How to improve balance in arabesque
Balance can be tricky, especially in arabesque en l’air, so I thought I’d share some of my tips for maintaining your turnout, creating a beautiful line, and balancing in arabesque.
15 tips to create a beautiful balance in arabesque
1. Focus on engaging your turnout muscles in both the supporting and gesture leg.
2. Engage your hamstrings, feeling as if the backs of your legs would touch if the legs were at the same height.
3. Engage your abdominals (either imagine drawing up a zip from your pelvis to sternum, or pinning your belly button to your spine).
4. Press your shoulders down (this helps engage your latissimus dorsi – the large, flat, wing-like muscles that in your back.
5. Keep your weight primarily over the ball of the supporting leg foot.
Stretch and lift
6. Lift out of the waist and out through the top of the head.
7. Feel as if you are being pulled in several directions so you feel suspended and supported – down through the supporting foot, up through the crown of the head, out through the finger tips of each arm, and out through the toes of the gesture leg).
8. Feel a stretch at the back of both knees (this helps keep the leg straight without over working the quadriceps).
Line and alignment
9. Make sure your supporting leg is turned out before you start (it feels harder to balance with a turned out leg than a parallel leg, because in parallel your foot helps prevent your falling forward, but you need to be able to do it in turnout).
10. Focus on creating a smooth, curved line from the toes of the gesture leg, through the spine and neck, so there are no sharp angles.
11. Allow the pelvis to tilt forward, but keep your chest lifted (don’t lean forward).
12. Make sure your hips remain level, forming a horizontal line between the two hip bones and that both hips are facing forward (you might be tempted to open one hip to the side)/
13. Ensure the gesture leg is directly behind you (often it wants to wander out on a diagonal).
14. Yes you need to engage several muscle groups, but don’t hold unnecessary tension, especially in the fingers, jaw, and neck.
15. Remember to breathe.
It’s a lot to think about, and you might not be able to do it all at once. But my advice is to focus on at least one, maybe two or three of these things at a time. The more you do this, the less concentration will be required to do them, and you’ll be able to focus on a few more technique tips so you can achieve incredibly stable balance in arabesque.
Let me know how you go. Were any of these tips especially helpful for you?
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