|Conditioning is a must for every serious dancer. It builds your strength and improves your technique. It is a good idea to do these exercises in soft shoes, then en pointe (if you are en pointe), to build your technique in both regular ballet and pointework. Here are some good exercises to build your strength for ballet:
Eleves- Standing in the center in first position, do sixteen eleves (eleve =plie, straight into releve). Put your right foot in front and do eight eleves (not sous-sous, just eleve) in fifth. Switch to the left, and do eight more in fifth. Now do eight sous-sous, right and left.
Pirouette- Begin in fourth position, with your arm in the position for a piroutettes en dedans. Plie, and spring to retire. Balance for three to four counts. Plie back to fourth, and do the same thing qith arms in en dehors position. Repeat the excercise in second and fifth position (right and left).
Fouette- Begin in fourth position. Plie and spring the retire. From this, plie and ran de jambe your working leg from devant to a la seconde. Bring your foot in to retire derierre, then move it to the front of the knee. Repeat several time, then switch legs.
Arabesque- Prop your leg on a barre or a table behind you, so that it is at at least 90 degrees. Pull your chest up and hold it there for as long as you can with your arms in any arabesque position. Remember to maintain turnout in both supporting and working legs, and to maintin a steady balance of your supporting foot. Keep both knees stright and perfectly stretched. Don't roll your supporting foot!
Tendu- Begin in first poisition in the center. Tendu devant, flex your foot, and hold for eight counts. Strecth your foot, and close plie. Do another tendu devant, closing in plie. Repeat en criox, and then from fifth position en croix.
Grande battement- Do a grande battement a la seconde. When it gets to the "peak", hold it there. Slowly ran de jambe to arabesque. Repeat, twice on each side.
Pointe work strength training:
Exercise one: First position: Two counts to demi-plie two to straighten, two to rise to pointe and two to lower down to first position. Do sixteen repetitions, tendu to second position and repeat.
Exercise two: First position: sixteen releves (two to rise, two to lower), sixteen eleves (plie on one, arrive en pointe on two)
Exercise three: Fifth position: eight sous-sus on the right, echappe, eight sous-sus on the left, and repeat.
Exercise four: In passe position: Releve eight times on each foot, then eleve eight times to each side. Counts are the same as in Exercise four.
Exercise five: From fifth, sous-sus eight times on right, and echappe to change, repeating Exercise three from the barre.
Exercise six: Pose passes (pique passes) across the floor, right and left, sustaining the releves.
Exercise seven: Pose (pique) to arabesque, fondue and releve eight times on each foot.
Endurance training for allegro:
Eight sautes in first position, eight in second, eight changements, eight echappes saute batues (echappe beat-changes). Repeat with four jumps in each positon, then two, then twice with one each.
Two changements, one echappe saute, and one soubresaut, right and left. Then repeat right and left with beats: Two royales, one echappe saute batue, and one entrechat. if you are really feeling adventurous, you can do entrechat six in place of royale.