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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Balance, ankles, and class


Guest Jeujeucda

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Guest Jeujeucda

Hi everyone,

 

Can you suggest ways to improve balance? I used to have good balance until a car accident a few years ago (not my fault). My balance was knocked askew for over a year to the point where I trip over my own feet on the stairs all the time. Now it's fine again for regular life, but very noticeably I have a harder time staying up on my toes in ballet than everyone else. Do you have some suggestions?

 

Also, I spend almost all day usually in front of my computer at work, and often my ankles get swollen. Then I go straight to class and can feel them. What can I do to reduce the swelling? I get up once in a while to walk around, but the office offers very little to walk around to.

 

And last, my teacher suggested I also try the Adult Experienced class when I told her about wanting to progress one day to pointe. But I wonder if I should right now? I only started ballet this April and am in four classes already, one of which is Intermediate. I struggle along anyway because I don't mind looking less than graceful. I suspect the Experienced class is similar to this Intermediate, but maybe a tad more. Do you think there's any use to me trying out this class? I don't want to waste time if you think it's too much at this point.

 

Thanks!

Jeujeucda

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I find that if I keep on lifting my feet of the floor and pointing and flexing them during the work day, they are less tired in the evening. I do this very often, in fact... like twice or three times in an hour, point-and-flex about dozen times. I can comfortably do it under my table without anyone noticing. ;) It has become automatic, I don't really think about doing it anymore.

 

I think any activity that contracts and relaxes your calf muscles repeatedly should help with the swelling (your veins in your legs require the activation of those muscles to help with pumping blood back up towards your heart).

 

If your teacher suggested trying out that class, do. If you find it is too much, you are none the worse: just go back to your current classes, and you'll have a better idea of when to try again.

 

About the balance... well, I hope someone posts something that will help me too...:)

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Balance begins with A, B, C, which is Alignment, Balance Point, Control Zone. Add concentration and focus, but randomness in the shoulders, arms and head area, which must be free from excess tension. Sounds easy, right? ;) NOT!!!

 

First the bones must be properly aligned, then the weight placed properly over the supporting leg, and the arms and head in place for the position but without tension. The head should be free to move, but don't move it as a change in focus can throw the balance unless it is very stable to begin with.

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However, a further thought on the balance - did you have a neurological profile run after the accident? It's just possible that you have some residual middle/inner ear damage that may be compromising your balance. I'd have it checked by the ear/nose/throat doc.

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Guest Jeujeucda

Thanks for the ABC, Ms. Leigh. Yup, I've been concentrating intensely on all three, but I still seem to have an unreasonably hard time. Mr. Johnson, I did see a specialist after the accident who said at the time that my inner ear was a little out of alignment -- that's why I was tripping all over the stairs so much. But he'd said it would go away after a year or so, and I haven't tripped anymore for more than a year. Actually, I still do sometimes, as if suddenly my eyes, brain, and legs lose coordination. Perhaps I should go see the specialist again? Or do you have some suggestions for improving balance?

 

Thanks,

Jeujeucda

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Nope, Ms. Leigh and I agree like lambs about explaining balance!:) But, as you do have a history of trauma involving the inner ear, I'd take it to the doc at an early opportunity.

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My other half has had balance problems for years - he's had operations to open up his sinuses and still had problems. His surgeon recently decided to send him for cranial osteopathy, and the problem has now been traced to when he was playing football (soccer) and he went to head the ball and connected instead with the goalkeepers fist who was trying to punch the ball away!!

 

The osteopath has said that it pushed the cranial plates out of alignment and this has pushed on the ear and sinuses, so even though the sinuses are more open they are not draining properly.

 

Anyway - from the waffle there :) I was going to suggest you ask your surgeon/doctor about cranial osteopathy as a possible method of correcting the inner ear alignment.

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