Improve your strength, balance, pirouettes, jumps and turnout and many other dance skills by using the floor.

You probably heard many times during your dance classes, regardless of the dance type, that in order to find the correct stance, the alignment and the direction of your body upwards you have to imagine a "string" pulling your upwards from the top of your head. For the sake of many dance skills such as the stability, balance, pirouettes, body alignment etc you have to maintain simultaneously firm connection with the floor.

I would suggest that before starting each dance exercise you reconnect with this important skill by

moving your awareness into your feet; your feet are stably placed on the floor and the floor is carrying you upwards, at the same time your feet are gently "pushing" the flood down. 

This exercise will assist the Vestibulospinal Reflex (VSR keeps your body upright), help your body to resist the gravity and maintain upright position effortlessly. By being stably "grounded" and connected to the floor you will gain extra help for your turnout, pirouettes, jumps etc.
In addition, you eventually will be able to play with this connection and give your dance a desirable quality, for example sensation of effortlessly flying above the floor or sensation of heaviness and power.

Remind yourself about this important connection as much as possible during your dance classes and eventually your body will recall it when necessary.

Good luck! and let me know here how you doing.

In one of my following articles I am going to write about how to use the floor for improving your pirouettes, jumps and for the correct alignment and turnout.
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Warm-up before a dance class. How to "wake up" your body in the morning before a dance class or any time when your body feels stiff

I often get question how to start a dance class in the morning when all the muscles are stiff and the body is not responding in the same way as usual. First of all I would recommend to be gentle with your body and have a thorough warm-up, this warm-up requires about 30 min. I am going to talk about this in one of my next posts. If you don't have half an hour before your class but fill stiff and disconnected, I would recommend an efficient exercise that will help you to reconnect with your back and spine.

Please do not perform any of these movements if you have any unhealed injuries.
Be kind to yourself, be conscious!

1 Stand straight, relax towards the floor by "collapsing" the entire body towards the floor, standing straight, your spine's "intention" is to reach the ceiling.

2 Put your attention on first vertebra of the cervical vertebrae, in the  neck.

3 Starting from there roll your spine as you would roll a piece of paper (for example) or any soft flexible material which comes to your mind, imagine its color, consistence, maybe taste, anything that will make you feel inspired, rejuvenated, relaxed, good in all possible ways.
Roll slowly vertebra by vertebra forward so the head is moving towards the floor, release your neck, keep your image in mind, keep your attention in the spine all the time, don't forget the "intention" of the spine is upwards, which will protect you from collapsing of the spine down.

4 Slowly roll up keeping your mind on the image of your spine as before.

5 When you are standing up, sense the difference.

6 Repeat the exercise if you feel you need to, do it with a different image in mind this time.

Don't push your body, collaborate with it to achieve anything and above your limits, remember your body is a living and complex organism.

Good luck! and let me know here about your progress or any further questions.

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4 Arabesques explained (the Vaganiva system)

Arabesque 1

Arabesque 2

Arabesque 3

Arabesque 4

The pictures here show the Arabesque positions, but not the correct execution. Please note the line of the lower back is too arched as well as the hips are too tilted towards the horizontal position.
Try to avoid it!

One of the most important aspects here is to keep the connection shoulder-leg (the lifted leg and the opposite shoulder).

More about the correct execution of the arabesques in one of my next posts.

Good Luck with the Arabesques and let me know if you have any questions Here

How to develop turnout

About turn-out. Lesson 1

The most frequent question I am getting during my Ballet Technique classes for all levels is the question about turn-out, how to develop turnout in correct and healthy way.

I am appreciating the interest to correct execution of the movements from the students of all levels, which is not only evidence of their healthy attitude towards their bodies,  but also will bring them the most benefits from the exercises, regardless of their aim.

Here I am explaining some of principles which can help you to develop your individual turnout.

Please note, this information is not suitable for complete beginners.  Please do not perform any of these movements if you have an unhealed injury of your lower extremities. Be kind to yourself, be conscious!

The main idea is to develop turnout solely from the hips, to strengthen the necessary muscles and avoid unnecessary tension around the hip joint.

It's important to keep balance between relaxation and tension. During this lesson we going to work on achieving turnout without unnecessary tension and by that developing maximum possible turnout for your individual possibilities  (don't forget we all different and need to work from with our unit possibilities and give it a time). The key is to find and strengthen the "right" muscles.

We are going to exercise our turnout doing demi-plié in a wide 2nd position

1 Begin with standing in wide 2nd position, do not exaggerate the turnout of your feet rather close the position a little. Its very important to work solely on turnout from the hips.

2 Relax the Gluteus maximus muscles!

Try to keep the Gluteus muscles relaxed during the entire movement.
The Gluteus maximus, the largest of the Gluteal muscles, is already one of the strongest muscles in the human body.

3 Connect in your mind with the hip joints and your femur, or thigh bones.

4 It's also important to set-up for the movement BEFORE your are starting the movement.
Before you about to move imagine your thigh bones, rotating backwards, "sending" your knees away from each other to each side.

5 Keep thinking as in 3,4 and start the pile movement. Do it slow!

You have reached the demi-plié  lowest point. Don't forget the knees are in line with the feet!

6 Raising up from demi-plié :
Do not think " I am raising up".
Continue thinking the bones are rotating backwards and THE KNEES ARE SEPARATING FROM EACH OTHER TO THE SIDES, DESPITE THE MOVEMENT UPWARDS. This is very important for preventing the "collapse" of your turnout, which is very common among the students.

 Keep doing it!  Good luck! and let me know here about your progress or further questions.

In one of my next posts I am going to answer questions about the importance of the posture for turnout and how to work with the muscles around the hip joint.
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