Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ballet Series: Balance

Hello, my pretties! I hope you all are having a good week. I have officially moved away from home and I freaking love it. Sure, it's weird not seeing my parents everyday but I live so close to home it's hardly a huge deal. I live in what we call a module, which is basically a house on a campus. Our mod holds 22 women total, 2 per room (11 rooms total) but currently only 20 of us live here. Everyone is so kind and welcoming which I absolutely love. Made me feel right at home. I'll be doing a whole post on my experience living in the dorms when the semester is over (in May) so stay tuned for that!
Today’s blog post is part of the ballet series. Instead of writing about a dance move, I thought I would write about something very important in ballet. And that is balance. Balance is key for basically every move in ballet, even more so when you’re en pointe! Here are some tips and tricks I’ve gathered to help you with your balance.

Obviously, posture is very important for balance because if your bum is sticking out or your leaning too far forward, too far to the side etc you’re not going to balance well. Think of yourself as a building with all of your weight on the ball of your foot (very helpful for when balancing on demi).
You want to lift your hips up while holding your stomach, keeping your rib cage closed and your bum tucked (it's a lot to remember, huh?) I've noticed that lots of people struggle with holding their stomach so the analogy I like to use is to think that someone is about to punch your stomach (that’ll really help you tighten your stomach muscles). That contraction of your stomach muscles will help you balance so much better.

As I said earlier, you want your weight to be on the balls of your feet. My dance teacher, Gianna, told that to me in class last week and it really helped my balance. You want to tighten your quad muscles and really push down into the floor like you’re a tree growing roots. At the same time, you want your upper body to stay nice and lifted as if there was a string attached to your head and someone was pulling you up. That will also help your posture.

Some tricks for when you start to fall
It’s all about counter-balancing the direction you start to fall. (General tip, always have something at eye-level to stare at and hold your stomach tight. Having strong ankles will help as well).

In sus-sous
When your standing in sus-sous lots of people tend to fall to the back foot (meaning that if my right foot is back, my body is going to twist to the right and I’m gonna fall backwards). Here’s a tip on how to not fall. You know how you're always told to "work in opposition"? That same principle applies to dance. When you're balancing, which ever foot is in back, bring that shoulder slightly forward, and you’re guaranteed to maintain balance.

In passé/arabesque
Similar to balancing in sus-sous, if you start to fall when balancing in passé, besides keeping both hips squared to the direction your facing, you're going to want the same shoulder as your working leg a bit farther back than your other shoulder. It may sound weird, but trust me, it really does work. You also really want to make sure your weight is slightly forward when balancing in passé.
In arabesque, you’re going to bring your opposite shoulder forward. So if your left leg is back in arabesque your right shoulder is what you want to bring forward. It gives you a really nice and polished looking line too.

In Penche

When I was injured and on crutches I found that using my crutch as a tool to aid me with my penche was extremely helpful. I would hold on to the crutch like it was a barre and I would lean forward with one leg extending back, like I was doing a penche. It keeps your hips squared and because of the weight of the crutch as you go down in penche tells you exactly where your off balance. Try it!

Penche is probably one of the hardest balance related 
ballet moves out there. It's especially difficult on pointe.

So there you have it. Tips and tricks for keeping your balance. I hope this helps you! If it did, don't forget to give it a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites and leave me a comment below if this post taught you some good tricks for better balance. See you next week!

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