Happy new year! The new year is probably my favourite holiday. I love reflecting on the year that’s passed, and getting excited about what’s to come. I always have big plans for the year ahead, and this year more than ever. I really need to progress in 2016, and I am absolutely determined to get to the next level. Therefore, instead of simply setting a new year’s resolution, I have made a comprehensive plan for the next twelve months.
I have set myself two main goals to achieve this year: firstly, to reach my ideal weight, as this is something that is really holding me back in ballet and it is time to change that. My second goal is to properly join the full-time vocational course at my school– I currently still take class with the adults as I am trying to get to the required standard to join the full course. I have set myself a focus for each month so that I can work on a different aspect of my technique. I will share these with you guys here in case it gives you some ideas about what you’d like to work on in 2016, although I am nervous about sharing them as it does highlight my weaknesses as a dancer. I have chosen the things that I feel need the most work; for example my best assets are my flexibility and ports de bras so there isn’t much of that in here, and more work on strength and also turning and balance which I struggle with. I have also set a goal weight for the end of each month to get me down to my desired weight by the end of the year, which broken down across the year means I only have to lose around 3lbs a month to be the ideal weight for my height and for ballet.
JANUARY: Focus on- BALANCE
- To be able to balance in pirouette position for 15 seconds
- Balance in arabesque and attitude on demi-pointe for 10 seconds
- Fondues and rhond de jambe en l’air on demi pointe in the centre
FEBRUARY: Focus on- ABS
- Work abdominals, especially lower abs and obliques, every day
- To be able to hold legs just off the floor without arching lower back and complete a variety of abdominal work in this position and others with ease
MARCH: Focus on- FEET
- Strengthen and stretch feet until a difference is clearly visible
- For feet to almost touch the floor when pointed sitting on the floor
APRIL: Focus on- PIROUETTES AND TURNS
- Really nail double pirouettes from fourth and fifth positions to the left and right, both en dehor and en dedan.
- Tidy up turns in arabesque and attitude.
- Get poses, chaines and soutenous perfect, especially on the left.
- Get comfortable with fouettes on demi-pointe.
MAY: Focus on- ARABESQUE AND ATTITUDE
- Stretch and strengthen back every day
- Get perfect arabesque position to feel like second-nature: just above ninety degrees, both the working and supporting leg fully turned-out and properly straight, back upright and stomach held.
- Same with attitude, with knee well-lifted and working leg not bent too far closed.
JUNE: Focus on- POINTE
- Improve turnout whilst en pointe, keeping heels forward and really work feet over shoes.
- Get releves on one leg perfect.
- Get more comfortable with pirouettes and other turns en pointe.
- Practice pose into attitude/arabesque until it looks effortless and be able to balance there.
JULY: Focus on- TURNOUT
- Work bum and inner thigh muscles relentlessly and stretch hips as much as possible.
- Concentrate on turnout in class, and try to get strong enough that the working leg and supporting leg can hold full turnout with proper form using the correct muscles.
AUGUST: Focus on- ARTISTRY
- Think more about head, upper body and arms in class- express the music.
- Watch ballets and practice portraying characters and emotions.
SEPTEMBER: Focus on- KNEES AND ANKLES
- Be really strict with self and do not allow ankles to roll inwards or feet to sickle.
- Do not allow knees to bend when they shouldn’t, especially when closing into fifth position or during grande battements.
OCTOBER: Focus on- SIDE EXTENTIONS
- Work on middle splits and strengthen obliques to improve side extensions.
- Get a la seconde to an almost-vertical position, with both knees fully stretched and both legs fully turned-out, and bum well forwards, both at the barre and in the centre.
NOVEMBER: Focus on- OVERSPLITS
- Get comfortable in an oversplit position with the right leg forward, left leg forward and middle.
- Gradually increase oversplit to reach an impressive height.
DECEMBER: Focus on- DEMI-POINTE
- Do barre exercises on demi-pointe whenever possible
- In the centre, try rising on to demi-pointe during appropriate exercises and for balances.
I have also decided that I want to create the following good habits:
- Write down my corrections after every class
- Do my conditioning routine every day
- Make time to visualise every day
I did also want one conventional “new year’s resolution” so it’s going to be… to blog more! From now on I’m going to try to post every Sunday, when I don’t have ballet. I do usually work on Sunday afternoons but I will still endeavour to post every week.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and that you’re motivated to achieve more than ever in 2016! Let me know what your goals, resolutions and exciting plans are for the coming year!