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 Post subject: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2001 10:27 am 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada
I have no balance! I can not stand solidly on one foot and on point to I find it very hard. Is it weak ankles? or feet? what is it and how can I help it? Thanks a bunch


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2001 11:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
First let me welcome you to the board, Dancing Lauren...it's great to have you join us.<P>Before we can help you, we need to know a couple of things.....how long have you been dancing? And, have you had a medical checkup recently? <P>Balance is something that is both learned and inherent. Balance is controlled mainly through the middle ears. Infection or injury to that part of the body can surely impair balance. <P>Many other things can affect balance too, such as hormones. For women this means a monthy cyclic change in hormonal balance - which affects our physical balance to quite a degree.<P>Medications can affect balance. And, the general state of health. So, if you truly have impaired balance this is something to get checked out medically.<P>That being said, balance can also be improved by working on it. Have you spoken to your teacher about this? and what does she say? When you are standing on two feet are you correctly aligned? If you are not correctly aligned this will show up to a much greater degree on one foot, and affect your balance.<P>So there are many things to think of here and things to check out. I hesitate to give you any concrete exercises, and such, until I know that these underlying causes are not affecting your balance.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 26, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2001 8:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada
No I haven't been on any medication and nothing with my ears. I do have scoliosis ( a curve to the spine) and I just passed my ballet 7 RAD exam and my examiner said that my posture must be corrected? would this and the stregth have anything to do with this? How can I correct my posture??? Thanks alot.


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 1:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Netherlands
This is something I wrote in another topic about balance, maybe it is something for you:<P>Take a right-angled board, as big as your foot, maybe a bit larger, so that you can stand on it. Under it you have to put a, let’s say, sawed trough lengthwise, big tube. So, put the tube under the board, and balance on it, on one foot. With lots of practicing you’ll be able to do it, and it will improve your balance, too.<BR>This metod is used quite a lot by physiotherapists, to strengthen the ankle and feet muscles.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 1:49 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
That is a method that has been used for balance but I would suggest that it is only tried out under the guidance of someone like a physiotherapist.<P>I do not know a lot about scoliosis but I have just looked it up in a book "Anatomy and Kinesiology for ballet teachers" by Rachel Anne Rist. For you to know you have it I presume a physician has told you this? My book states that "Any marked degree of scoliosis must be examined and controlled by an orthopaedic surgeon". Obviously I do not know how marked your scoliosis is and therefore I would advise you to get it checked out with a medical professional who will be able to give you postural exercises probably similar to those you would use in ballet. My book also says that mild scoliosis can be caused by something as simple as carrying a heavy book bag - so please don't worry but do get it checked out by someone who knows.<P>Our policy on the board is not to give out advice about anything medical so people can give you general tips about balance but as you mention scoliosis I feel you are best getting it checked out with someone with more detailed medical knowledge that any of us have. They will probably be able to give you useful postural exercises that will help you with your balance. <P>HTH and well done on passing your Grade 7 - a great achievement in itself!<p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited May 27, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 4:34 am 
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Location: USA
<BR>Joanne is right concerning scoliosis. Do have it checked by your doctor so that he can give you some good information. <P>Many dancers have scoliosis in varying degrees. Wendy Whelan of the NYCB has it to a marked degree.<P>If you are able, it would be helpful to work with someone knowledgeable in the use of a wobble board, and in strengthening the legs and feet, and then, further on what your doctor would suggest. I have worked with clients that have scoliosis, and working on these kinds of strengthening exercises are useful. But first, see your doctor and see if he will suggest a person that can work with you.


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 9:42 am 
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Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada
It was actually a doctor who told me I had scoliosis, so I have been for many many X rays and they say the curve of the spine is not great enough to do any permenent damage. Sorry I know were not suposed to talk about medical things. But in answer to Basheva I have been dancing for 9 Years and I am 15. I am actually looking for ways to help me stay up on balance. I was reading about your stregth and flexibilty and I am very flexible, so I am not that strong. Could this be the problem? I am just looking for some exercises to help.


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 11:30 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
From the bit I read on scoliosis it said that it can affect balance and that doctors can prescribe some postural exercises that will help with that. I know you have been under a doctor and had tests like the x-rays, but it might be worth going back and mentioning this to him/her. Doctors are sometimes very good at diagnosing and sending you off for tests but sometimes they need a nudge to give any ideas for solutions.<P>If you have not looked at the following thread it may be worth having a look through it gives lots of good ideas on improving strength.<P><A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000291.html" TARGET=_blank> STRETCH AND STRENGTH </A>


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 11:41 am 
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Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
I have scoliosis myself, and it's not major, but personally I have found that Pilates has helped me to deal with it. Having scoliosis just means that you always have to be aware of the difference from left to right, it's almost like thinking of yourself as two people, the right side may feel different and work differently than the left. I have seen doctors about it, but they tend to give 'normal people' exercises which were are a good place to start, but ultimately, I found more advanced work in the Pilates studio. Make sure you ask your doctors, and any other practitioners, questions like "What do you know about Scoliosis?" "What results should I expect from this treatment?" and the <I>most important</I>, "Have you worked with dancers before, or do you know someone who does?" Finding professionals who know how dancers work is really important.


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 12:55 pm 
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Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
There are some rather passive and benign things you can do to work on your balance. And I am assuming that you have a teacher who has helped you with placement/alignment for the ballet.<P>Always spot your balances. This does not mean keep your eyes glued to some spot and never more your head - but it does mean keep an object in focus as you balance. You can move this "spot" as necessary.<P>For instance, if you are doing penché, as you lower your body, spot along a wall and keep moving your spot downward as your body lowers. Never be "unfocused"....always really see something. Then as you lift up out of the penché, move your focused spot upward as you go.<P>When you are balancing at the barre, try to use as few fingers on the barre as possible. Get yourself down to one finger. Then, generally speaking, if you can balance with one finger only - you can probably balance without touching the barre.<P>Make a habit of continuously lifting your hand from the barre as you work. Here is a thread we had on this that you might want to read:<P><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000247.html><B>THE BARRE - CRUTCH OR AID</B></A><P>Another thing you might try - first do it flat and then you can try it on demi - pointe. I was told that the prima ballerina Alexandra Danilova did this.<P>Stand in a small second position and lift one foot slightly off the ground - so that you are solidly on only one foot. Now switch to the other foot. Don't just rock back and forth - really stand a foot so that you feel solid on it for a few moments and then go to the other foot. Now do it on demi-pointe. Do it at the barre at first, with just a couple of fingers on the barre. And then try it in the center.<P>The trick is to spot it, be focused, and not simply rock back and forth - but to be stable upon one foot before you switch back to the other foot.<P>I have done this and, even though I have very good natural balance, I found this helped me. I also found it quite difficult.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 27, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada
Thanks alot for the wonderful advice, but do u think the stregth of my ankles/feet/abs/ect have anything to do with it? How can I stregthen them?


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 3:22 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Dancing Lauren....one thing surely helps another. Strong abdominal muscles will certainly help, as will strong feet, ankles, etc. But balance is also a "thing" of its own. Strength does not automatically increase balance. It helps though. <P>Watch a baby learn to walk. It certainly needs strength, to stand upright, to hold itself erect, and the baby makes lots of mistakes and falls over. Until it learns to balance and coordinate everything. So, yes, it is all connected.<P>But as I mentioned above there are several things that you can do to help it. So try them out and see what happens. Just don't get discouraged.<P>You have been dancing for nine years, and I assume with a good teacher, so I am sure your strength has increased. But also and very importantly, at your age your body is changing a great deal. It takes time for your brain and body to get to learn about one another again. You are becoming a new person. A lot of connections have to be remade between your body and brain to stabilize and control this new body.<P>It is not unusual for teenagers to be rather awkward because of these changes. We all went through it. Some people call teenagers gawky, or gangly, or awkward. It is to be expected. As a young woman you are also changing hormonally and will begin to notice monthly changes that affect every part of your body.<P>Here is a thread we have on that you might want to read:<P><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000190.html><B>HORMONES DANCE TOO</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 3:27 pm 
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Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Yes, Lauren, for balance, you want to work on your "core" strength. I think Marie suggested Pilates, which is excellent. Much of the Pilates work focuses on the "powerhouse' or core group of muscles---abs, inner and outer thighs, glutues and lower back. Although I am not a huge fan of workout videos (most of them are pretty hokey), there is one I've come across called "Core Essentials" by Karen Voight, which I like to do myself. The best part of it is the "abdominal" section. However, Pilates workout would be my first choice; with a qualified instructor. <BR>Question: you mentioned a doctor that you was helping you. Did he ever recommend you to a physical therapist? To work on back stretching/strengthening and core strength? Last but not least, your doctor has the ultimate word on this issue, of course. We offering merely perspectives from our dance point of view.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited May 27, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada
Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: BALANCE
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2001 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Those questions that Marie suggested asking a doctor are very good as it gets you straight to the information you need and I agree that you probably need to ask about working with medical professionals that know about dance to get the best results.<P>You are so right about spotting to help balance Basheva. Most people only think of it in context of turns, but I feel it is vital to help with balance also. Just make sure you never use someone in front of yourself's head - I have had students do this when they were just beginning to think about spotting and balance, and it works until the person in front of you wobbles - lol. They soon learnt that spotting only works with a fixed object. I did tell them that to begin with but obviuosly it got lost in all the other points that I had discussed with the class about balance.<P>You guys - I really must enrol in some pilates classes this summer.<P>Dancing Lauren - you seem to be very aware, both in relation to your body and your technique and very specific in your use of questions - which is great. It is one skill that will help you get the most out of dancing in both a recreational or professional career.<p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited May 28, 2001).]


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