Focus class: footwork, floor pressure and resistance

A class with a focus on using floor pressure and resistance and developing strength and articulation in footwork.


  • 1 Class
  • Suitable for 16+

In this class, we will examine how to build awareness of floor pressure and increasingly engage resistance from the floor through the feet. This will help to develop foot articulation, build strength in foot muscles and encourage activation of the essential core muscles. Students will also work to maintain the correct weight placement over the forefoot, in particular when lowering from relevés which will aid a quicker return to the relevé position for the following movement.

What you will learn

  • To increase awareness of floor pressure when moving between positions
  • To encourage weight placement over the forefoot
  • To build awareness of the pressure in the supporting foot to develop strength and power of resistance from the floor to increase stability

Your Tutors

Jessica Clarke

Artistic Manager of the Vocational and Pre-professional Programmes

Jessica trained at The Royal Ballet School before joining the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1988. She relocated to Birmingham when it became Birmingham Royal Ballet.

She danced many varied soloist and principal roles and created roles in works by Kenneth MacMillan, David Bintley, Vincent Redmon, Oliver Hindle, Matthew Hart and Mikaela Polley.

Since her retirement from the Company in 1998, Jessica attained the Associate Teachers’ AISTD qualification of the Cecchetti Branch of the ISTD and in 2007 The Royal Ballet School’s PDTC with distinction.

Jessica taught for one year at the Rambert School for Ballet and Contemporary Dance and joined the staff of The Royal Ballet School in 2008.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

These classes are recommended for students aged 16+ and reflect the training given to students aged 16-19 studying at The Royal Ballet School. The classes are not suitable for beginner students, students with limited experience or students under 15 years old.

For these classes, we recommend that:

  • Students are regularly training in a recognised classical ballet syllabus at a vocational level of Advanced 2 or above, or studying at an equivalent level in full-time vocational training
  • Students have an excellent and broad knowledge of ballet vocabulary and can follow the class using only verbal instruction if necessary
  • Students will have strong and secure basic technique with an understanding of correct placement
  • Barrework should be strong with clean execution and secure demi-pointe work
  • Adage will have strong, secure placement and extensions will be at 90 degrees or above
  • Pirouettes are secure and students will have the ability to execute multiple turns
  • Allegro, including batterie, should be executed with good understanding of secure take-off and landings
  • Students undertaking pointe work will be confident in advanced exercises.

What do I need to participate?

These classes are designed so that they can be executed in a smaller space than a ballet studio. We ask that students/parents ensure that:

  • The student meets the technical standards required for the class
  • Any apparatus used for a barre is stable and safe
  • The floor is not slippery, uneven or hazardous
  • The area used for dancing is cleared of any items which could hinder the student’s ability to fully extend their arms and legs. There should be enough space for reasonable movement. If a student cannot fully execute an exercise, they should either adapt appropriately or not participate
  • The student is able to clearly hear the teacher’s verbal instruction, see the teacher’s practical delivery and hear the music
  • The student is appropriately dressed to safely execute a dance class. Soft ballet shoes should be worn for ballet, not pointe shoes. Bare feet, socks or suitable shoes should be worn for contemporary and Pilates
  • The student’s hair is suitably tied back
  • The student is fit and well in order to take part.

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