Key Principles of Holistic Ballet 

 

 

1) working with gravity 

1.1.by pushing down through the bones, the leg and core muscles engage, they lift naturally, it creates equilibrium

1.2 being grounded makes moving safer, allows for faster movements, and improves strength for jumping/ leaps 

 

2) weight placement: keeping weight on the heels in 1st and 5th position*

2.1. prevents overworking quadriceps (outer thigh muscles) and underworking adductors (inner thigh muscles)

2.2. prevents shin splints and pressure in the knee

* working at the barre. weight placement of centre and pointe work is different.

 

3) using the barre as a substantial support 

3.1. paradoxically this makes the legs work harder as one cannot “sit” on the standing leg

3.2. helps to keep the weight on heels, which engages adductors, hamstrings and pelvic floor muscles

 

4) keeping the head straight at barre

4.1. neck and head are continuous with the spine, few people have the flexibility to turn and tilt the head/neck without also misaligning the upper body and pelvis, the importance of the barre work is to establish correct alignment.

 

5) visualisation of anatomy

5.1. using correct muscles and gaining an understanding of how the body works greatly reduces the risk of injury

5.2. understanding which muscles to engage and which to relax is vital for maximum progress

 

6) turn-out is a spiralling movement

6.1. allows for functional turn-out that can be maintained in the centre work because it increases the strength of lateral rotators (turn-out muscles around the pelvis)

6.2. forced (from feet) or tightly held turn out causes injury especially in ankles, knees, and hips 

 

7) balance and stability are achieved by the “internal cross” and micro-movements

7.1. stretching out in opposing directions is key to keeping balance and helps to respond to and counteracts losing balance, e.g. spine moves vertically or up- and downwards, collarbones move horizontally or sideways.

 

8) contraction and expansion

8.1. contracting inwards (drawing in the core muscles) whilst expanding the peripheral body (limbs, collar bones, neck, ears etc.) creates stability without rigidity and fluid movements without floppiness

 

9) simplicity and precision

9.1. complex ballet movements are made up of many simpler parts, learning and understanding these correctly improves confidence and technical ability, allows for more fun in class, and lowers risk of injury

9.2. simple does not mean easy, it prevents cheating as one cannot hide behind fancy movements

 

10) nurture, honesty, and inspiration

10.1. we believe positive encouragement together with clarity of instructions and being straight brings out the best in the student. we advocate an attitude of enquiry of how the individual can progress to his/her best ability rather than taking the cookie cutter approach of one-fits-all

 

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