A Day in Ballet
As I have mentioned in many of my blogs before, here at Iowa State I am a double major in journalism and performing arts. One of the components of being a performing arts major is taking multiple credits of dance. In the musical theatre it is really important that you are a “triple threat” in order to be employable. This means that you can act, dance and sing. Obviously, this means that dance classes are really crucial for us.
I have already taken all of the necessary credits of dance, but wanted more training before I stepped out into the real world. This semester I am taking Ballet 3 to help improve my technique, build more skills and just improve as a dancer in general. Most people probably hear that I am taking a dance class and would laugh or think that it sounds ridiculous, but they are actually really hard work.
A typical day in our ballet class is split up into three different parts. First, it starts with floor work. This is when we physically get down and lay on the floor to work. A lot of the work that we do on the floor is strengthening work, helping to build muscle in our core, arms and legs to make the movements that we do while standing easier which will in turn make them look more effortless and will improve our technique. We also do a lot of work on alignment and isolation, making sure that each movement that we do is engaging the proper muscles and is technically correct. If we do this work on the floor, it is much easier to isolate certain muscles and also to see where we are making mistakes and make adjustments.
Next, we work at the barre. This is the railing that you can see along the wall in the back of this picture. Our work at the barre tends to focus on our legs and feet, and we use the barre as support during these exercises. We still are working on the same things, proper support, alignment and technique, but this to once again isolate and work specific parts of the body.
The final part of our class is working in the center of the floor. This is where we come away from the barre, facing the mirror and essentially put all of the things that we’ve been working on to use. This can consist of learning and executing short dance combinations or working on our leaps and turns. Not going to lie, this part of the class can either be really fun or really exhausting. By this point we’ve been dancing or exercising for over an hour non-stop, and putting everything to use can be a lot to keep track of mentally and physically. However, it can also be really fun to learn combinations and see the pay off of all of the hard work that we are doing during class.
No matter what specific things our class consists of from day to day, I always leave ballet exhausted, sore but also happier than when I came to class. Dance classes are a ton of work, but are a great break from my typical, sit-down lectures. Also, dance classes are open to people of all majors, so go ahead and take one! There are entry level dance classes in a wide variety of styles, and they are a great way to get a fun elective (and workout) built in to your schedule.
See you next time,