Updated: Dec 12, 2021
Ballet requires a variety of different skills, from balance and endurance to flexibility. As your child practices their ballet regularly, they will be able to improve these skills and become better in this form of dance. There are ways you can help them work on these skills at home!
At DanceWorks by T, we offer a variety of different ballet classes for children of all skill levels and ages. Our ballet dance classes can teach your child new skills, help them improve the ones they already have, and allow them to continue to practice. You can also help them at home! In our last blog post, we talked about basic ballet positions your child will learn, allowing you to help them practice! In this blog, we are going to talk about different stretches that they can do at home to improve their flexibility. Read on to learn more and help your child with these stretches. You can also do these stretches to improve your own flexibility!
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stretching your hamstrings is a great way to improve flexibility and allows dancers to improve their ballet techniques. For a standing hamstring stretch, you can use a barre, a chair, or even a countertop, whichever you have on hand. Have your kiddo stand at an arm’s length away from whatever they are using for the stretch (for smaller kids, a chair is a good option since it won’t be too tall for them). Have them place one foot on the chair and hold onto the back of it. Make sure they keep both legs straight. To go deeper into the stretch, have them gently lean toward their elevated leg while keeping their back straight, hinging at the hips. After holding this stretch for a while, have them switch to the other leg. They should feel this stretch in the hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, and possibly their calves.
Standard lunges are a great move that stretches your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and inner thighs. To do a lunge, have your child stand straight up with their legs hip-width apart. They will take a step forward with one leg, keeping their foot flat and their knee bent at 90 degrees. There are a few different versions of this stretch. For a different type of stretch, have them lower their back knee to the ground, place their hands on their front knee, and lift their chest to the sky while also looking up. This can also help stretch their chest and back. Be sure they aren’t collapsing into their back; this stretch is not a backbend, and they should not be putting pressure on their back. To help improve balance along with flexibility, have them keep their back knee lifted, but lower it so it is just hovering above the ground. Make sure to switch legs to stretch both sides.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
For this stretch, have your child start in a lunge position. Have them lower their back knee to the ground and use the hand on the same side to grab their foot. They will then pull their foot up toward their glute. This is a great stretch for the quads. Have them switch legs to get a good stretch in both legs.
Standing Quad Stretch
Another great stretch for your quads is this standing quad stretch. For this stretch, have your kid stand with their feet planted on the ground. Have them lift one of the legs behind them, by bending the knee. They will then grab their ankle with the hand on the same side and pll their foot toward their body. This will stretch their hip flexors and quads! Make sure they switch legs to get a good stretch on both sides.
Calf stretches are important for dancers and can help improve performance and reduce chances of injury. Ensuring that your kiddo stretches their calves can help with flexibility and improve their ballet skills. To help them stretch this muscle, have them stand with one foot in front of the other. While keeping the back leg straight, have them bend their front knee slowly and slightly lean forward with their upper body. Have them try to keep their back heel on the floor. They should feel a stretch in the calf of their back leg. If they feel a strain on their ankle, have them ease back on the tension. They will slowly build flexibility as they keep practicing this stretch. Make sure they switch legs to stretch both calves!
Front splits are one stretch that will definitely help improve your child’s flexibility. To help them get their splits, have them start in a low lunge. They will rest their back knee on the ground and straighten their front leg. Slowly, they can sink deeper into the stretch until they are able to straighten their back leg and do a full split. This may take weeks to get, so make sure they continue to practice and switch which leg is in front. The front splits stretch their hip flexors, groin, glutes, and hamstrings.
These stretches can help your child improve their flexibility, which can help improve their ballet skills and performance. By helping your child complete these stretches at home, you can ensure they are continuing to grow in their dance practice. Be sure to learn more about ballet classes and enroll your child today! Contact DanceWorks by T if you have any questions!