8 Ways to Improve Your Balance and Stability for Dance
Reviewed by Elaine Winslow-Redmond, MS, ATC, EMT, Rockettes' Director of Athletic Training and Wellness
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced dancer, having good stability and balance enables you to move through your motions more quickly and fluidly. While it looks easy, your base of support constantly changes when you’re dancing—whether you’re standing en relevé or en arabesque penché.
From strengthening exercises to having a strong mental focus, here are eight ways to help improve your balance and stability:
Give yourself a solid base. If your base is wobbly, it’s more difficult to hold a long balance. Give your ankles some special attention by strengthening muscles that allow for the side-to-side movement of the foot (supination and pronation).
Strengthen your core. Of course the muscles in your foot, ankle and lower leg help maintain balance, but an engaged and strong core also plays a key role in finding your stability.
Practice without a mirror. If you practice and rehearse only with a mirror in a well-lit room, you’ll most likely find that balancing is more difficult when you take the stage.
Challenge yourself. If you’ve mastered the art of balancing, trying doing it with dim lighting, with your eyes closed or practicing on an uneven surface like a BOSU ball or tumbling mat.
Test your limits. Take risks when you’re improvising or not performing. Go further off-balance and keep control; maintain your pose just a little longer; suspend and reach a bit more.
Find a focus point. Directing your eyes toward a spot on the wall or a light at the back of the theater can help you keep your balance longer. Just be sure to keep your eyes off the floor—keep them lifted with an outward focus.
Ditch the barre. Once you’re capable of performing a movement well at the barre, try it in the center without that support. And remember, learning to balance is all about trial and error.
Tell yourself you can do it. Negative thoughts are only going to bring you down, literally. If your brain isn’t finding positive words to keep you stable, try picturing yourself perfectly balanced.