Ballet for Everybody

Heli Santavuori baletti.

Me performing ballet at the age of 58. PHOTO: Vesa Laine.

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The same book in Finnish: Balettia kaikille.  

Heli Santavuori:


Ballet for Everybody
– The Basics of Ballet for Beginners of All Ages


ISBN 9789515680440
Paperback, 120 pages

Find the book

Own work: english text, illustrations and design.  

Back cover text:


Can you study ballet with the help of a book?

Yes you can - if you have the right book!

This book is for complete beginners who, for some reason, cannot take classes. It is also helpful for ballet students who want to improve their technique, as well as for students of other forms of dance or even sport. For parents whose children are studying ballet, it can be of great help.


In short, this book is for everybody interested in ballet technique – of all ages and fitness levels.


The basic posture, all barre exercises, and some center work are presented here with accurate descriptions and illustrations. Even the most common errors are described in detail.


Professional dancers need personal guidance. But everybody else can very well acquire a basic understanding of ballet studying at home. Even if you attend ballet classes, a very big portion of what you learn there, is in fact based on verbal instructions. You cannot learn ballet only by watching (for ex videos). But you can learn ballet by listening to instructions or reading them, and combining this with the study of illustrations and videos.


Heli Santavuori

is a Finnish journalist, graphical designer, and ballet teacher. She studied under ballet masters from the Finnish National Ballet, where the Russian style dominated. She also took classes in contemporary dance under the American dancer Cora Cahan.


“The love of ballet has never left me”, she says. “It gives so much joy and physical self-knowledge. Even the elementary exercises can cause an almost meditative experience, when performed correctly. I am convinced, that ballet is for everybody.”


Page 8:

It is a Good Idea to Practice at Home



  • if you dream of taking ballet classes but hesitate for some reason. You will learn what kind of exercises a ballet class consists of. You can experiment in practice and find out if this is your thing.
  • if you have been dancing ballet in your youth. This book is a memory help – especially when some of the rules are a bit difficult and therefore easy to forget.
  • if you practice ice skating, gymnastics, aerobic, or any other training form and want to make progress.
  • if you are already taking ballet classes. Then it is a good idea to go back to basics from time to time. You have now the possibility to concentrate on things that are especially difficult for just you.
  • if you only have the possibility to take classes only once or twice a week, and want more.
  • if you study some other dance form (or forms) and don’t have the possibility to take ballet classes as well.
  • if you are a beginner and perhaps not so fit. The basic barre exercises are good for everybody, just follow the instructions carefully. Additional pilates exercises can help you to understand the basic posture, if there is a problem. Stretching is also recommended; better mobility is always an advantage.


Here are some examples of the book’s illustrations. They guide you through the barre exercises and some center work bit by bit. It is a good idea to have the book at hand when practising. You will certainly remember the instructions when looking at the pictures.

Common mistakes in plié

Grand Plié with Port de Bras

Rond de jambe par terre - preliminary exercise

Developpé - right and wrong

Video: The French Ballet Terms and How to Pronounce Them

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