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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Straddle Press to Handstand?


TemptressToo

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Just curious if anyone does any variations of handstand to assist in development, strength and alignment in ballet? I spend a good deal of time in handstand and straddle handstand with small raising and lowering of the legs (with good toepoint). I find it strengthens my arms and back and abs.

 

Anyone else do this?

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No, but I'm totally jealous of people who can go upside-down. There's a variation of scorpion that was included in my floor barre class that I was never able to do...even after a year. It took most people only 6 months!

 

Contemporary dancers seem to do lots of handstands and I wonder if I'm going to have to do this some day. It frustrates me to no end that I can't discipline myself to get over the fear of this. It almost makes me feel panic-y no matter how much I tell myself it's no big deal. There was even some pilates stuff on the cadillac that made me panic. The instructor said she's never seen anyone get upset the way I did.

 

Makes me feel completely disembodied. As a kid, I couldn't dive into water or do a cartwheel. I'm fairly coordinated, so I don't understand why being upside down bothers me so much. Strangely, I enjoy rollercoasters and scary rides. And partenering never scared me. I always thought fish dives and stuff were fun:shrug:

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I know that guys sometimes do handstand pushups (usually against a wall).

 

Also, I've seen gymnasts do multiple reps of a press from straddle right-side up (ie, like sitting on the floor in straddle but with the body pressed up off the floor and supported entirely by the hands) to a handstand, then back down to straddle, then back up. I am in awe of them.

 

I don't do any of this stuff for conditioning, but I can (still) do a cartwheel.

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Lampwick, try them against a wall. That way, you can stabilize yourself without fear of falling over. Gymnasts are taught against a wall. After some practice, you will be able to find your balance and use the wall less and less.

 

I usually do everything against a wall. Especially incorporating handstands into planche into straddle and then back up to handstand.

 

At best, I really feel it working my back and abs. You have to lock them down to support the straddle and planche positions.

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The yoga instructors I've been taking class from are very emphatic that fear of inversion poses is natural, and are happy to give variations that are baby steps on the road to the real thing.

 

First you practice balancing in an L shape with your hands on the ground and your feet against the wall. What you really need to practice is not sitting in the shoulders but pulling up through your core instead.

 

After that you kick up into a handstand facing away from the wall and rest your feet on the wall till you're ready to take them away. I'm still afraid of that step, but since I'd done the L a lot I knew I should try it. The last time I went to yoga my teacher spotted me into it. It was okay; I was a little uncomfortable since I don't have the strength to hold it for very long.

 

If it were up to me I wouldn't want to work on these poses very much, but I figure I should give a good faith effort to what is introduced in class. I don't always understand what the benefit will be, but you never know until you try. It does seem conquering the fear is as much a part of it as alignment at the beginning. As you advance, you are expected to stay in those poses for minutes rather than seconds. :thumbsup:

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Are you doing handstand or headstand though? In my yoga class, they did headstand and I was never comfortable with it. Handstand is a different story though. :wink:

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I was referring to handstands there. I can actually do a headstand. To me they feel much more secure, although it's easier for me to keep my balance if I bring my legs out into the splits. Then I can rotate them from front to side splits and back. This is definitely my party trick—and yes, common sense to the contrary, I have performed this stunt drunk. :wink:

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When I first started ballet I’d do a couple of handstands and press ups to handstands as a warm-up before class. It was an OK warm up at the time because I didn’t know much. A better warm-up I think is just stretching mixed with the usual ballet exercises one does in class.

 

Personally, I believe doing handstands (or any of the inverted yoga poses) does nothing for alignment or the development of any ballet skill. Still it’s a nice physical skill to have and fun to do I think.

 

Haven't done them for years, however.

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and yes, common sense to the contrary, I have performed this stunt drunk. :thumbsup:

 

Wow!!! I'm absurdly impressed - my party trick is just doing the boring old splits! Although I do have a variation wherre I just get someone to lift my leg up as far as they can lift it - and somehow one is looser when one's drunk. :blushing: But upside down .... :wink:

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Actually, the straddle press handstand can be done in different ways, and it is a great conditioning tool. Assuming it starts from a straddle sit on floor, it works the shoulders, quads, stomach, etc. DOing it against a wall is a great way to learn, but it doesn't create the same benefit because the wall is assuming some of the support that would otherwise be handled by the body. I can't answer as to whether or not it will help your ballet - I just know it gets multiple muscles and is a good crowd "wow-er"!

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The yoga instructors I've been taking class from are very emphatic that fear of inversion poses is natural, and are happy to give variations that are baby steps on the road to the real thing.

 

First you practice balancing in an L shape with your hands on the ground and your feet against the wall. What you really need to practice is not sitting in the shoulders but pulling up through your core instead.

 

 

 

 

Ack! I have no problem kicking up to the handstand in yoga class and touching my feet to the wall, but when we do the 'L' I freak out. I've got it now thanks to a great instructor, but I found this much more frightening than the spotted handstand! :D

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I'm not sure that handstands have nothing much to do with ballet, but one of my danceschools offers acrobatics (as in circus acrobatics) classes for beginner adults, and I've been taking the beginner class now for a couple of weeks and it's great.

 

I can't do a handstand (yet?), though. We are practicing it assisted, but I am not quite strong enough to be comfortable with the excercise yet (it's getting better, though). I have learnt to do a headstand, and my cartwheels are getting better.

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