Ballet

Ballet

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?Audience: Parents who want to enroll their children in a ballet class for the first time.

     As a child I was very active in ballet. When I first asked my parents to let me enroll in a ballet class, they were skeptical. They weren’t too sure of what a ballet class consisted of or what
kind of exercise I would have to undergo. My parents researched in books and magazines, but they didn’t understand the ballet terminology. When they went to speak to a ballet instructor,
they got a better understanding of what I would be doing in class. Now that I am older and have started to teach my own ballet class, I want my students’ parents to understand what the class consists of. I have written an easy-to-understand overview of a ballet class.
     Technique levels in ballet fall into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Students advance through the different levels according to their skill level. This is much like
football. A football player begins playing in junior high, then moves up the high school level, and then the collegiate level.
     Next, we move onto the barre, a rigid piece of wood or metal longer than it is wide. A barre is used to help give support; it may also be used as a handle. The barre is a well-designed step-by-step process which brings out the best in dancers muscular and mental receptivity. We will begin working with the feet, then the legs, hips, upper back, and torso. The barre helps the student concentrate on one leg at a time. It also helps the students gain confidence to help them balance on one leg at a time.
     There are various exercises that can be performed on the barre (e.g., warming up the calf muscles or warming down after class). The tendu exercise helps to warm up the achilles tendon and calf muscles. The French word tendu means to slide the
foot without lifting the toe from the ground while keeping both knees straight.

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Different types of tendus will be used in the class. The barre is also used to help the student build up their flexibility
for advanced ballet techniques. These techniques help the student to eventually be able to dance on the tip of their toes, also called pointe.
     Ballet helps students learn responsibility, organization, and discipline. These three elements help to develop character and leadership abilities. They can also help students to solve
problems encountered every day.
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