2 3 Balancing on One Leg | Ballet Webb

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Balancing on One Leg


When a dancer balances on one leg, the alignment of the body changes slightly depending on the particular position the dancer assumes.  But for this example, I’m going to use retiré, since it is so frequently used – especially for turns.

When attempting to balance in retiré my students frequently fail to place their body weight completely over their supporting leg.  When I ask them why, they usually say something about not “sitting in their hips”.  (Once again I discover that my best teaching intentions have backfired).  So I try to explain that centering their torso over their leg isn’t “sitting”, as long as their hips are level with the floor and they are still “lifting” or “pulling up” correctly. 

The phrase that has worked best for me is Secret # 1d :

Place (align) the belly button over the supporting foot.

Posing for the above photograph is my cat, Chessie.  She was born with radial nerve damage in her left leg, so the lower part of that leg is paralyzed.  She gets around fine, however, on three and a half legs!  She often sits as you see her in this picture, with her compromised foot placed across her supporting foot (although her supporting leg is usually more turned-out).  Notice that her normal leg is effectively balancing and supporting her, by being placed neatly in the center of her body.  I often show this photograph to my students to illustrate the concept of correct placement when balancing on one leg. 


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