Ballet AZ Blog

Ballet Exercises to Improve Your Posture

 

You don’t have to spend hours in the studio or pay for a personal trainer if you want better posture. These simple at-home ballet exercises can help improve your posture!


Gail Passey-Reed (center) teaching adult ballet class at The School of Ballet Arizona. Photo by Tzu-Chia Huang.
Gail Passey-Reed (center) teaching adult ballet class at The School of Ballet Arizona. Photo by Tzu-Chia Huang.

Pro tip before we get started, read our Ballet 101: The 5 Basic Positions blog to learn the arm and foot positions used in the exercises below!

Ballet Exercise #1 – Relevés

Relevés are small movements that involve lifting your heels and rising to stand on your toes. They are one of the best dance exercises to help you with posture because you are forced to focus on maintaining a straight back while moving up and down.

How to perform a relevé:

  • Stand holding something secure such as a wall or the back of a chair with one or both hands. You can also place one hand on your hip for extra balance.
  • Place your feet in first position – heels together with toes turned out. Keep your legs straight, engage your core muscles, and lower your shoulders.
  • Next, you do a plié by gently bending your knees while keeping both of your heels on the floor.
  • Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet and straighten your knees – and just like that, you did a relevé!
  • As you stay in relevé, focus on lifting the top of your head to the ceiling while keeping your shoulders down and core engaged.
  • Lastly, lower your heels back down to first position. If you are feeling super confident, try doing relevés in second position.
  • Repeat several times…you’ll start to feel your calves burn in no time!

Watch Ballet Beautiful’s guide to relevés!



Ballet Exercise #2 – Swan Arms

Who doesn’t want to pretend to be Odette in Swan Lake? The swan arms exercise will not just strengthen your arms, it will also help build core strength and allow you to focus on straightening your back without tensing your muscles.

How to do swan arms:

  • Stand up straight. Keep your back as straight as possible.
  • Keep your shoulders down and try to keep your neck long. Try to do this without tensing your neck muscles.
  • Move your arms out to the side to second position.
  • Slowly bend just your elbows. While bending the elbows slowly drop them down towards the ground. Keep your chest up and don’t bend your back.
  • Lower your arms so they are facing downwards.
  • Gently lift your elbows and start to move them upwards. Keep your elbows upwards. Don’t raise your arms completely up. Stop when your hands are about shoulder length.
  • Slowly repeat these movements. You can speed them up if you wish to go a little faster.

Watch Ballet Beautiful’s guide to perfect swan arms!



Ballet Exercise #3 – Port de Bras

This dance exercise not only helps you improve your posture, but it works your legs and arms while strengthening your back and core.

How to perform port de bras:

  • Stand in first position – heels together with toes turned out. Keep your legs straight, engage your core muscles, and lower your shoulders.
  • While breathing in, place your arms in first position and then bring them out to second position.
  • As you exhale, fold forward at the hips and drop your arms as you go down. Try to keep your knees as straight as possible, but remember to do what feels most comfortable for you!
  • Once you are down as far as you can go, roll up through the spine and reset your posture by bringing your arms to first position, up to fifth position, opening to second position, and down to your sides.
  • Repeat this exercise four times.

Watch Ballet Fusion’s guide to Port de Bras!



Take your posture exercises one step further and sign-up for adult open classes at The School of Ballet Arizona. Classes are offered weekly in-studio and over Zoom for all skill levels. Click here to register today!

Read ‘Ballet 101: A Brief History’

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