Ahhh… There’s nothing more discouraging than a dance class where you simply *can’t* find your supporting leg.
You prep. You wobble. You fall out of it.
There are many factors that go into perfecting your pirouette, and while practice does make perfect, perpetuating poor form may leave you at risk for injury. A solid technical foundation has a strong anatomic base. Think of your body as a machine; when one piece is out of place, it affects the whole. As dancers, our bodies are subject to a lot of stress. In order to keep the machine well-oiled, we have to take care of it. That means going back to basics to realign those somatic discrepancies.
While there are a number of factors that could be the cause of a pirouette gone awry, in this post we’re focusing on one thing:
positioning your pelvis.
If your pelvic placement is out of whack, it may set you up for failure. Put your hands on your hips and think of your pelvis like a large bucket. If you tilt your hips forward, water will spill out the front. If you tilt your hips back, water will spill out the back. Because dancers tend to have tight hip flexors (the muscles on the front of the hip that raise your leg), it is common for this “bucket” to tip forward into something called an anterior pelvic tilt. This will pull you right off your leg as your torso falls forward and hips fall back. To find your perfect pirouette position, you need to establish a happy medium known as a neutral pelvis.
Realign your body to overcome weakness and turning defects resulting from an anterior pelvic tilt…Try these 3 tips that will help you maintain a neutral pelvis!
- Include hip flexor stretches in your pre-class warmup. Try a half-kneeling hip flexor stretch to relieve tightness and the feeling of being “pulled off your leg.”
- Focus on strengthening your core and hamstrings. Tight hip flexors and back extensors usually mean the abdominals and hamstrings are weak and lengthened. It’s important to balance out the body to keep it in alignment for pure technical success.
- Foam roll after class. This is key to a keeping your body healthy and injury-free. Daily foam rolling will keep muscle tightness at bay and help you recover faster from the demands of being a dancer.