Dear Katie: How Can I Break Out of the Ballet Mold?

October 15, 2020

In our “Dear Katie” series, former Miami City Ballet and NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

Though I’ve trained mostly in ballet so far, I want to make sure I explore other parts of the dance world. Recently I’ve been taking classes in African styles and trying salsa
dance—but I can’t let go of my ballet posture
and release my weight into the floor. How can I break free of those ballet habits?


Dear Catie,

After so much ballet training, it can be difficult to break that mold. But bravo to you for branching out! Training in non-ballet styles will make you a stronger, more deeply educated mover, and give you a broader perspective on the dance world.

I think imagery might help you. Instead of focusing on being lifted, as in ballet, picture your body growing roots into the floor, with your energy radiating down into the ground. Instead of working on the illusion of lightness, think about the weight of your limbs and your head, and the power that comes from that weight.

Small changes to your class routine can help get you out of ballet mode, too. Something as simple as taking out your bun—literally letting your hair down—can signal to the rest of your body that it’s time to drop your ballet persona.

For more of Katie’s helpful tips and advice, click here.