Ballet warmups?

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Ballet warmups?

Postby everything on Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:50 am

Except for maybe standing on pointe, have you tried any?

Been doing feet exercises a few days for rehab/prehab, and they do the trick. Soccer tweaks feeling better already. The tiny muscles and tissues of our feet have to support all this other activity. I’m amazed that MA doesn’t seem to work on the feet as much (AFAIK). We blather on about all else, but not much about feet. No feet conditioning, no good standup.

I started doing their arm and leg warmups to see what it might be like. Only scratched the surface but - on average - I assume a ballerina is in vastly superior shape and has vastly better coordination/control than a typical IMA fat guy. Will exclude present company. But I figure they know something awesome. Especially for those who claim internal is all the more hidden, hard to reach/train tissues (I’m not in this camp but for the sake of argument). Surely their stuff is great.

Have you tried any of it? Any tips? Crossover? It’s all in bagua haha?
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby roger hao on Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:24 am

You don't have to become a ballerina ( unless you really want to identify as such )
You can become a ballerino.
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby Giles on Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:16 pm

Before starting with tai chi chuan (and from there moving more generally into martial arts) I trained various forms of dance for almost ten years. This included ‘proper’ ballet classes twice a week for more than 4 years, mostly while at a state-funded dance academy in Amsterdam, and concurrently to this also some other dance styles with a fair amount of ‘ballet DNA’ for about 6 years. Plus much other stuff that was very different to ballet. I was never a ‘classical’ classical dancer – started much too late, too long and lanky back then, also much more interested in other forms of dance/movement – but I still put in the time, gained some benefits, and so I think I can say a few things about what classical ballet training does for you, and what it doesn’t.

It’s true that highly trained and skilled ballet dancers do at some levels have excellent coordination, control, strength, flexibility and general athleticism. Both male and female. But yes, it really is something fairly different to what you need and train in martial arts, and even more different to what I’ll refer to here, provisionally ;), as IMA. Horses for courses, right?

Classical ballet is essentially about leaving the ground, not only in jumps but also when it comes to creating a kind of floating, hovering impression, or ‘energy’ if you like. Not about connecting with the ground, ‘sinking your qi’ and so on. This is not just a queston of cliché terminology - the feeling in the body, the sensations, the type of control, really is different.

It’s also a question of how ballet is taught and trained. After my first few years of exploring and getting deeper into tai chi I often thought “If only I had known/felt these movement principles back then in my ballet days, or if the teachers had known/applied these principles, then ballet would have been so much better. Easier, more efficient, stronger and softer.” It’s not a question so much of what the moves or shapes are in ballet, but to some extent how they are realised. In the great majority of ballet training, anyway. When I started tai chi, I was already quite flexible and reasonably strong and fit in a normal athletic sense, but – like almost every person and almost every classically trained dancer – when my body came under any kind of martial pressure I would either tense up and brace or go soft but in the process lose my structure and root. Little ability to combine 'hard' and 'soft' at the same time, in one action. Maybe I learned some things in tai chi more quickly than the average due to my general movement and contact experience, maybe, but basically I was starting from scratch again.

That said, there are some excellent basic exercises in ballet that I still do sometimes (should do more...) and can recommend for anyone here. The basic moves of plié (demi-plié is enough to begin with, leave the grand plié until later) and relevé are great for the hips, legs and indeed the feet. Also the tendu left and right, another great exercise.
(In each video start at 0:25)
Plié -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrBhcopjDZQ
Relevé -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unv8TS3JO6U
Tendu -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeSVHYSMItg

In classical ballet, you can be absolutely sure that in technical terms your performance will start deteriorating around the time you hit 40, or probably before. Then the older you get, the less you can do in terms of performance. Powers of expression, the ability to move an audience, may possibly improve, but that’s something else. In an art like tai chi chuan you can continue to improve some aspects of your technical skills (can be checked through partner work) through the ages of 50, 60 and beyond. Personally this makes me happy.
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:51 pm

I don't know any dancer who has done point who doesn't complain about the damage they have done to their feet
I know many dancers who have their training come back to haunt them in their later years
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby everything on Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:20 pm

Giles, that is a fascinating post, thanks a lot.

Classical ballet is essentially about leaving the ground, not only in jumps but also when it comes to creating a kind of floating, hovering impression, or ‘energy’ if you like. Not about connecting with the ground, ‘sinking your qi’ and so on. This is not just a queston of cliché terminology - the feeling in the body, the sensations, the type of control, really is different.


This is really interesting. Of course, I don't need to create any kind of hovering impression. For my "application" (soccer/football), I do want to "leave the ground" temporarily, primarily to kick. if I stand up on my toes first, almost off balance in a forward direction, it's far easier to generate the momentum to carry into my plant foot and my kicking foot. The emphasis in that step is a temporary leaving of the ground to get the windup correct. The exactness of leg control/movement and foot placement is also really interesting to me. I don't find IMA has (AFAIK) so much foot articulation. It wouldn't be needed in the way manipulating a ball by doing "sleight of foot" tricks is strongly needed. But things like walking the circle, modified with these other things are super helpful to me. The "moving root" while doing all that is also necessary (because people may be pushing on you while you are trying to do these feints and moves).
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby Trick on Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:21 am

everything wrote: - I assume a ballerina is in vastly superior shape and has vastly better coordination/control than a typical IMA fat guy.

But can they fight.....??. -Who? -That’s up to you........ 8-)


Many years ago in my Swedish hometown, there had arrived an a little elderly Chinese ‘Taijiquan’ teacher. She was holding classes in a dance studio but anyway I went there to try a class.
We stood by an mirrored wall holding on to a bar( is that what it’s called?) doing stretching and ‘ballerina’ leg bends and swings, after that the Taiji teaching began......It was the standard 24 form but in the most strange mechanical zigzag pattern...she said she learned Taiji from an Shaolin monk in China....She said I was beautiful(but meant I did the moves very good) which made my work mate that I brought along burst out laughing(he was interesting about Taiji but after that class he got skeptic) 8-)
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby Giles on Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:54 am

You're welcome.

everything wrote:This is really interesting. Of course, I don't need to create any kind of hovering impression. For my "application" (soccer/football), I do want to "leave the ground" temporarily, primarily to kick. if I stand up on my toes first, almost off balance in a forward direction, it's far easier to generate the momentum to carry into my plant foot and my kicking foot. The emphasis in that step is a temporary leaving of the ground to get the windup correct. The exactness of leg control/movement and foot placement is also really interesting to me. I don't find IMA has (AFAIK) so much foot articulation. It wouldn't be needed in the way manipulating a ball by doing "sleight of foot" tricks is strongly needed. But things like walking the circle, modified with these other things are super helpful to me. The "moving root" while doing all that is also necessary (because people may be pushing on you while you are trying to do these feints and moves).


Certainly when it comes to foot articulation and precision of foot placement, to use your terminology, basic classical ballet exercises have a lot to offer. I also recall that years ago the trainer of a professional American Football team sent his players to ballet classes in order to improve the power and height of their jumping. As long as ballet exercises are combined with rooting work and not tensing up when other people try to take you off balance, then can be useful. But as with any real movement discipline, it's better to get some live input/feedback from a proper teacher, even if only for an hour or so, than just watching videos and imitating.
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby Giles on Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:13 am

wayne hansen wrote:I don't know any dancer who has done point who doesn't complain about the damage they have done to their feet
I know many dancers who have their training come back to haunt them in their later years


Absolutely. Dancing on full point, which requires special 'prosthetic' shoes and is almost only ever done by women, will in the course of time basically f*** you up. Not only the feet but it's bad for the back as well. That's the problem with pure ballet and ballet-based dance in general as one approaches the professional level. These dance forms are about presentation, not about function, and with ballet in particular, presentation in line with a very codified way of moving and aesthetic. And ballet tends to be based on achievement through the use of tension and effort - and then if possible creating a relaxed impression on top of the tension. If you find you are experiencing pain or even injuries as a consequence of the movement, you don't have the option of modifying the movement, doing it differently to fit your own body and needs, or if you do then only within narrow boundaries. The bottom line tends to be: tough shit, grin and bear it, make it look good. Until your body is worn out, then let's get some new young bodies in.

Well, that's the extreme, old-school tradition. Not all dance companies and dance teachers are so rigid in their approach nowadays, luckily, especially if they combine ballet with modern dance and other more contemporary techniques and bodywork.

--> But to return to the beginning, "demi-point" as opposed to full point is actually another term for "relevé", a short video of which I included in my first post. That's great for the feet, and fine for the back too as long as you relax and sink your lumbar region at the first time. Or your qi :D . That's actually another problem with ballet training and much other traditional dance training as normally done: the dancers develop a hollow back (hyperlordosis) and this is even seen as being aesthetically positive. Which is a load of nonsense. Dancers could save themselves a load of grief by learning to relax and sink more in this area and it would not in any way impair ballet technique. ... OK, time to stop rambling... :P
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby everything on Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:16 pm

Hmm yeah I am probably being destructive to my feet to a far lesser degree.

No wonder middle aged weekend warriors have hobbies like cycling. I need something like that where the agility is more done by the tech.
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:38 pm

Within our system we have a number of exercises on both the toes and heels that are very beneficial
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby everything on Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:36 pm

Any favorites you still do?
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby wayne hansen on Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:31 am

Still do all of them daily
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby marvin8 on Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:44 pm

On the Joe Rogan podcast, Nick Curson spoke about foot strengthening exercises among other topics. However, I don't have any experience with them.

Fabian Garcia DPT
Apr 1, 2018

Examples of the movement designed to target the intrinsic muscles of the foot. Fascia transmits up to 40% of force. The idea is to facilitate the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy of all foot elements. Leads to better GRF absorption and push off form. Inspired by Nick Curson of Speed of Sport:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QKvcoYLHdM
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Re: Ballet warmups?

Postby everything on Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:52 pm

looks like some fantastic stuff.
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