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Classical Ballet Classes

Ballet  Traditions and Discipline

Ballet Moms and Dads
Behind almost any successful dancer are devoted, supportive people who sacrifice to make ballet dreams come true. Your parents and family pay for all those classes and for all that special ballet gear. They drive you to lessons and rehearsals whether they’ re around the block, and they often wait in the lobby while you get to dance. They give up weekends and family vacations, sew costumes, and sell tickets for school performances. Their holiday celebrations have to accommodate your Nutcracker rehearsal, and they never miss the show. Mom’s the shoulder you cry on and Dad’s your biggest fan. It’s a ton of work, and your commitment becomes theirs as well.

What to Expect of Class

Ballet classes last from one to two hours and are divided into two parts, barre and centre. Exercises at the barre warm up and strengthen your muscles and help you practice the basic movements of ballet. Centre work usually starts with stationary exercises, progress to combination that travel, then moves on to leaps and turns ‘’ across the floor,’’ often along the diagonal from a back corner to a front one. The exercises vary from lesson to lesson, but always follow the same general order and build logically.


Ballet students are grouped into classes according to skill level and / or age, sometimes grouped by sex too. When enrolling at a new school, tell the registrar when you’ ve studied, for how long and how often. ‘’Advanced Beginners’’  are obliged to take a placement class to determine the appropriate level.

Learning Combination

Combinations can be tricky for beginners. Learning them has less to do with intelligence or a good memory than  concentration and focus. You don’t  learn steps with your mind alone; your muscles must learn them, too. Be patient: mastering steps takes time and practice. The best way to pick up a combination is to mark it as the teacher gives it.

The teacher

Your teacher  observes and offers corrections, sometimes as you are dancing, sometimes in between combinations. To keep the class moving and students’ muscles  warm, pauses between exercises are kept to a minimum. Don’t  interrupt the teacher. If you’ re lost when everyone else knows the steps, try to learn them by watching the other dance. In your regular class with your regular teacher,  it’s okay to  raise your hand and ask a question if the answer would benefit the whole group;  it’s not okay if the question pertains  only to you.  See your teacher privately after the class if you need help or advice.
Expect physical contact in ballet class. It’s often helpful for a student to feel an instruction as well as to hear it, so don’t be surprised if your teacher touches you to correct your placement or your line: it’s essential and it’s absolutely professional. It is inappropriate, and never necessary, for a teacher to touch breast or private pards. But your arms, hands, feet, ankles, knees, ribs, shoulders, abdomen, and ever your jaw or hip bones may all be adjusted.

What Class Expects of You

Be on time

Arriving late disturbs other studens. Your teacher has carefully planned the class so that it builds on the exercises done at the begining.

Be neat

Keep your hair off your face and neck. If it is long, fasten it securely in a bun or French twist. Don’t wear  jewelry, dangling earrings, bracelets, large necklaces, or a wristwatch in the studio.  Dark or bright red nail polish looks creepy on stage and for that reason it is often prohibited in class as well.

Be clean

Respecting other means wearing clean clothes and sweet- smelling shoes, and attending to your personal hygien. Shower before class and use antiperspirant or deodorant. Avoid strong perfumes or cologne.

Dress the part

Follow the dress code. You will dance better if you are properly dressed for class.
The dress code in a ballet class:

Basic Studio Attire for Women:  

  • A leotard with or without sleeves. Your school has prescribed colors for each level. Pink for baby girls, white for juniors, and black for adults.
  • Dance tights. Regular hosiery is not strong or thick enough.
  • Soft ballet slippers in canvas or leather. Elastics sometimes come with the shouse, and you sew them on yourself.
  • A short wrap skirt (optional, and only if allowed).
  • Warm-ups (optional, and only if allowed). You need not wear underpants with tights and a leotard. Many leotards include a built-in shelf bra, but it is fine to wear a regular one, too.

Basic Studio Attire for Men

  • T-shirt. Plain white is traditional.
  • Long tights,with or without feet. Some schools allow shorts or three-quarter-length tights. Black is most common, grey is common too.
  • A belt or an elastic waistband to hold up your tights.
  • Black or white socks.
  • Soft ballet slippers in black or white canvas or leather.


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