The Importance of Balance in Ballet

Balance is a key factor when doing ballet. All parts of an adagio combination require balance and much control. Holding a pose is not all there is to it, whether you are holding it for a few counts or moving from one pose to the next.

A simple pirouette is executing balance while you are turning. Not only your physical strength, alignment and pulling up are the only keys to a pirouette, but disciplining your mind, concentrating and focusing are a major part of balance. In order to do that triple pirouette, you would need to be able to at least balance on demi pointe, or pointe for that matter, with your foot at your knee, in that position, without turning for as long as it would take to rotate three times.

While practicing balance a the barre, you need to remember that the position we are balancing in is never motionless. Dancers are not motionless beings. Your choreography will show life and from a balanced position you will move in another direction, to another balanced position.

While practicing balance you need make adjustments if you are feeling that you may be leaning to one side or the other. You will need to adjust to put yourself back to your center without completely loosing the balance. Being able to focus your thoughts on staying lifted out of the hips, but yet keep that position within you, will take lots of discipline. It is important to concentrate only on yourself and not worry about the person in front of, next to or in back of you. Focusing your eyes is important, as if you were keeping a spot for turning. While directing adagio combinations in class, I am always calling out to focus and spot, to remind dancers to concentrate on what they are doing.

Some important points for good balance

1. Lift out of your supporting hip. And lift the muscles above the kneecaps and through your thighs and upward.

2. Keep the your back expanded and don’t let your shoulder blades squeeze together.

3. Think of lifting up and over, like your ribcage is resting on a shelf. Keep your alignment in place.

4. Keep your spot at eye level or a bit higher so your chin doesn’t drop.

5. Strengthen your abdominal muscles.

Remember that balance is an important aspect of ballet or any dance form. Be sure you constantly work on it in all of your classes. Don’t be sloppy.

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