Next Generation Ballet students, mid-flight. Photo by Maxwell Bolton, courtesy of Philip Neal.
Most ballet teachers like to reserve the last part of class for jumping, a time when students happily try to defy gravity and take flight. But some dancers have difficulty getting off the ground. In our September issue, we asked educators what the key elements were to more buoyant jumps. Philip Neal, artistic director of Next Generation Ballet and dance department chair at the Patel Conservatory, offered these tips:
- Breathe between jumps to replenish blood flow to the legs.
- Practice running backward, landing on the balls of the feet and rolling through the foot. "It's like landing from a jump," says Neal.
- Try deep-water running—wear a flotation belt and do exercises in the pool—to build strength without weight bearing.
- Articulate through the foot and use the toes to fully push off the floor.
Want more tips on getting your dancers to leap like Mexican jumping beans? Check out our September issue.