I’m an adult and just started taking ballet classes for the first time in my life, and I’m having trouble keeping my balance. I’ve never really paid attention to my balance in the past, but I always seem to fall over when the teacher has me hold relevé in any position. Do you have any tips or suggestions?
Balancing is one aspect of technique that improves over time with practice. Perfect balance is not something we are born with; toddlers have to practice many times before they can stand without holding on.
Here are some exercises to do outside of ballet class to help. First, simply lift up one foot and balance! Brushing your teeth, standing in line at the store or even in your room watching a movie are all good times to practice balancing. Remember to have good alignment and don’t slump. Everyone should always stand with good posture to develop healthy muscle patterns.
To make it harder, you can stand on a sofa cushion or your bed and toss a small ball between your hands for up to three minutes. When I was coaching gymnastics, I had my gymnasts balance for three minutes on the high balance beam while doing port de bras. The opportunities for practicing balance are endless.
It’s common to have a better balancing leg. Try to even that out by spending more time practicing on the more challenging side. Balancing is dynamic, not static, so don’t grip your muscles and try to hold still. Instead, think of lengthening upward as your feet are gently pressing against the floor.
To your success,
Director, The Body Series
Got a question for Deb? E-mail [email protected], and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.
To work with Deb Vogel in person, check out her summer workshop, A Dance Teacher’s Retreat to Tuscany!