Warming-up with a Quick Ballet Class

by | May 1, 2017 | Dancing, Teaching

In addition to warming up by doing a bit of cardio and breathed through-stretches before a performance or competition, one additional way to warm-up is by doing a combination of ballet moves to get you ready. Since ballet slowly builds up in intensity and progresses as you start to move, it is a great way to make sure you are fully warm, limber and flexible to dance at your fullest potential.

Historically and traditionally, professional dance and ballet companies always offer a warm-up ballet class before their performances. On top of following the steps in my December article, insert some of these sample ballet class moves to really get you going before your performance and/or competition.

Following the same philosophy of slowly warming-up your body, you will want to start with the basics and work your way up to the more physically demanding steps. Also, remember to start from a position that is easy on your hip flexors and rotation, like a comfortable first position. Once you are a little more warmed-up up, you can move into a more complicated position such as fifth position. You wouldn’t want to put additional strain on your rotator muscles. Here we go!

Sample Ballet Class

Plié exercise – from first position do 4 demi-pliés into a port de bras devant. While in your forward position, try a demi plié to further relax those lower back muscles, slowly roll-up in 8 counts through your back and repeat the exercise in second position. Always remembering to breathe through your movement. (This is your first exercise.) If you are at the barre remember to do both sides (right and left).

Tendu/dégagé/piqué exercise – from first position try 8 tendus en croix (front, side, back and side), followed by 8 plié relevés and hold for 8 counts in relevé. Repeat this exercise with dégagés and piqués.

Jeté exercise – from first position do a series of jetés “going from 8, 4, 2 to 1”. Start right side with 8 jetés, then repeat on left side 8, followed by right side 4, left side 4, right side 2, left side 2 and wrap it up with 4 “1s” right, left, right, left. Repeat combination on the left side.

Passé exercise – from fifth position start doing a series of passes where you start from right foot front and place it back to a fifth position with right foot back. Repeat with the same leg 8 times, closing fifths front to back, back to front, and so on. Then do this with your left leg. Always pay attention to your turn out and that you are going up and down your leg while maintaining that toe to leg contact. You can also try this exercise in relevé; going from a demi-plié, up to passé, back to a demi-plié

Battement en cloche (leg swing) exercise – front and back, low at first about 45 degrees off the floor and then after you’ve brushed for 16 counts, you can swing the leg up to 90 degrees in an attitude position (leg bent a about 145 degree angle).

Sauté exercise – from first position, jump in first 4 times, then jumpt to second 4 times, repeat set 4 times. After you have warmed-up with sautés from first position, try 32 changements from fifth position.

*The exercises are listed in the order they should be performed, starting from most basic steps to more complicated.

Remember to modify, add, subtract or increase in difficulty any of these exercises depending on your level (beginner, intermediate, advanced). Don’t forget to add arms too, so that you really get a full body warm-up. Enjoy!


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