Dance Articles > Ankles and Balance

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by Larinda McRaven, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

  2. hereKittyKitty

    hereKittyKitty Administrator Staff Member

    Wow...Closing your eyes and trying to balance is a really weird feeling at first. Very interesting. I especially like the foot exercise in the beginning because I have weak arches.
     
  3. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    For a good exercise in balance and proprioreception, try taking a shower with your eyes closed.
     
  4. Thanks! Nice balance exercises to teach my students!
     
  5. Me

    Me New Member

    Hmm. Okay, this is a question for my coach. I don't know what he did to me, but I can dance with my eyes closed. In fact, it is a bad habit of mine if I'm trying to sense a lead - Eyes will shut and I won't realize it until the guy I am dancing with makes a remark.

    I know my coach must have done something, because I remember when I was dancing ballet I would feel disoriented and off balance when the stage went black. Could barely walk in the dark, much less dance in it.
     
  6. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Perhaps the presence of a partner provides a point of reference for balance? The real problem with eyes closed balance is that your eyes can detect extraneous movement a lot earlier than your inner ears can, so without your eyes you end up much more off balance before you try to apply corrections. But just one point of light contact to another person can provide useful feedback to aid your balance.

    Of course it could also be that you are just a lot more grounded and aware than you used to be.

    But with regard to AndaBien's comment, where the water from the shower is hitting your body can provide a useful reference for balance.
     
    CCdance likes this.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Standing balance is maintained through the integration of sensory information provided by the visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular systems.
    Occupational Medicine Vol 51 No 8 p 490

    The lack of visual information affects deleteriously the vestibular-labyrinth feedback system via feedback from the visual system. p 491

    http://occmed.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/51/8/490.pdf

    Wonder what that NEXT reference says.

    From a dance point of view, specifically Argentine Tango apilado close embrace, but in general, too, I keep hoping that women will "feel" that they are a bit "off balance", combine that with information that they get from listening to the music, and follow that to make their next step. ie this "feeling" is what is meant when someone says, "Follow your center".

    Months ago I added a closed eyes balance challenge to the "quad streches" I do after I run. If I move to an area of carpet that has been walked on less than the area I have been using, it makes a BIG difference.

    Are the benefits of this both learning to "Feel" your balance better, AND strengthening the muscles involved, do you think? (Maybe I should read the article again.)


    Don't know about anyone else, but all the action I feel is in my foot, although I'm pretty sure all of the muscles that control the toes, etc, are in the leg. Anyone know about this for sure? Hopefully I won't have to look at Grey's Anatomy.
     
  8. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I know my soon-to-be brother-in-law was in an accident years ago, and lost the ability to walk for a long time. He had to go through all kinds of physical therapy to relearn. He said one of the things he had to do was learn to stand on a balance ball/board thingy...and then once he could do that they moved to making him do it in total darkness.

    A coworker has recommended using a balance board, like what he uses for snow boarding, as a way to develop balance.
     
  10. Me

    Me New Member

    Good point! I had not considered this.

    I think this is definitely a part of it. One weakness I readily admit to in my ballet days was I was not grounded enough. I did not use my knees like I should have. For whatever reason, the way I was taught tango gave me a wake-up call for using my legs, which carried over into the ballroom.

    I keep forgetting to ask my coach what he did to me. :) I'll hopefully remember this weekend!
     
  11. emilyanderson

    emilyanderson New Member

    i'm no professional dancer.. but dancing is my hobby and i relax with dancing... but my problem is i tend to lose balance when i begin dancing.. of course i can keep control of everything after some time... is there any specific way of starting dance?
     
  12. The major movers of the toes originate in the leg region, but there are other smaller muscles originating in the foot that also support toe movement. Specifically, extensor digitorum brevis and extensor hallucis brevis (originates in the calcaneus), flexor digiti minimi brevis (base of the fifth metatarsal), flexor digitorum brevis (calcaneal tuberosity) and flexor hallucis brevis (cuboid).
     
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    More stuff to google!
    Thanks.
    I'm learning again about all of the muscles in the front of the lower legs after a seemingly "easy" hike with an elevation gain/loss of 1,000 feet on Saturday. Sore as the dickins today! "They" tell me it's the downhill part that gets those.
     
  14. CCdance

    CCdance Active Member

    I think so too, noticed at Milonga, a lot of ladies close their eyes, one time I was asked to do the same, it definitely felt weird at first, but then I became super focused on the embrace, the connection, the energy...good exercise for improving following skills especially at a social setting when you dont know the routine by heart, only done that for Argentine tango, so cant give opinions on ballroom/latin though... might explore that sometime....

    But totally gonna try this one out!
    “One of the take-home exercises we give people is to stand on one leg while brushing your teeth, and to close your eyes if it’s too easy,”
     

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