“For dancers of all ages who perform ballet, a strong center is extremely important for placement, turns, jumps, landing from jumps, and, of course, pointe work,” but core strength and body control are important in all styles of dance (Haas, Dance Anatomy). The ability to hold turns, poses, and even dancing with a partner comes from the control of your core muscles. “A weak core results in poor posture and increases the risk of falls, lower back pain and muscle injuries,” so how do we build this strength to prevent ourselves from injury (Greenwood, “Importance of Core Strength in Ballet”)?
Here are some exercises to increase your core strength to improve your technique and safety when executing complicated dance sequences:
- Bridge – lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold for three deep breaths. Return hips to floor and repeat.
- Segmental Rotation – lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keeping your shoulders on the floor. Let your knees fall slowly to the left. Go only as far as is comfortable. You should feel a stretch and not pain. Hold for three deep breaths, and return to start position. Repeat exercise to the right.
- Planks –
- Four Point Kneel – extend one arm, extend one leg, and extend opposite arm and leg.
- Elbow Plank – with feet shoulder width apart prop body up on elbows while maintaining a straight back and tight abdominals.
- High Plank – with feet shoulder width apart prop body up on flat hands underneath shoulders. Maintain a straight back and tight abdominals.
There are so many resources out there to help you improve your core strength, and when you take the time to start at your core you will find yourself achieving complex dance moves easier and without injury.
- Making core strengthening fun for kids: http://www.thenoatbook.com/2014/07/why-core-strength-is-important-for-your.html?spref=pi
- More great core strengthening exercises for kids: http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/child-development-core-strengthening-for-kids/
- Importance of developing a strong core: http://blog.acpe.edu.au/index.php/dance/dancers-strong-core/
- Importance of core strength: http://www.iadms.org/blogpost/1177934/211325/Core-Control–Not-just-abdominals
Greenwood, Beth. “Importance of Core Strength in Ballet.” Livestrong.com, 23 Apr. 2012, http://www.livestrong.com/article/556695-importance-of-core-strength-in-ballet/. Accessed 22 March 2017.
Haas, Jacqui Greene. Dance Anatomy. Human Kinetics, 2010.