Friday, June 6, 2008

Elegance in Ballet Depends on How You Build Strength in Core Muscles

Making classical ballet dancing look effortless and elegant is the goal of any dancer, including for men in ballet. Effortlessness indicates strength , and men in ballet must strive for elegance while showing muscular prowess as a rescuing prince or charismatic villain. Ballerinas strive for fluidity in their arms, upper back, and other movements requiring suppleness, yet depending on the strength of their core muscles.

Naturally, for both men and women in ballet, elegance also depends on the finesse and finer details of professional footwork and strong leg muscles. The whole body works as a coordinated unit, and this coordination depends more on the core muscles than any other area of muscles.

As a student is developing and learning the ballet body positions and the many port de bras (French words for arm movements) he or she must also have core muscles that can support the elegant and floating movements required, just like a tree trunk supports a tree when it sways in the wind. Or a swan's long neck is supported by its sturdy body weight. (perhaps that is a better metaphor!)

Classical ballet dancers easily have the abs of steel, buns of steel and all those things. But they don't want to look like it!

Daily routines in ballet training usually produce what is required to do classical ballet choreography. But unusual body proportions, starting training later, and other factors lead dancers to cross train to catch up, get ahead or get an edge on the competition. And, always, prevent dance injuries.

There are several Pilates gurus promoting their DVD courses so that anyone can work at home. Mat work courses, stretchy band work courses, and even Pilates machine courses are available, with small light weight home-version machines.

So if you are too busy to get to a Pilates studio, that is no problem. Pilates is a wonderful type of cross training for ballet dancers, as it produces the balletic elongation of muscle and builds strength. It also contributes to the fluid quality of movement that dancers strive for.

Slow motion weight training can help dancers too. The slow motion speed is to trigger the best use of the muscles, and also prevent injury. No sudden or jerky movement is done, and this protects the joints and soft tissues around the joints. Slow motion weight training has also shown to contribute to a healthy metabolism and the release of enzymes into the body that is rejuvenating in many ways. It is a detailed and fascinating subject unto itself.

Whatever stage of classical ballet training you are in, or aspire to, you can achieve elegance in your ballet dancing. How well you build strength in your core muscles will also affect your work in pointe shoes, and for the men in ballet, your partnering skills and princely or villainous virtuosity.

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