Mimi Tompkins – Preparing for Class
Class at National Ballet of Canada begins at either 9:45 or 10 a.m. Luckily I live very close to the studio, so I don’t have to wake up terribly early to prepare myself for the day. I aim to get to the building at least 45 minutes prior to the start of the class.
The first thing I do is change into my leotard and tights and bundle up in warm-ups. Warm-ups are essential especially since it’s getting chilly here in Toronto. I like starting off with many layers while I stretch and do exercises, but shed them once class actually begins so I can see my lines and form.
The next thing I do is pin up my hair. My current ballet hairstyle usually varies between a low bun or pinned up braids. After my hair is out of the way, I like doing a few gentle stretches to loosen up, but not too much.
I like doing the more intense stretches after barre when I’m warm. I learned that it’s more effective to prepare by doing a few exercises rather than lots of stretching. For me, hamstring strengthening and core exercises are what help me the most. The key to my improvement definitely starts from strengthening my core, so I try my best to do core training whenever I have a chance.
Next after exercises, I prepare my shoes that I wear for class. I like doing barre on flat to warm up my feet and work my technique. For center, I prefer wearing pointe shoes, so I can get acclimated for the following rehearsals. I choose the shoes I will wear for center before class begins so I don’t have a scramble to figure it out in the few minutes after barre.
After the decisions are all made, I put on some lip balm and I’m ready to dance!