Elevate Your Arabesque: A Pilates Workout for Dancers | Move Dancewear

Elevate Your Arabesque: A Pilates Workout for Dancers | Move Dancewear

By Move Dance on 19th Jun 2024

Pilates Workout To Improve Your Arabesque

Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or just beginning your ballet journey, achieving a beautiful arabesque requires a combination of strength, flexibility, and control. Pilates, with its focus on core strength, alignment, and fluid movement, is an excellent complement to ballet training. Here’s a Pilates workout designed to improve your arabesque, helping you reach new heights with grace and stability.

Understanding the Arabesque

An arabesque in ballet is a pose in which the dancer stands on one leg with the other leg extended straight behind the body. This elegant position demands a harmonious blend of balance, core stability, and leg strength, along with flexibility in the back and hips.

Why Pilates?

Pilates targets the deep stabilising muscles that support proper alignment and movement efficiency. By strengthening the core, improving flexibility, and enhancing body awareness, Pilates helps dancers achieve the extension, lift, and balance needed for a stunning arabesque.

The Pilates Workout

Warm-Up: Breathing and Core Activation

  1. Pelvic Curl
    • Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart.
    • Inhale to prepare, then exhale as you slowly peel your spine off the mat, starting from the tailbone and rolling up to a bridge position.
    • Inhale at the top, then exhale to roll back down, articulating each vertebra.
    • Repeat 6-8 times.
  2. Spine Twist Supine
    • Lie on your back with arms out to the sides, knees bent and together, feet flat on the floor.
    • Inhale to prepare, then exhale as you lower your knees to one side, keeping shoulders grounded.
    • Inhale to return to centre, then exhale to the other side.
    • Repeat 4-6 times each side.

Core Strengthening: Stability and Control

  1. Single Leg Stretch
    • Lie on your back, knees bent into your chest, hands on your shins.
    • Exhale to lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat, extending one leg out at a 45-degree angle.
    • Switch legs, pulling one knee in as the other extends.
    • Repeat 10-12 times per leg.
  2. Double Leg Stretch
    • From the Single Leg Stretch position, inhale to extend both arms and legs away from the centre.
    • Exhale to circle the arms around and hug the knees back into the chest.
    • Repeat 8-10 times.

Leg and Hip Strengthening: Lift and Extension

  1. Leg Circles
    • Lie on your back with one leg extended toward the ceiling, the other leg bent with the foot flat on the floor.
    • Inhale to prepare, then exhale as you circle the extended leg out and down, around and back up.
    • Make small controlled circles, 5-6 in each direction.
    • Switch legs and repeat.
  2. Side Kick Series
    • Lie on your side, bottom arm extended for support, top hand in front of your chest.
    • Lift the top leg to hip height and kick it forward with control, then extend it back.
    • Keep the torso stable and the movements smooth.
    • Repeat 8-10 times, then switch sides.

Back and Hip Flexibility: Length and Extension

7. Prone press

  • Lie on your stomach with hands under your shoulders, elbows close to your sides.
  • Inhale to lift your head and chest, extending the spine without crunching the lower back.
  • Exhale to lower back down with control.
  • Repeat 6-8 times.
  1. Swimming
    • Lie on your stomach with arms extended overhead, legs straight.
    • Lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously, then switch to the left arm and right leg.
    • Alternate quickly in a swimming motion, keeping the core engaged.
    • Continue for 20-30 seconds.

The dart

Cool Down: Stretch and Relax

  1. Child’s Pose
    • Sit back on your heels, extend your arms forward, and lower your forehead to the mat.
    • Breathe deeply and relax, stretching the back and shoulders.
    • Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  2. Figure Four Stretch
    • Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
    • Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, then gently pull the uncrossed leg toward your chest.
    • Hold for 30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your hip and glute.
    • Switch sides and repeat.

Tips for Success

  • Focus on Alignment: Keep your movements precise and controlled, ensuring proper alignment to maximise the benefits and prevent injury.
  • Engage Your Core: Maintain core engagement throughout each exercise to support your spine and improve stability.
  • Breathe Deeply: Use your breath to enhance movement efficiency and relaxation.
  • Consistency is Key: Incorporate this Pilates workout into your routine 2-3 times a week for the best results.

By integrating these Pilates exercises into your training, you’ll develop the strength, flexibility, and control needed to elevate your arabesque. Remember, progress takes time, so be patient and enjoy the journey to a more beautiful and effortless arabesque.

For more workouts check out our Turnout Exercises for Ballet Dancers and Middle Splits Stretches For Dancers blogs! 

The Move Dance Team xx