Balance

Balance is so key in dance. Without it, you really can't do much of anything.  These are a few key things to keep in mind when you work on balance.

Balance is an action, not a position

Balance is something you do, not something you find. Teachers often say "Find your balance." It is true that you have to find the correct position to balance in, but once you find, it, you have to keep it: and that doesn't mean staying still! Balancing is a combination of isometric movements (engaging muscles to hold still) and extremely small isotonic adjustments (isotonic means you're engaging your muscles and actually moving somewhere). Those adjustments, when you first start learning to balance, are large, and they look like wobbles. You will feel like you're falling. But as long as you keep working it and teaching your body how to adjust the hip without loosing the turnout, or how to push harder on the floor without loosing the abdominal strength, eventually balance becomes easy and steady.

Stack Up At Your Center

Think of your body as a set of building blocks: you have to line them all up in order for the tower not to fall. If one near the top is off center, it will pull the others down with it. If one near the bottom is off center, the others will fall off of it. This is why it's important to visualize every aspect of your body while you balance: not just your feet or your hips, but the whole body. You have to line everything up.

For women, our sense of balance is mostly in the sacrum, the top part of the tailbone. Men's center of balance is a little higher, directly behind the belly button. Once you find where your center is, think of both sides of your body being proportionate around it, like those building blocks.

Energy All Directions

Remember that center we talked about? Think about a glowing ball of energy right there, in the middle of your center of balance. Now, as you're standing in whatever position you need to balance in, visualize shooting steady thick streams of that energy straight down into the floor through your standing leg, and straight up into the sky through your spine. You should grow taller from both directions, because you're pushing down from your hips, and lifting up in your back.

Now, visualize your arms shooting streams of energy outwards from your body, and your working leg shooting out the direction it's pointing. No matter what position you're balancing in, you should be able to visualize shooting energy from your center out in all directions, like you're the middle of the clock with a minute hand for every minute.

This concept evenly distributes your force and your consciousness, so you're focused on all parts of your body at the same time, and helps you find the true center of your body in that position.

And don't forget, staring at something helps too! Shoot energy out of your eyes. Pick a spot, and shoot daggers at it.

2 comments:

  1. Thank You for these tips! I have a semi irritating problem, as I recently began pointe work. I am not a proficient balance-er. Sous-sus and first position are fine, but as soon as a front attitude comes in, I'm over like a tree in a storm. One of my biggest problems seems to be swaying my back-I know that using my core more than I already am will help, but is there anything else that could help? Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Remember that when you're up en pointe, your body has to shift forward in the thoracic spine. look at yourself sideways in a mirror and watch that your shoulders, ribs, and hips are over the heel of your standing leg. remember too that strength and balance comes with practice. If you're new to pointe, it's just going to take daily class and lot's of patience.

      try doing some pilates exercises for you back. If you don't know any, go on youtube and look up (Pilates Beginner Abs Series). learning to lengthen your back is very difficult, but it will help you in the long run ;)

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