, at their personal pace, at their personal intensity.


Unlike ballet beginners, or adult ballet beginners, advanced students can stretch with a partners. They have acquired the experience to stretch someone else with the right force.


Partner ballet stretching is not allowed in beginner or intermediate student classes, because using force on ballet positions can rip a muscle or ligament.



Deceptively non-balletic-looking, safe and effective ballet stretching can be executed by beginner or adult ballet beginners. Stretching is also recommended for non-dancers, cheer leaders, or office workers. It's for all of us!



Learn to Stretch & More at World Ballet Summer Camp!


Scene from Last Week's Camp at World Ballet


Rehearsing for the Nutcracker's Mother Goose Scene during the first session of Nutcracker Camp. It's not too late to get into Session 2.


Is your child interested in dance? Summer is the perfect time to find out! Without all the distraction of school and peers, they can get a good core down and you can see if this is something they want to take seriously!


Summer Dance Intensive

Level E Ages 14 and up -

Session I: June 25-July 14

Session II: July 2-July 14


This photo is from the Level C Intensive Session last week at World Ballet. There are still 3 more sessions for the serious dancer.


This program offers serious dance students a concentrated educational opportunity which focuses on classical ballet training, while also offering other dance forms to help create versatile dancers in today’s contemporary dance culture.


The 3-week intense and comprehensive program is for students who have attained an intermediate to advanced level of ballet technique. The program consists of daily classes in ballet technique, pointe, variations and style classes taught by World Ballet faculty and guest master teachers. Style classes vary daily and may include jazz, modern, hip-hop, stretch and conditioning and more.





The camp will end with a performance for family and friends. Come and applaud your dancer’s achievements. Bring your camera!







World Ballet is located at 2518 Cathay Ct right here in Tallahassee. (off Centerville Rd)



They offer dance classes for all ages in Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Jazz, Stretch, Modern and Creative Movement.


World Ballet Company puts on two major performances each year: The Nutcracker: A Diversity Celebration and World of Rock.


They are also the only school where you an learn Hip Hop Dance by member of the FAMU Strikers!


Call them at 850.553.3315 or visit their website at


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