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Ballet Talk for Dancers


Guest dancelover721

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Finding your center sounds simple, dancelover, but obviously it is not nearly as easy as it sounds. It is a matter of feeling your balance point and being in your control zone. It is the place where your alignment, weight placement, rotation, and even the arms all come together to help you feel totally centered and balanced but still very ready to move in any direction. Technically, it is your center of gravity. But practically speaking, it is easier to think of it as your balance point, and your balance point changes as you move.


If you are standing on two feet, lets say in fifth position, you align the bones of the body, you move the weight slightly forward so that more of it is in the forward part of the feet than in the back, although the heels are on the floor, and you use your back muscles to place your arms so that you feel totally balanced and ready for any exercise to begin. When you move from two feet to one foot, you adjust the weight of the body so that it becomes centered over one leg instead of two. One of the easiest exercises to find this is temps lié. Find your center standing on two feet in fifth, make a tendu devant changing your weight to the supporting leg, then move everything forward into a demi plié in fourth position and continue moving forward and up onto the front leg, with the back leg in tendu derrière. With that exercise, if you started well centered and moved your weight correctly, you changed from two legs to one, then to two in the forward movement, and then on to the other leg. The alignment should have remained constant, the arms move along with you wherever you go, and you have a new balance point in each position. But that balance point should happen smoothly and easily if you are taught to move the whole body and not just the legs.


If you have been taught alignment and where to place your weight as well as how to move it, then finding your "center" is not so difficult. The problems arise when one does not understand how to move, or especially if one is working with the weight of the torso too far back. Sometimes people who force their rotation too far, or turn out their feet beyond what their hips can handle, have a very hard time finding a center because they are out of their own control zone.

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