Entertainment Performing Arts Ballet Warm-up Share PINTEREST Email Print Kathrin Ziegler / Getty Images Performing Arts Ballet Gear Favorite Ballets Singing Acting Musical Theater Dance Stand Up Comedy By Treva Bedinghaus Treva L. Bedinghaus is a former competitive dancer who has studied ballet, tap, and jazz. She writes about dance styles and practices and the history of dance. our editorial process Treva Bedinghaus Updated January 05, 2018 It is very important to warm up before each and every ballet class. A ballet warm-up is not necessarily restricted to stretching, however. Warming up elevates body temperature, making the muscles more pliable and resistant to injury. A proper warm-up will also enhance your performance ability. Dancers should never rush through or neglect a proper warm up. If they do, they may find themselves sore, tight or even injured. It's important to remember that you should be sweating before you ever start dancing. Warm-up Strategies Warming up does not only refer to stretching. Stretching cold muscles can potentially cause harm, as the muscle may not be ready to move. A "dynamic warm-up" will get the blood flowing and warm up all of your moving parts, including muscles, joints, and ligaments. It prepares the body for big movements. Many ballet instructors start a warm-up with light prancing in place for a couple of minutes. With your feet parallel, slowly and gently alternate raising and lowering your heels. Keep your knees soft and make sure you roll through your entire foot, including the toes. Prances can be done in place, moving forward, or moving backward. A dynamic warm-up should accomplish the following: Get your heart pumping & blood circulatingActivate your central nervous systemPrepare your body for movement that's comingReduce potential for injuryMove joints through a full range of motionEncourage fluid, flowy movements Another good way to warm up for ballet is to perform rises at the barre. (Keep a tennis ball in your ballet bag for this one.) Stand at the barre with your feet parallel. Place a tennis ball between your feet, just below the ankles. Try to keep the ball in place as you slowly raise and lower your heels. Rises with a tennis ball will ensure that your body is properly aligned and ready for the class. Stretching Warm-up stretching should be static, or holding stretches for certain lengths of time. Stretching this way will help maintain flexibility and correct muscle imbalances. Holding a stretch will return a muscle to its normal length, after contracting during movement. Static stretching can release stress and tension within a muscle. Static stretching should be performed in the correct way: Hold all stretches for 10-60 secondsBreathe to allow oxygen to get to the musclesFocus stretches on flexibility and range of motion A few examples of static stretches: Bending over to touch your toesHolding your splitsShoulder stretches and rollsLeg stretches and holds toward torso, laying on your back What You Should Know Start off slow. Don't shock your body by jumping right into a dynamic warm up. Start off slowly, getting your heart to beat a little faster, then focus on static stretches for a while. If you warm up properly, you'll perform better and dance safer.