Flooring for a Home Dance Space

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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We've had so many questions lately about where our dance flooring is from in our homes! The short answer is: it's Marley flooring! If you've been following us for a long time, you've seen Abby's at-home ballet space since the beginning of our YouTube videos in 2012! She's moved a few times since then, but can pack this up and move it with her so it's a super great setup for portability and a small space. In one of her moves I got to take a piece of flooring home with me, so I've had a version of this in my home for awhile now too!

So we're going to share two different ways you can create a home ballet space - one with a "sprung" floor and one without. But either way, you are going to want marley as your surface to dance on, so here are options of where to get that!

W H E R E  T O  G E T  M A R L E Y

Marely is the smooth, vinyl flooring you'll most likely find in the studio where you take class. It comes in large roll-out pieces, but you can get pieces of it in smaller sizes that's great for home use.

Abby's marley pieces are from greatmats.com. You can put in the dimensions you want for your space to get just enough of what you need! You can also get pieces from Harlequin Floors - they have a dance mat option that is 5ft x 6ft for $86. If you have enough space to get two or three of these you can tape them together with gaffer tape or the clear PVC tape they offer on their website.

(A cheaper alternative to marley flooring is shower pan liner, but, there has been discussion about toxins coming from this, so you might do some more research before you go that route!)

I F  Y O U  W A N T  A  S P R U N G  F L O O R

This is really the ideal situation so it's safer for jumping and this is what Abby uses in her home!


This is a simple three layer setup that starts with interlocking foam mats which you can find here or at your local home supply store like Home Depot or Lowe's. Get as many as you need to cover the amount of floor space you want or need.

On top of the gym mats you will need to put plywood sheets over the top to create a hard, flat surface. You can also find this at a home supply store like Home Depot or Lowe's. You can use heavy duty tape to adhesive multiple sheets next to each other!

And then on top of the plywood you'll put your pièce de résistance, marley floor!

Something to think about before you do this setup:
This will add height to your floor so if you have low ceilings and/or a ceiling fan, make sure you have enough head and arm room above you!


I F  Y O U  J U S T  W A N T  A  F L A T  S U R F A C E

If you don't want to go the full sprung floor route, you can just add a marely floor to your space! This is what Jana does in her home since she has wood floors and a low ceiling (with a ceiling fan too!). But if you have carpet, you can get plywood sheets to put on top of your carpet and then put the marely floor on top of that!


My marley piece is 6ft x 9 ft and it is all one piece, but you can still tape together a couple smaller pieces, or bigger pieces depending on how much space you have!

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If you need to store your dance floor, make sure you keep the tubing it comes wrapped around in or use something to keep it from creasing - I have a couple of "pinches" in my floor from it being stored improperly and I can't get those spots to go away!

Let us know if you have other questions about a home dance space!

Jana & Abby


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Started Ballet at 31! Meet Sterlin in the new Behind the Dancer video!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

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In this third episode of Behind the Dancer you get to meet Sterlin - a ballet beginner as of five years ago who is now directing an adult ballet performance group and has started a professional dance company and school!!

I am so fortunate to get to dance and perform with Sterlin at Oklahoma City Ballet's school and reap the benefits of him paving the way for dancers of all ages and levels to get to perform, as you guys have seen in my performance vlogs throughout 2019!

After sharing this video with Abby before it went live, she sent me the perfect takeaway of listening to Sterlin tell his story!

"The main message I think is so great about Sterlin's video is that, yes, maybe you can't start that late in life and go pro, but you can start really late in life and still have legit involvement in the art and in the community. That it's not about going down the same track as students that start young and go pro, but creating and forging new tracks for people also doing what you are doing. And that just because it hasn't been done yet or isn't done as a standard, doesn't mean there isn't room for something new." - Abby

Enjoy the video and make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more!

Jana
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Pointe Progress! New Ballet Week Vlog

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In my latest vlog I bring you along for rehearsals and ballet class where I've made some major progress with my mental blocks!

I've been gradually adding in pointe shoes to my Wednesday night Beginner/Intermediate ballet class and this week I did all of center class on pointe! I felt really proud of myself for getting through pique turns, pique arabesques, and even chaine turns without letting my mental blocks get the best of me!! I could not believe it! And then to finish class we did 8 releves to retire on each side, which I was scared of but just told myself to go for it and I actually felt in control for the most part!

I also bring you along for some rehearsals as we gear up for my first adult ballet collective performance of 2020! Stay tuned for an upcoming video where I share more about the performance and my summer intensive plans!

- Jana


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Get More Turnout with These Exercises!

Monday, January 27, 2020

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Oh, turnout. Or, as we like to refer to it: rotation. We can never seem to have enough of it, right? If you're like me and have trouble even finding the muscles to activate your rotation, I'm here to share some exercises that have helped me!

You can use a theraband to do these, but I recommend getting some nice resistance bands if you can! These thicker ones with no-slip grips from Arena Strength are great, as well as the Tone It Up resistance bands you can get at Target.

Working in the most efficient way, I'll take you through 10 modified barre exercises to get those rotation muscles firing so that next time you're in class it should be easier to activate them and get the most out of your class time!

Backstory: I peaked with my dancing when I was with a company at 17-18 years old. When our season ended, I was hitting 6 turns en pointe, my extension felt great, my jumps were high.

The minute I started dancing in college, it never felt the same. I got increasingly frustrated that I was regressing, partially because the dancing was not as rigorous as in a full time company. Knowing that my parents were not going to let me leave college and come back home to return to dancing professionally, I instead left dancing and concentrated on college.

I started dancing again, recreationally, once I graduated, and contemplated returning to the professional world. But, I was not in the shape I needed to be in to get a contract, having done nothing for more than 3 years. Plus, by this time, I was working almost full time, in graduate school, engaged and marrying my husband, and by 24, I had my son.

Once my son was born via c-section, my body has never quite been the same. I opened a studio when he was a toddler, but was primarily teaching and not dancing myself, so I created some bad habits and muscle imbalances (imagine hours a day of demonstrating only one side - even though teacher training warned us about this!). I injured my left hip, and was in pain because of it for years after, which also created more imbalances because of compensating.

When we moved again, I was able to dance more full time for a while, but by this time, my muscular structure was totally off. My hips were constantly tilted forward, and my leg muscles very obviously showed all my imbalances. I went to my chiropractor at one point, and he said, "I don't want to overstep, because I know you know more about ballet than I do, but to me, your muscles are completely off. You are overbuilt in areas where you shouldn't be, and not using muscles you should be." And he could see this just from how I walked around!

The next few years, I was also limited in how much I could dance, I was taking care of my sick parents, and I used the time to really start to condition in ways to try to correct things. I did pilates regularly, and was constantly looking online for exercises to help me.

Last year, my son started training at a Cuban school, and I started taking a couple of times a week there. The teacher did not let me get away with anything! And while they focus on turnout, it's not in a way that only forces the ankles. They really emphasize the use of the hamstrings and glutes, and this has changed so much for me. I am still in class with her regularly, and this is one reason I am so sure that my son is the perfect place to train! She is helping me hold my turnout and alignment properly for the first time since I was 18 years old.

In trying to work in between classes to get the correct muscles firing so they would be stronger in class, I started experimenting with loop bands. That's how this workout was born! I feel like this is one of the best conditioning workouts to give automatic feedback in the next class, because you will feel the engagement of the muscles needed for more turnout and rotation - in a correct and safe way!

- Abby

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Is It Too Late to Start Ballet?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

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Happy New Year, dancers! I thought I would kick off 2020 by answering one of our most frequently asked questions on YouTube:

"Am I too old to start ballet?"

I think the question most commonly comes from the 12-16 age range, and while as a 35 year-old I look at that question and think “Of course you’re not too old! Why would you think that?!”, I forget what it’s like to be that age and start something new that your classmates may have been doing since they were three. So I’m here to address this, whatever age!

The answer is NO! You're never too old to start! Think about it this way: if you are currently 13 years-old and are contemplating starting ballet, think about your older self, say age 25. Do you think your 25 year-old self is going to be mad you started ballet at 13, or are you going to be glad that you did because now you have 12 years of ballet under your belt?! You do can do A LOT in 12 years!

The thing is: Time is going to keep moving whether or not you do the thing you want to do. So you might as well do the thing you want to do!

For the teen late starters, I understand it can be a tough age to start. It’s easy to compare yourself to friends that have been dancing for years, maybe are already on pointe, and you’re going to have to learn how to just stand at the barre and hold your posture right! But you're going to have to go through that step whether you start now or wait until you're older! You may have to dance with younger kids for awhile; you may stumble around for awhile; but it will come together if you keep going. Remember, this is YOUR journey, not anyone else’s journey. As I kid I was really hung up on keeping up with friends who were ready for things I wasn’t ready for yet. I wish I had learned how to put on my “blinders” on back then. Keep focusing on you and work hard and HAVE FUN!

I think as we get older it gets easier to not worry about what other people think. But it can still be hard in our 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. to start something new or return to something we loved back in the day, especially as our aging bodies like to make things more difficult lol!

But the answer is still the same: It’s never too late to start! I went back to ballet at age 21, overweight from college life and nervous as hell about returning to something I loved so much and gave up too early. But if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be 14.5 years into ballet with so many wonderful experiences and friendships and performances that have morphed who I am today!

So I encourage you to start something you're passionate about! And if you need help figuring out where to take a ballet class, you might start here with our Find a Studio page or our Find an Intensive page! And you can start connecting with other adult ballet dancers through our private Facebook group that Abby runs!

Much love,
Jana
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Holiday Workout Guide

Saturday, December 21, 2019

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Happy Holidays, everyone!!

This is the time of year when most studios are off for at least two weeks, so in order to keep up with our dancing and supplement the time we are off, I created a two-week workout guide to help out!
Download here!

Hoping everyone has a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

From your girls here at Ballerinas By Night,

Jana & Abby

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Ask Abby! How to Remember Combinations

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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One of our followers emailed us a question recently, and we wanted to share the response with you here, because we get this question a LOT!

Hello, I have reached out to you guys before and I just want to tell you that you guys are a great resource for me.  thank you!  I have something I was wondering if you could help me with.  I feel like I struggle with remember combinations when we are in the center or go across the floor, most the across the floor combinations.  And as a result I don't feel like I dance well because I am too nervous I don't know what  I am doing.  do you have any trips to remembering the combinations so I can just dance it and not think so much about the order of the steps?

Thanks, Sarah


Mark, mark, mark! 

As someone that struggled with this (and still does to a large extent), I have to mark the combination over and over in order to get it enough to be successful. Go in the latest group you can, and mark with every group in the back as they go across the floor before you take your turn. When the teacher is first giving the combination, do it with them as full out as possible while they are going over it. 

If you don't feel like you can get the entire combination, try to really get at least the first four to eight counts, then really dance and commit to just that part, then see how much you can make the rest flow even if it isn't perfect. A lot of times combinations have a pattern or a part repeats, so try to find the pattern. Kind of like the number trick where someone gives you the numbers 3-6-1-4-3-7, and you can remember it more easily by thinking 36-14-37.

Just try not to judge yourself too much about mistakes, because it can definitely be crippling! Better to let yourself go and make a few mistakes than to hold back too much. I know it's easier said than done! But it will get better! The mental part of ballet is just like a muscle getting stronger, and the more you use it, the stronger it will get.

Hope this helps!

Abby

Comment below if this is something you struggle with or have to work on!
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