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Balance, shod vs unshod


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In ballet class, when required to balance in demi-pointe on one foot, and without grasping the barre for extra stability, I find that I cannot hold the position for more than a few seconds. I begin to wobble, than I unconsciously lean or twist to one side or the other to compensate, but I still very quickly lose balance (I've stumbled but never fallen, fortunately).


I was discussing this a couple of months ago with my roommate, who is a yoga instructor. I asked her if she has any trouble maintaining the yoga postures that require balance on one leg; for instance, "Tree Pose." This is sort of like passe (aka battement retire), although the working foot is not arched, there is no semi-pointe involved, and the working foot stays in the hollow of the supporting knee. Anyway, my roommate demonstrated, and I followed along.


To my amazement, I could do with ease in the kitchen what seems so difficult in the studio. I experimented with Tree Pose on demi-pointe, and I could still hold the pose without difficulty. We were both barefoot at the time.


But I find that I cannot transfer my success from bare feet to while wearing ballet shoes. (Maybe that's a clue that I should switch to modern dance, where I can shed my ballet shoes.)


Does anyone else have this problem with balance, and what do you do about it?

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Hilarion, it is actually easier to balance barefoot than in ballet shoes! The toes spread out more and you feel a better grip on the floor. Also, the tree pose does not require quite the same amount of rotation and work on the shape of the working foot ;) What you do about it is continue to practice! It takes time, like everything else. Practice barefoot to find your center, and then put on your ballet shoes and work on it. If you are still relatively new to ballet, I would suggest using the barre to help establish the balance, as you also need to work on the position itself. Balance without good placement, rotation, and a good shape of the working leg and foot is kind of useless.

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I have this problem too. If i had the balance i had in ballet shoes that i have when i am bare feet i would be laughing. My teacher has also noticed the difference in my dancing when i am shoeless, it drives her round the bend. I have also noticed that when i balance in bare feet i actually pull up more and can really feel my muscles working when it should be the other way round.

I have promised myself that when term starts in two weeks i am going to try extra hard with my balance. I am also going to start modern again so i can free my feet, i could never give up classical.

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Guest venecha

You might want to try wider shoes. My capezios are split sole leather, womens wide. They allow my toes to spread out more, making almost like I'm not wearing any shoes. My old shoes restricted my feet too much, and until I gained more strength, made it nigh impossible for me to balance in releve more than about 20 seconds.

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You could also try to 'grip' more with a bit of rosin if it's allowed (but be careful, if you load your shoes with them, it's impossible to turn, and also, it may create too much friction and allow you to force your turnout :( )


What I also find myself, is that I always have better balance at home, in my kitchen, or on my own... I think it's a mixture of relaxation (no muscles wobbling from the hard exercise before) and outside noise (you notice how just a murmur puts you out of balance?... Or just the teacher encouraging you to stay there 'one more second' and it just puts you off... :mad: )


And I don't even speak about the times when I bet with my boyfriend who is going to stay the longest on one leg (I cheat, I don't do turnout with him, since he doesn't do ballet, and so, my balance is better... And when there's money or a good meal at stakes, I promise you I find my balance each time ;) ) dance.gif

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Earlier this evening, I had the first of what I hope will be an ongoing series of private lessons with the woman who instructs my Thursday night class. I brought up this and several other issues.


Kim showed me that I was not truly secure on the ###### of my feet when I am on demi-pointe and that I tend to throw my shoulders back. When I corrected my posture and my feet I found that the problems I have been having with balance decreased dramatically.


She also showed me how this relates to spotting and to turns - until tonight I had never before been able to complete so much as a single pirouette, or pique or chaine turn. Spotting has always proved an elusive art for me, but I learned to do it a new way tonight, sort of a variation on sous-sus. To do this it was absolutely critical that I be properly balanced and pulled up, and with these in hand (more or less) I was able to turn without wobbling or becoming dizzy. It will take a while before I can take this newborn grasp on spotting into travelling turns, though. Perhaps next week.

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Something that I found helped me tremendously was switching to footless tights and being barefoot in my shoes. Not for everyone, maybe, but it works for me. Might want to give it a try.

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