Ballet dancers typically begin training between 6 and 8 (for females) or 5 and 7 (for male dancers) if they desire to perform professionally.
Training does not end when a professional company hires ballet dancers. They must attend ballet class six days a week to keep themselves fit and aware. Ballet is a strict art form; the dancer must be athletic and flexible.
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Ballet dancers begin their classes at the barre, a wooden beam that runs along the walls of the ballet studio. Dancers use the barre to support themselves during exercises.
Barre work is designed to warm up the body and stretch muscles to prepare for center work, where they execute exercises without the barre.
Center work in the middle of the room starts with slower exercises, gradually leading to faster exercises and larger movements. Ballet dancers finish center work practicing big leaps across the floor, called grande allegro.
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After center work, females present exercises on pointe or their toes, supported by special pointe shoes. Males practice jumps and turn.