As dancers, we love learning about different ways we can improve our dance technique outside of the studio. Pilates is a great method of improving strength, balance, and mobility. Going back to the beginning, it was actually created by Joesph Pilates to cater to the needs of some of the best ballet dancers in New York at the time. Pilates is good for us for many different reasons, keep reading to find out how it can help you!
1. Improves balance and stability
Pilates works through a range of hip rotation positions, not just the classic external rotation found in classical ballet classes. Therefore It allows you to train all the muscles around your hips and pelvis and work through a larger range, this in turn creates balance around the joint. As dancers, having good balance is essential to help stabilise you whilst carrying out things such as pirouettes and adage.
2. Improves your core strength
Having a strong core is so important in dance, Pilates teaches us how to use our core whilst breathing at the same time. Often when dancers are concentrating or working hard on a particular movement they forget to breathe. This can cause strain through the body and make the movement look stiff instead of fluid and natural. Knowing how to breathe whilst working on your core can help you use your breath while you are dancing. Improving your core can also help your balance and stability which is vital in dance.
3. Injury Rehabilitation and Prevention
Pilates is great for helping dancers rehabilitate after injuries, often physiotherapists prescribe Pilates to clients to avoid surgeries and to rebuild the strength of the affected area. It is also an excellent tool in the dancer’s toolbox to prevent injuries from happening. Beyond the increased strength, focused Pilates practice improves dancers’ body awareness, which helps them to be even more precise in their dancing. Practicing Pilates also builds an understanding of how the muscles work together.
4. Mobility and Flexibility
Many Pilates exercises have stretches embedded within them. This means you are warm whilst doing the exercises allowing you to stretch further with less pain and tension. In dance particularly ballet being flexible holds many benefits. With the correct strength to match, it can help you lift your leg higher in developes and grand battements. As well as hamstring flexibility there are many back extension exercises in Pilates that improve the strength and range in your back, this will massively help you with positions such as arabesques.
There are so many ways Pilates can benefit your ballet technique so why not give it a try!
The Move Dance team x