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Graceful dancing


ladybug88
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So I have started back up in ballet and I love it however I don't quite have that gracefulness that I need and once had. I tend to be ridged in my movements and tense. How do I relax more while dancing? I know I am starting back at beginner level but I would like to know how to move more graceful.

Another thing is my arms lol. I feel like when I dance they aren't even apart of my body. How am I suppose to move them to make them look nice?

Yes I know these are silly questions but I am new to ballet after not having done it in over 10 years and there is a lot I am having to catch up on.

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Try a Pilates class as well as the ballet as you probably need to rebuild your core strength to have freedom of movement in your limbs. Darcey Bussells Pilates for life book and dvd are quite a good start if you can't get to a class.

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There are hundreds of abs workouts which will tone the core. The main problem is that an abs workout is incredibly boring to do and completely useless for losing weight. I read recently that 50 crunchs burns a whole 3 calories. It doesn't matter much which workout you do, but you have to do the workout regularly to achieve results. This is difficult. Sometimes life events get in the way, and sometmes you just can't be bothered. It's all about commitment and self motivation.

 

Spare time exercise is an interesting idea. When you're watching TV, do a set of crunches in each ad break. Chuck your furniture out and stand up while you're watching TV. OK, so that's a bit drastic, but if you don't sit down, you will burn more calories. Even more if you move while standing. Do a little dance while watching the TV. Here's an interesting idea http://www.instructables.com/id/No-TV-unless-you-exercise/ One of the PE teachers where I work, uses a swiss ball rather than a chair in his office. Supposedly this is good for the core. Walk as much as you can. I go for a walk every lunch time, even it is heaving down with rain. In my case, it's any chance to get away from the computer.

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The most useful thing I ever read was that you can have the best abs in the world but if you have too much body fat, you won't be able to see them! This means that exercising your core will tone your muscles, but you may need to lose weight (=fat) to be able to admire them. (Speaking as a long-term muffin-topper, this explains why after 10 years of Pilates my abs are there but nobody knows except me)

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Also, during ballet class, breathe!

 

Think about breathing out on the effortful bit at the barre, and in the centre think about breathing to help with the flow of movements. Also think about the music -- try to combine the movement, your breathing and the phrasing of the music.

 

And I second/third Pilates to get core strength. Re losing weight: you can't "spot slim" -- so think about a general fitness regime. Pilates, some sort of strength training (I do a weekly 'Pump' class at my gym), and  aerobic exercise to build lung capacity & overall strength.

 

I stopped regular exercise for a few years -- stupid decision, but I felt my workload was just too much & I was just working & sleeping. Anyway to get back to where I was, I did an all-over fitness regime. At base, I started to teach myself to run. I did the NHS app Couch to 5k on the treadmill at my gym, with (loud) music in my iPod! I can now run (slowly - 7kph) for 30 to 40 minutes and enjoy it. That has helped my dance enormously. I run to dance, but I do enjoy the gym as well.

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A weighted hula hoop (a proper work out one) is amazing at improving your core strength. It's pretty hard to keep it up at first but you get better. My mum has one and when I'm home I just use it for 10 minutes standing watching TV.

Or the cheat option on that is pull your tights up so that the waist band isn't below your belly button as then it can accentuate the muffin top look. I always wear my tights pulled up now to try and hold my stomach in a bit!

In terms of feeling graceful when dancing, it sounds silly but I try to picture myself as a professional like I've seen in the videos. Channelling my inner ballerina seems to make me feel more dancy and flow better. 

 

Also most importantly, if you feel tense, remember to BREATHE when you dance (I'm terrible at this!) I tend to stop breathing when I'm concentrating and so I end up really tense. If you feel that way take a deep breath and try to feel your arms float as you breath out. Hope this helps!

Edited by munchkin16
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