How to Improve Balance for Dance Turns

The pirouette requires superb balance.

The pirouette requires superb balance.

When you were little, you might have enjoyed spinning around in circles, dropping down to the floor, looking up at the ceiling and watching the room turn round and round! Don't try this on the dance floor. Dizzy dancing is strongly discouraged. Professional dancers know how to avoid dizziness at all costs. As they intrigue audiences with mesmerizing turns, their bodies maintain impeccable postural alignment and balance. Their core muscles never sleep, and the muscles supporting their feet, ankles and calves are strong and pliable.

Plank Variations

Form a triangle with your elbows and forearms and place them on the the floor. Face downward and extend your legs, so that you balance on your toes.

Draw your belly button toward your spine to contract your deep core muscles. Inhale and shift your weight backward, as if you were trying to get your heels on the floor. Maintain a straight line from head to tail.

Exhale and shift your weight forward toward your toes, as if you were about to go up on pointe. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions, then rest for 30 seconds.

Straighten your arms into a pushup position. Draw your belly in as you lift your right leg and left arm. Return to the starting position, the switch sides. This sequence strengthens your core and ankles while enhancing posture and balance.

One Legged Balance

Stand upright and lift your right leg from the floor. Your right knee and turn your leg out, as if you were about to do a pirouette.

Maintain the position with your abs pulled in. Turn your head to the right, then to the left. Perform eight head turns, the switch side.

Repeat the same movements with your eyes closed. Once you master the eyes closed version, try the same sequence while standing on a balance disc.

Spotting

Stand in front of a mirror and focus on both eyes.

Turn your body for a quarter rotation to your right, so that your left side faces the mirror. Continue to look over your left shoulder into the mirror. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform eight repetitions or four to each side.

Turn your body left. Maintain eye contact so that you look over your right shoulder.

Perform a half turn rotation to the left, and quickly turn your head from the right shoulder to the left. Finish with a one quarter turn to the left, and repeat in the opposite direct. Repeat the entire sequence three times.

Rotator Discs

Stand with your right foot on the rotator disc and the toes of your left foot on the floor.

Wrap your arms around the stability ball and hold it at chest level. This keeps you from using your arms for momentum.

Push off with your left foot and create enough momentum to spin the disc to the right. Quickly place your left foot back on the disc. Continue until it comes to a full stop.

Items you will need

  • Balance disc
  • Stability ball
  • Rotating disc

Tips

  • Imagine your body as an energy cylinder, whose walls keep you in balance.
  • Supplemental exercise programs like Pilates enhance your alignment, which in turn helps with balance.

Warnings

  • Repetitions listed are only guidelines. If you get dizzy, or if you are working in poor form, do fewer reps.
  • Master the easier versions of each exercise before progressing.
 

About the Author

In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images