Developing Good Balance


i was learning a very fast traveling step last night for my chacha routine, and suddenly i realized that this is what it must feel like to do those long, floor-crossing quickstep combinations... at 100 MPH. you're an unstoppable force at that speed.
But it does look oh so lovely. :p ;) I guess it's like downhill skiing. You can be travelling at highway speeds, but be in complete control, if you have enough practice at it.

*giggles @ the doublewide tanks sheathed in satin comment -- yet again*
That reminds me of a time i went to a practice party, i saw two couples colliding with each other..... they were both travelling pretty fast and boy, talk about a train wreck!


Well-Known Member
in recent explorations in balance, have been reflecting on the nature of my balance practice these days and how it involves being conscious of some new things that are really working for me, but which i haven't come across before in discussions of how to improve balance. usually these discussions seem to be mostly around core-work, and alignment, and that's what i mostly focused on til recently.

but now i've become so aware of *information* moving through the body, and lines of energy, and am much more sensitive to being grounded by extending my limbs down and out in a kind of whole-body feeling-awareness. it's a different paradigm, a change from "trying to find and hold balance" to "feeling sensation and extending in all directions to be present and filling space"... and somehow that just naturally brings me to a balanced state.

i'm much more sensitive to feeling the weight pulling on me through my bones -- i'm always focused on using the ground and gravity as the resting point for everything, and i'm repeatedly reminded of something a coach said in class a couple years ago, "your weight is not your own". it feels like a force that *wants* to help me be balanced.

and while before i used to feel aware of myself trying to activate my core in order to maintain stability & balance, now i feel myself finding my balance by *releasing* my muscles and lengthening my limbs in all directions, especially *during* movement, as much of my balance practice is quite dynamic. it's a very different experience -- the old way was a kind of "consolidating", "holding it together" feeling. this new way -- where i'm experiencing radically improved balance & grounding every day -- is more of an "expansion", *without* holding... a kind of finding the ease of feeling my extending through my limbs into balanced states, all extending not just from my core in my lower abdomen but really from my entire torso, including my heart area.

sometimes i feel like a stick figure in my awareness of this, all lines radiating from a central sphere.

just some of my rambling thoughts... am curious how other's may have explored such things in their own balance work. maybe other dancers just take these things for granted and i'm so sensitive to it right now because these are *new* sensations for me...


Well-Known Member
hey sam!

I have done much work in balance over my dance experience and I have found that for me alignment, oppositional forces in the body (both energetic and muscular), an appropriate and select muscular use of key areas of the body to counterbalance in a dynamic balance, and a sense of weight (or a lack of excess muscular tension) and stillness - are the keys for me.

Sounds like you are in a great exploration phase right now! Some of this work comes easier to some than others. For me it's been a longer haul, I think it is worse for those who have a tendency toward tension in the body.
Not to say that I don't have balance problems in latin, but I found that there were more exercises that would focus more on balance in ballet-- spending a lot of time on one foot on demi pointe/releve with the other foot either extended or in low or high pirouette position. I'm going to address mainly latin bc I find that I need to work on balance for things like spins/turns whereas I find ballroom to be less problematic.

Sam's descriptions of the hold your breath, tighten everything and constrict to balance versus extension/growing/relaxing but not too much relaxing-- I think most ppl start out with the first one, but if you spend more time in one position you'll find you need to breathe and as you get more comfortable holding some position I think you might start to relax into the second one.

For balance, I find it difficult to match up things like the use of body action in a single vs double spiral (in a single I can feel like I'm using my back and sides whereas I have a hard time doing that and the extra spin in a double- when I'm spinning I automatically revert to neutral) or single/double turns in three threes- I think I'm missing some technical knowledge on how to break down the step to better practice them.

Random balance exercise-- just stand on the balls of your feet while doing stuff like talking on the phone, if that's too easy then stand on demi-pointe on one foot (don't forget to do your other foot as well)-- it gets easier over time and I think that having the distraction of the phone makes your body do more automatic adjustment on its own-- sam's idea of your weight wants to be balanced.


Active Member
Thank you for posting this article, incredible info, definitely gonna chew on it....back in the day, my coach wasn't happy with my turns at all, at one point, he even compared me to his another students who's 65 years old and does incredible spins ugh I was totally crushed :( .....nowadays my turns are still no where near his level, but not as bad as it used to be anymore, I reminded him of that comment, he went' oh really? I said that?' lol

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