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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Belt around the waist


Dick

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Hi,

 

Has anyone of you ever heard of or seen this practice of tightening a belt (regular 1 1/2" belt) low around the waist in order to help free the hips from the waist and prevent "sitting" in the hips?

 

Dick

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No, but it sounds like it looks like hell. Sort of a variant on the "hip-alignment" waistbands worn around the hips by the women. It does nothing, makes the legs look short, and is just generally ugly.

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Hmmm that does sound terrible. Just imagining the lines....ugh. Do you recommend men ever do work with hip allignment belts?

i've been considering it lately.

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Never for class; they are somewhat useful to an orthopedist who makes high-contrast photographs for the purpose of range/flexibility/motion study and documentation.

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Tank you guys. I guess I'll have to look for another solution to my problem. This one about wearing the belt comes from my teacher who suggested it to me at two or three occasions. She is a former "prima" from the Bratislava ballet and she says that this business of wearing a "waist support" belt was common amongst the men there and then. I really didn't rejoice at the idea of wearing such a belt during class but I would have if it had prooven usefull.

 

Which brings me back to my problem. I don't know if this problem is related to or is specific to my age but my abdomen or waist has this anoying tendency to "drop down" on my hips every now and then. My teacher often has to remind me to "pull up", particularly when performing multi-turns pirouettes or landing jumps. I can pull up OK, but the moment my mind focuses on something eles - like landing my jump properly - , here I am again "sitting" in my hips.

 

Any suggestion on what I could use or do to help solve this problem?

 

Dick

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thats something for every dancer really. i know ive received that correction plenty and heard it given to many many others. the only thing i would suggest is just to try to think about it while youre dancing. another thing that might help is practicing when youre walking in every day life. "how you walk is how you dance"

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I will give an alternate opinion here.

 

There seem to be two technical issues here:

1) Wearing a belt to better visualize alignment of the hips

2) Wearing a belt to better understand the process of pulling up to the vertical.

 

There are differences in the belt you would wear for each purpose. For (1), you just need any visual line that goes across the top of your hips. I would often wear a white leotard under black tights, that did the trick very well, no belt per se required.

 

For (2): a man's figure is approximately straight, but only approximately. Whereas the hips are fixed (made of bone), the waist can change in size, depending on how you hold your muscles. The process of "pulling in" to the vertical (which is the opposite of sitting on hips and lower back) involves holding your muscles and bones in a way that makes your waist as small as possible (for your body). It's not so much an aesthetic as a functional issue: when your body is held that way, your limbs are the most free to move through their full range of motion and you are best able to balance on one leg; ballet "just works" then.

 

At times, I have found a belt around the waist (the smallest part of the waist, not low around the hips) to be useful for (2). It's not so much a visual thing, as a belt that's tight enough to remind me tactally how to hold my body. Usually, the belt feels very tight at the beginning of class (because I'm not holding my body very well), but just fine by the end of barre (as I've worked through the exercises). It has really made a difference. For me, the belt has been an effective training aid. But only a training aid; it's ultimately YOU who must hold up your body, not a constricting piece of clothing.

 

And what did I use for this belt? I've found that a simple fabric hair wrap works great. Of course, the wrap is not adjustable in size, so your mileage may vary depending on your body and the fabrid the wrap is made of. I can barely get the wrap I use over my hips, but then it's just the right size on my waist for (2).

 

One problem I've found for men pulling up out of the hips is that if you do so successfully, your tights will fall down from the top. So instinctively, we don't; as the tights begin to loosen, we change the way we're holding our body to prevent further "wardrobe malfunction." We tend not to hold ourselves up in everyday life for the same reason: our pants would fall off then, too. This is a distinctly male problem in ballet: we don't have the hips to keep things up independently of our waist. The solution to this problem is to keep your tights up from your shoulders: either wear suspenders or footless tights or shorts or (in theory at least) a leotard over tights. Finding the right pair of tights can help somewhat, too.

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Citibob,

 

Could you please further describe the type of belt you are using (fabric hair wrap?) I can't visualize this.

 

Dick

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It's a simple item, but believe it or not, there are no good pics online. Just go to the hair accessories aisle in your local drugstore and look for hair bands. Look for the simplest kind --- a continuous loop of elasticized fabric, about 2" wide. They come, like, three to a pack or something.

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Hi CitiBob,

 

Forgive my ignorance here, but I am not sure I understood the whole thread. (it got a bit technical at times!) :D

 

I have a problem with my tights sliding or "rolling" down at times, and I have had difficulty finding a "belt" to help this. I have seen pictures of male dancers on-line wearing some type of belt that looks like they have "rolled" their tights over, but I have not been able to find anything like this at local dance shops.

 

Is that the type of belt you are talking about in this thread, and if so, will the item you described from the local drug store meet this need?

 

If not, can you (or anyone else) offer a suggestion on where to get such a "belt" or how to make one?

 

On a related note, I have a couple pair of footed tights that are wearing through in the feet. Is it possible to cut these off, say at the ankles, and make them footless? Not sure if that will ruin them or not. :shrug:

 

Thanks everyone.

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As the old Army garrison belt has pretty much passed from the scene as anything but a rather pricey collectable, an ordinary web belt with a clamping buckle should do it. My old Air Force belt used to be perfect if I had forgotten my customary leather belt.

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Any old piece of 1" or 1.5" elastic can be used to hold your tights up. If you're in a hurry, just tie it in a knot, but it will be more comfortable if you sew it together.

 

I recently bought some new tights at San Francisco Dancewear (in the city by the same name) and they handed out a piece of this elastic with every pair purchased.

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A belt to hold up tights is different from what I described; Major Mel and BarreTalk indicated two ways to accomplish that goal. We've used the 1.5" elastic for performances. Actually, I've seen guys even use an ordinary leather belt and roll tights over it; anything that won't slide down over your hips will work.

 

Yes, you can cut off the feet of your tights. I recommend you cut them off at the heels; the part that used to be at you feet will rull up to your ankles or even higher, without anything tugging them downward. You can always cut off more if you think it's too long. I also recommend flame-sealing the resulting fabric edges, although this should only be done by an adult in a responsible manner.

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