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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ab and hip disconnection...


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Been having some balance instability problems as of late, I believed caused by my strong concerted effort to stretch my quads, hamstrings, iliopsoas, and ab muscles daily now that I'm back in class for the year. While on the plus side, my extensions have improved and become more easy to achieve, I've been noticing some lack of stability in my balances (mainly retire', but others as well). Essentially, it seems that while my upper and lower body is strong, I end up hinging over either in the lower waist to hip joint area. I can find my alignment when balancing at the barre, but when holding it it's like those joint muscles aren't activated enough or don't have the strength to maintain that "flexible steel rod" idea arond my center. As I said, this hasn't always been the case, hence my assumed causation of the recent stretching, so what would be some ways to re-strengthen this area? I'm thinking it's my iliopsoas primarily since they trancend above and below this problem hinge, so how would one go about lightly training such a deep and obscure muscle?

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I'll bet that your problem is not so much the iliopsoas as the lower surface abs, the ones below the navel. Make sure that you are pulling in and also up with this muscle group.

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While I am sure that Major Mel is absolutely correct (of course), I do have an iliopsoas strengthener that I use, should it be needed. It has been very useful - and also it is very simple. It is based on the logic that if the knee is bent, the only muscle that you can use to lift the knee up high towards the chest is the iliopsoas (I hope that this is correct).


So stand on one leg, and with the other leg bent, lift its knee as high as it can go using the deep muscles (the iliopsoas) - and resist the lift with a push to the knee - or (better) use ankle weights. After many repetitions you should feel a nice warm glow deep in the pelvis along the line of the iliopsoas (a sign you are using the correct muscle). Afterwards, stretch the muscle out with a deep lunge, keeping the hips and torso upright (or, for more effect, superimpose a backbend).


Since doing this, the power, stamina, and elevation of my grand battements have increased enormously.



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Well, I've back off on the intensity of the stretching for a day or two and done a few of those knee lifts through out my classes, and it seems to be helping. Now I just hope I don't lose flexibility...*grumble*, does anyone else have difficulty with finding that strength/stretchy balance, or is it just me?

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I think that everybody does, in one or more ways or another. How the difficulties manifest themselves is what keeps things interesting.

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