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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Holding Your Core?


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Hi Everyone,


Ever since I started dance, I've always been a "turner", turning has always come pretty easily for me. Of course, when I was little I just got excited to "spin" around in circles but now they're obviously much better placed ;). Anyway, I've been trying to analyze my turns for a while and watch other dancers turn to see what my problem is. I can be perfectly on balance for the first three turns (give or take) then I seem to "lurch" off to the side of my standing leg (like if I'm doing a right en dehor turn, standing on my left leg I'll fall to the left). Sometimes I'll turn out of control and "spin" out too fast.


I've worked on various things like holding my arms differently, making sure I'm not tucking my chin, getting into the desired position faster, etc., etc. But I wonder if I'm not holding my core tight enough? I feel like I am, but I'm not sure what exactly I should be feeling? Should it be like sucking in your stomach? When I went to physical therapy for a while for loose joints, she said to hold your core tight wasn't really sucking in, more of like pulling all the muscles inwards towards each other.


Does anyone have any idea what I could be doing, or can you explain what I should be feeling when I hold my core tight?

Thank you in advance,


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  • Administrators

We don't "suck in" anything! Your PT was right, hold the muscles, put them in use, do not suck in. When your core is held and you move your weight to the right place on top of your supporting leg, continue to spiral vertically upwards, AND continue to spot, you should have a good chance of multiple pirouettes. Since you seem to be well centered, according to your description, in the first two or three turns, then whatever that feels like is what it should feel like in any further turns, if you just maintain it and stay focused. Obviously, it takes a little more impetus to create a pirouette that can go more than two or three times. Therefore, you have to learn how to find the right amount of force and energy, from the initial impetus (downward thrust of energy into the supporting leg plié), and from the back muscles. Do not throw yourself into the turn or try to spin!

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I'm definitely not a turner, and I'm working on engaging my core too. I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to feel when engaging my core. Sometimes I feel a slight, er, burning sensation in my core when I'm working hard. Well, not really burning, but more like a working feeling. Is this correct?

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Working, yes, burning, no.

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Yes, it's not really a burn, but I'm at a loss for words to accurately describe it. I do feel it working, but I'm not sure how to describe what I feel in my core. Maybe "an effort to knit my core muscles together"?

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  • Administrators

I think you are over thinking it. Have you read the excellent topic, by Clara 76, on Alignment? It is in the Adult Ballet Students pinned topics at the top of that forum.

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