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Ballet Talk for Dancers


Jaana Heino

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Lately, my teacher has gone into thinking that I should be able to bring my leg higher in arabesques, and is somewhat pushing me to do it. One of the most prohibitive things there is that the muscles in my lower back are weakish (that, and the eternal things about alignment, and bringing weight forward enough) for that kind of work - I'm afraid I've been so concerned about proper alignment and stuff that I have not even worked those muscles to left the leg higher, and now they are way behind my other body.


So, here the question: are there any good excercises you know for strengthening those muscles, other than the arabesques themselves? I'm still rather hesitant about doing those outside of class, especially high ones where's so easy to lose the good position without noticing, but I'd like to work on the muscles.


Any other hints about arabesques are welcome, too.

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One of the things we always do as part of pre-barre is an arabesque exercise. First, get on your hands and knees, knees shoulder width apart. Next, keeping your body square, bring one leg in to your chest (bent), drop your head, and round your back. Then, take your leg out to a turned-out arabesque position, while bringing your head up, opening up your chest, and engaging your back muscles like you would in arabesque. We do this for three beats and then hold the arabesque position.

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