Monday, March 3, 2008

Core Muscles - Build Strength For Ballet Movements

Syllabus classes like R.A.D. and Cecchetti present only the exercises to be done in the exams. Many months can be spent working up to new and difficult movements. You can build strength in your center with preparation ballet exercises, whether in ballet shoes or pointe shoes. This adds up to well-executed combinations and helps to prevent injuries.

For example, if your class has done adage in the center consisting of developpe en croix, and your new level requires a fouette or promenade, you may need to build more strength in your center.

Fouette in adage depends on the stability of the supporting side, firstly, then of course, also the working position.

To break it down, you could practise an exercise where the you developpe devant, turn a quarter turn to face the wall, moving the supporting heel and thigh to a new turned out position, and the working leg coming forward to its proper second position. You could either close here, and developpe a la seconde and then turn a quarter turn back to devant, or just keep holding the leg up and turn back to devant. It depends on your current strength and stamina. You can do this four times on each side, changing sides, so as not to exhaust the supporting side.

You would do the same, going from developpe a la seconde to arabesque, always leading with the supporting heel/thigh and adjusting to the arabesque position carefully.

And then with developpe to arabesque back to a la seconde.

When you are feeling steady with these movements, you would want to add going into a demi plie at the end of the developpe, and releve the fouette, then coming down into a strong demi plie. This will be needed in fouette releve en pointe, and fouette saute, for a good strong landing. Adage is a preparation for these, as well as for adage choreography.

If you feel wobbly in the torso, or are straining your neck and shoulders to balance, you can do the lying on the floor on your side exercise, raising both legs up a few inches, straight, keeping the supporting waist held off the floor. 4-8 times per side and you will build core strength.

Teachers break movements down like this, and you can even practice the position changes in retire or a tendu, to get those torso muscles fully engaged and controlled.

This strength in your center means a lot when you put on pointe shoes and wobble until you get used to the shoe, maintaining a full height position and balancing on the sole of the pointe shoe.

Building this core strength through preparation exercises leads to the "effortless" quality that is so admired in professionals. And you can do it too.

Get help with your core muscles and ballet movements.

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