Learning to Breath Correctly is Super Important for Ballet Students

Learning to Breath Correctly is Super Important for Ballet Students

Understanding and using good breath methods plays a crucial role not only for a dance students health and wellbeing, but also their physical execution of dance and artistic performance.

This can often be overlooked by dance students in favour of technique, alignment and muscle strength but, how you breath as a dancer, effects so much.   It effects your physical level of control with your core, your flexibility, joint mobility, range of motion, and energy, all of which are necessary to work well to be able to dance.  Some key aspects include;

Mobility and Flexibility – Tension Release

Breathing well involves gentle mobility of joints that allow the ribcage to open and move outwards with ease.  Intercostal muscles assist with this movement process which is why incorrect breathing can restrict a dancers ribcage causing them to feel tension or stuck in the upper back, which can limit their movement.  For example, a dance student can struggle to lift their arms in overhead positions when tension is present, curtailing their ability to further develop these moves.  Correct breathing triggers gentle mobilisation of these joints allowing for freer movement and tension release.

Poor and shallow breathing leads to tension and restriction on nerves that service the entire body while correct breathing allows for more overall release.  With good understanding of breath with movement, dance students can learn to enhance not limit their overall flexibility and mobility .

Ability to Perform – Expression and Flow

A dance student learns to use their breath to convey emotions and capture the expressiveness and artistry of movements for example, lightness or heaviness. Managing your emotions and finding your sense of flow as a dance student requires efficient use of your  heart rate and breathing response.  Developing good controlled breathing habits and understanding the link between emotions, breath and movement, benefits a dance student’s emotional health by promoting calmness and clarity.   Conscious use of breath can aid a dance students ability to embody artistic qualities for expressivity of movements which developing their skills to capture the essence of their performance.

Stability and Balance – Core Dynamics

Good diaphragmatic breathing engages core muscles, which are essential for providing a stable centre for a dance student.  Balance and stability is needed to execute challenging moves such as arabesques and pirouettes.  Training dance students to have good balance and stability is part of safe dance practice as this reduces the risk of falls and injuries.  Understand how to improve balance as a dance student requires focus on breath just as much as other technical factors.


Core dynamics is all about good use of the diaphragm.  Dance students need to know how to use breath to have fluidity as well as stability, to be able to dance from their centre instead of restricting their centre. This is about leaning how to make the action to extend from the breath. Coordinating breath with movement can enhance the fluidity and expressiveness of dance. For example, inhaling during part of a plié can help gather energy, while exhaling during a jump can drive a more powerful take off.  Synchronization of breath with music makes movements look more natural and graceful.  It also helps dance students to maintain and develop their sense of rhythm and musicality.

Enhanced Energy and Stamina

Dance students need an efficient flow of oxygen to the brain, heart and lungs to dance well and execute moves to the best of their ability.  Shallow breathing due to poor technique can inhibit the cardiovascular system from doing its job effectively.  During ballet class students learn about the effective use of deep controlled breaths to ensure that their muscles receive adequate oxygen, preventing fatigue by allowing them to maintain their energy levels.  This is especially important during times of sustained physical effort and contributes to a dance student’s endurance and stamina training.

Recovery and Reduces Injury Risk

Proper breathing techniques help muscles to recover faster after class or performance.   Good breathing ensures that the body remains oxygenated, which facilitates the removal of metabolic waste products from muscles, reduces soreness and stiffness.  Muscle strain or other injuries are less likely to occur when a dancer is not tired and good oxygen levels will reduce fatigue.

Learning and Practice

When a dance student understands how to exercise to improve their breath function, they can use this to develop better as a dancer.   Breath work is a fundamental part of ballet class.  There are many exercises you can do to improve your breathing function. Often specific breathing practices are used as part of warmup routine during a dance class.

So pay attention to your breath during your  ballet class as correct breathing technique is an essential part of mastering the art of ballet.