Ballet 101 for absolute beginners: Covering the basics. | Anne-Marie Pos-Terlouw | Skillshare

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Ballet 101 for absolute beginners: Covering the basics.

teacher avatar Anne-Marie Pos-Terlouw, Professional ballet dancer and teacher.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Intro class 2

    • 2. How to breathe as a ballet dancer

    • 3. Explanation basic positions of the arms

    • 4. 5 positions of the feet 101

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About This Class

Hello dancers,

In this class we discuss basics for you to get to know and practice along with me. We go into:

  • How to breath while dancing ballet.
  • Explanation and demonstration of basic arm positions in ballet.
  • Explanation and demonstartion of the feetpositions in ballet.

Let's practice them together.

Meet Your Teacher

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Anne-Marie Pos-Terlouw

Professional ballet dancer and teacher.


Hello, I'm Anne-Marie. 

I am an enthousiastic, cultural entrepreneur with love for dance, music and theatre. 

My profession is teaching ballet (Russian Vaganova method), and especially to (young) adults of all levels.

Recently more and more adults are starting with taking up ballet. The community of adult ballet dancers is growing and growing. And that is why I am here. To teach you ballet. Because it is never too late.

Do you want to join? You can. Let's start!

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1. Intro class 2: Hello, dancers and welcome to Ballet for absolute beginners 101. This is the second of the series in the course for ballet beginners. And you are going to see and learn with me how to use your breath when you are dancing ballet. Because we cannot use our center, normal breath because obviously you are using your center muscles to dance to keep your posture. So we're going to go through how to use your flanks to breathe. You can practice that along with me. Then in the second video, I'm going to take you along and show you the positions of the arms. I will show you how you have to execute them and the names so that obviously you can practice with me along also. And I've made a little pdf so you can read everything through. And we have some images. The last video of this class is about the feet positions. And again, I'm going to show you every position we use in ballet and how to do that and how to hold it. And with which muscles. All right, I'm excited to take you along. Let's go. 2. How to breathe as a ballet dancer: Hello dancers. So we have learned how to stand and how our core works. Now the breath. Breathing, we need it. But obviously I can imagine that practicing what we did in the last videos you feel a little bit like ah, a little bit stuck, a little bit tense. Right? Don't worry too much about it, because it will get better. Obviously with practicing. You practice a lot and then you start to move and you start to dance and you will be fine. Still I made this video for you because I think it is really important to have the background information. So, obviously because we're using our core and setting everything engaged, activated, up, up, in, you cannot use your abdominal breath. I mean you can not do like... you can't. Because if you do that, you let go of the muscles you want to use to dance. Okay, So what do we do then? Then we have breath from here. Right? Standing from the side. But we do not use that kind of breath either in dancing ballet or other types of sports. Try it. Because if you do too much here up, you can start to hyperventilate. So you don't want that, right? So our breath needs to come from the sides. From the flanks, up the body and of the ribs and the longs. Again, people who are already practice Pilates, that is the breath we are taking right now. So you know this. Let's review. Put your hands, I will come a little closer, put your hands on sites for your ribs. Here. And when you breathe in, And when you breath in, you become broader and there's some more air in, right? Let's exaggerate, so we can see. And when I am breathing out, I become smaller. What we're going to do is just think of a balloon and you're like... You can also try to practice that sitting. I'm sitting on my knees right now so you could see me. Obviously. You could also try to do it sitting. Put them on the side. Just breath in. And breath out. Again. And breath out. That's it. Well, done. Now try to stand up and incorporate this with the posture. We have discussed in the last videos. So forward, up, up ,up, engage, engage, engage, breathe. And while keeping your core or center really activated. Like all things, this requires a little bit of practice. So don't worry about it. If you don't get it the first time, try it. Do it again, again and again. And one last tip, if you have some difficulties, of course you can call me. Send me a message. You can also ask about it. Ask your ballet teacher to explain it a little bit more in your group class. It will be super beneficial for everybody. Just go ahead. Okay, good luck! 3. Explanation basic positions of the arms: Hi. In this video we're going to discuss the positions of the arms. We're doing Russian Vaganova method and according to the basic principles of Agrippina Vaganova we have three positions and then the rest is a combination of those three. Okay, lets start. The first position of the arms is in front of your sternum and it's a beautiful, rounded position. Like this. Let me show you from the side. Here we go. And here. Yes. So the position is just under your solar plexus. Some teachers do it a little bit lower, which I have seen in the French and Italian styles. I've learned a little bit higher. So, we'll take it here. There's a reason for that, because I want you to be able to have a really nice rounded position to do your pirouettes and to turn and you can imagine this will be flawless. So, you have to remember to take down the shoulders and that it's coming from the arm, from the fingers. You're gonna go up and place them in position without the shoulders. Leave the shoulder girdle behind. Let's do that again. So, here, open position here in front connection, from sternum, to the fingers and to back. Nice open back. Careful that you're not doing your little wings here together. Keep an open position, nice and flat and open to the front. So this is your first position. The second position of the hands and arms. Open up from first position to the side. Here we go. Let's look at it from the side. Here, Here. Here. Okay, let's use some imagery. An image for the first position. Think of a beach ball. A really big beach ball you're holding. Holding here to keep it nice and rounded. Now keep this second position. I sometimes use the image of you wanna put your arm around your friend, put the arm around the shoulder. So you have a nice and round position which feels really natural. You have to keep your elbows up. So be careful when, especially when you begin to dance ballet it will sink. And the correction you will get from your teacher a lot is: up with the elbow and move to the front. So keep the elbows up. And another way you could practice. This is hold the arms parallel in front of you. Just raise them to the side, drop your elbows and your arms, so you kind of look like a puppet. Extend and now, turn the hands. There you go. You will also notice that my shoulders are again down, and my arm is going really smoothly. Kind of down, so I'm not in line here, a little bit lower, Right. Let's go back to our first position and then continue to the third. So the first position is here. Now I'm going to raise from the fingers up above my head. Nice and rounded, again with shoulders down, I'll show you the difference. Here, keep them down and again, isolate it from the shoulder. So if you move the arm from down way up through first position to third, I'm keeping my shoulder down. Let me show you the difference. There. So in the beginning, when you start with ballet, you're going to practice and learn how to isolate the movements of the arms and the movements of the legs from the rest of your body. Of course, you have the basic position: Bras Bas position when you start and end every exercise and that's that's here. A nice rounded position. Some air under your armpits. Be careful that you're not taking it too short and or that you are too long. A nice rounded position. An image that you could use here. Maybe, maybe not, is too cradle a baby. Now from the side, you can see there is some space between your hand and your thighs. Never stick it here, because you can see what happens with your basic position. You're hanging. We're hanging and you're not ready to go. Pull it up in front, tighten it in the back and the arms have a little bit of space. And now you're ready to go. This is your ready to go position in dance, every position that you want to do. Let's talk about the fingers. The hands. I'll come a little bit closer. Okay? So my thumb is gonna be a little bit here. The middle finger this middle section, like this. Now watch that you're not gonna do like this. But that you gonna do this. Just leave it, gently and keep the rest of the fingers nice in line. So this is from the side, allongé Here. Nice rounded It's into the joint of the wrist and elbow and the fingers continue. So beginners, beginners need to be careful that you're not going to practice to hold hands here because you have too much tension in your hands. This is what teachers call the big mac hands or that you're doing a finger up. So a common feedback which you will receive from your teacher when you start, is also getting the fingers in line with the rest of your arm position. Okay, so now that you know the basic position to start: the first position, the second position and the third position, we can start practicing these position in combinations, stick them together and make a port de bras exercise. So, for example, we're going to start here and then we could do: one, two, three, four. 5678. 1,2,3, 4,5, 6,7,8. There will be a separate video on port de bras so we can practice that together. I'll explain more about it, and then we'll do it with music. Now, that we have talked about positions of the arms. Bras bas, first, second, third. I told you earlier that the rest is a combination of the three. So if you have left arm in first position, right on second in other styles, this could be the third position. Here it's the combination of the first and the second. You could do the same when you raise one arm. Combination of third and second. Okay, Good. Let's briefly discuss also the position of the arm and hand on he barre or chair we are using to exercise. When you're standing away from your barre, make sure that you have your bras bas position here. Move to first position, open to second and then put your hand down. I'm going to take this one down to my bras bas position. Focus on this one. Now, be careful that you're not too far away because then you're leaning in, or that you're too close standing here. Also, be careful that your arms not behind you or too much in front of you. So maybe you saw this already. We're just having your second position and just gently put it down. Now I am putting it down and I am pressing a little bit, slightly down into the bar but not, grasping it, because otherwise I'm using too much of my arm muscles. And I want to work to perfect and strengthen my core to dance. Just putting it gently on the barre and you can curl your fingers around it. But don't grasp. Here. Now basic start position is your bras bas. Be careful here you don't sink in. Remember? Up. And then you have the preparation front. Use your head and your eyes to look into and then open to the side or maybe front and up to go. Depends on the exercise that you are going to do. All right, that's it for now. See you in another video. 4. 5 positions of the feet 101: Hey, in this video, we're going to discuss the positions of the feet. So let me get a little bit back so you can see my feet. And there are five positions in turnout position and for some teachers there is also a sixth position. I learned that. as well. Mainly with contemporary dance as well. Okay, let's have a look. The first position. So let's go stand parallel position. And now I'm going to turn out one of my legs up here in the joint, turn it out and put it down. Do the same with the other leg. Turn it out. Put it down. Now, adjust the heels together. To keep this position you have to keep your abdominal muscles and your buttocks muscles. In the front you're feeling up and in the back you're feeling together. And also up. Your weight is in between the two feet and it's a little bit forward on the front of the feet. So not on the heels, cause I then get this. I want to stand firmly into the ground and be able to raise my heels at any moment. To start doing some dance movements. This is your first position. Okay, second position. Move your outer leg. One and a halve feet away from your barre. Here we go. This position is different for everybody. Because it depends on how big your feet are and how tall your body is and how tall your legs are. For me this is all right. So be careful that you're not too small or do you not too big. You wanna be able to do a relevé really comfortable and this is kind of awkward. And you want to do a plié comfortable and this, it's too small. So, one and a halve foot. And then you will be comfortable to make a plié, and go on to grand plié and up to relevé. Our third position, you have your heel and place it into this little spot here, at the other leg, nicely fit in to each other. Let's see. So you have the turned out position again and the other foot. The heel goes into the little space in front and again, you are keeping your position, lifted up at the abdominal muscles and to back your buttock muscles, gently squeezing in and turned out. Gently squeezing in, and turned together. Feel yourself upward and a connection to the ceiling and here in front you feel open and to the back. The fourth position, we can do in two ways. Namely, going back to first position and then going, with the outer leg, one straight line to the front and again, 1.5. foot in between. Careful that your hips are to the front and not turning sideways. Keep it, and now, especially the back. leg has to have some extra energy to keep it. Your weight is in the middle, in between. Now the second way to do it. Then we'll have to discuss the fifth position. The difference with the third and fifth. Is, the third your foot is going to placed here, in the middle. And now your, from one foot, is going to be placed at the toes of the other one. So it's even crossed. Here. This is the most difficult position to hold when you are a beginner. You have to keep this part of the front, really up and hold it in the back. Be careful that you're not letting go in the back. You're standing like this. Keep it down, and keep it up in the front. Going back to the fourth position because I told you that we have another way to do that. You can do it from the fifth position, Through a tendu to the front and then place it. So it's more crossed. This one is more difficult than the one from the first position because your hips tend to open and not keep it in one line. Good. Let's review. First position, second position, third position, fourth position, fifth position. And now I told you that there is a kind of a sixth position. Well, that one is parallel, so it could be you are in class and your teacher will ask you to stand in the sixth position. That would be this one. But basically, when you you're talking about the five positions in ballet, they mean the five basic, turned out positions. Okay, practice your positions. I'll see you in another video. Bye.