Apr 19, 2017

Scottish Ballet Company Class

Scottish Ballet

A ballet dancer's day starts off with morning class - but what does this mean? From pointe shoe preparation and stretches to jumps and the floor that they leap upon, discover what Class means for a dancer before watching a full, uncut Company Class from inside the studios, taught by Scottish Ballet's Chief Executive/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson. 

Company Class
A dancer at Scottish Ballet's day begins with Company Class. An opportunity to warm up and stretch muscles, refine technique and focus the mind and body for the day ahead. 

Each exercise at the barre has a specific purpose, from strengthening the muscles of the feet and legs to increasing extension and improving flexibility.

A member of the Artistic Team will always teach Company Class, and occasionally guest teachers will visit Scottish Ballet. (Pictured: Scottish Ballet Rehearsal Director Oliver Rydout)

Pianists for dance are expected to improvise during class. Scottish Ballet & the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offer a MMUS Pianist for Dance course, the only course of its kind in the world.

Our home
The dancers begin their day at Scottish Ballet's custom build headquarters at Tramway in Glasgow, Scotland.

Scottish Ballet's top floor contains three large ballet studios which look onto a large communal area on the floor below, providing an open and sociable feel to the entire building.

The Peter Darrell Studio is the largest of Scottish Ballet's purpose built ballet studios in Glasgow.

To the barre
Every class begins with barre work to warm up muscles, stretch their feet and prepare their bodies for the day ahead.

Ballet barres are usually made of wood, metal, plastic, or a combination of the three. Our barres have parallel handrails, upper and lower, to accommodate dancers of differing heights.

Principal dancer Bethany Kingsley-Garner takes to the barre during Company Class.

After barre has finished they go into the centre where the exercises have more movement, progressing through turns and small jumps until they finish with big travelling and jumping combinations.

Tools of the trade
It's important for a ballet dancer to have the right garments and equipment in the studios in order to prevent injury and ensure the best performance. There's much more to a shiny pointe shoe than you may expect... 

Pointe shoes do not come with their ribbons already attached, these need to be sewn on by the dancers themselves. They tend to do these in large batches to save time!

A haven for anyone with an interest in ballet - the pointe shoe cupboard is filled floor to ceiling of shoes in different sizes and colours, custom made for each individual dancer.

Leotards are a tightly fitted garment like a swim suit, worn by dancers. Invented in the mid-19th century by the French acrobat, Jules Léotard.

Rosin adds friction between the studio floor and the dancer's shoes. In a tray in the corner of the studio, the dancers can dip their feet in throughout class for extra grip for jumps and other moves.

Our floors are made by dance floor specialists Harlequin Floors and provide the amount of spring that's essential for a ballet dancer to absorb the impact of landings during class and rehearsals.

When Company Class ends, the dancers have a short break before they begin rehearsals for the rest of the day, which will vary from season to season. They'll likely have a quick snack and hydrate to keep their newly warmed muscles energised for a busy day ahead! You can find out more about Scottish Ballet and its dancers at www.scottishballet.co.uk 
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