Sunday, September 6, 2009

How To Improve Your Ballet Technique, Avoid Ballet Injuries and Eventual Arthritis

The traditional ballet conservatory training usually combines a syllabus training (Cecchetti, Royal Academy of Dancing, Vaganova) with the talent of world class retired ballerinas and male dancers. This provides ballet technique that trains each dancer to improve their ballet technique according to their unique physique and talent. How can the recreational dancer, adult ballet beginner or cheer leader student tap into this information in order to avoid ballet injuries and eventual arthritis?

The fastest way to improve your ballet technique, no matter what style of dance your ballet conservatory teaches, is to learn what is anatomically correct and what is not.

You can improve your turnout by understanding the type of hip joints you have. You can also learn which muscles actually hold your turnout, and which muscles support your correct ballet technique and traditional ballet positions. Cheerleaders and even football pros use turnout in their movements and learning it correctly can prevent sprained and torn knee joints.

Analysing Arabesque for example, requires that you understand moving from an upright position of the spine, to a tilted, correctly twisted position of the lumbar (low back) spine. Even if you have 180 degree turnout from your hips, a high arabesque will demand the twist of the low back/pelvis to achieve a professional line. Different dance styles will determine the details of your line, as in some arm placement (square shoulders or not, etc.,) and yet correct ballet technique will allow the dancer to adapt to many choreographic styles.

Also, understanding a proper arabesque ballet position helps you stretch properly to do the splits.

Understanding foot types, foot muscles, and how to strengthen AND relax lower leg and foot muscles will help prepare you for dancing ballet in pointe shoes, regardless of your dance training style. Cheerleaders included - you may not aspire to dance in pointe shoes, but foot/lower leg control will improve your balance and help you avoid the most common ballet/sports/fitness injury - sprained ankles.

It's amazing that x-rays dancers in their twenties can show arthritis in foot joints, knee joints and joints of the low back, neck and shoulders. Certain ballet training styles sprain and strain joints to perpetuate the tradition. Ballet conservatories understand this, and their audition processes attempt to screen out the physiques that will sustain too much damage to finish the training. The better funded academies have added anatomy classes and physical therapists to their programs to diminish this accepted professional hazard.

Now any ballet student or cheer leading student can get the same information! No matter how out of the way your ballet school is! If you have no money to spend, there are many free articles to read on the internet, and many ballet books in your local library.

It's open access to anyone who will search and benefit from the wealth of information on how to improve your ballet technique.

Learn how to IMPROVE YOUR BALLET TECHNIQUE,with products from The Body Series. These educational books and DVDs cover anatomy, ballet turnout, analysing arabesque, muscle tension release and much more!


  1. Dear Diane,
    I'm so glad you included this line in your informative post. You said:
    "Certain ballet training styles sprain and strain joints to perpetuate the tradition."
    Unfortunately, that is SO TRUE. It's hard to believe that in this current age when we are all so aware of contraindicated movements that some ballet teachers will sacrifice their student to perpetuate a "tradition."
    And it's true that many more well-funded academies have made attempts to educate their students in this arena. That's good news!
    After I post this I can't wait to look thru the rest of your blog. Thank you! Amy Arnaz

  2. Hello,
    What a wonderful blog with so much useful information for dancers. Having taken ballet for several years in my younger years, I really enjoy reading these posts.
    Write Moms

  3. Hello,
    I was very excited to see how this blog is bringing such important information to others in the dance field. As a dancer who has danced in an anatomically uneducated way in the past, I have sustained my own injuries. Now as I am a dance performance and education major in college, I have become educated about dancing in a healthy way; therefore, I know firsthand how valuable this information is. I hope that this crucial information can reach other educators (especially the less-funded private studios) and dancers before they suffer from their own injuries. Thank-you, I have really enjoyed your blog!