Pilates for Dancing

Pilates for dancing requires strong, flexible feet, strong core, elegant carriage and good balance. Pilates helps with all four. The use of the feet is so important when you’re dancing. Footwork on the Reformer strengthens your feet and improves articulation. Dancers have flocked to Pilates practically since the day Joe and Clara opened their first New York studio, in the late 1920s. They shared an address with George Balanchine’s New York City Ballet, and Balanchine himself frequented “Joe’s” place. Ballerinas such as Allegra Kent and Suzanne Farrell studied there, as well as modern dance pioneers like Ted Shawn, of the famed Denishawn Company, and Hanya Holm. It made perfect sense: Dance and Pilates meet on common ground, where concentration, coordination, precision and flow combine to transform a 1-2-3 into a romantic waltz or an exercise method into a highly disciplined art form. Combining Pilates with dancing is a perfect recipe for mind- body awareness. Joseph Pilates always said:” You have to use your mind at least as much as your body when you practice.” As people gain greater mind-body awareness, they become more conscious of how they’re using-or not using-their breath and rhythm. If you hold your breath when you’re dancing, it not only affects the way the dancing looks – it usually means you’re not using the center of the body. That means you won’t have as much power, control of fluidity at your disposal. Pilates instructors know that effective breathing techniques better oxygenate the body and engage chest and abdominal muscles. “You get more movement and expression in your torso, which makes you look taller and fill more space as ballroom dancer.” With breath also comes flow, one of the principles of Pilates – Flow has to do with musicality, how we’re connecting the exercises, or steps, one to the next to the next. It does not mean practicing Pilates to music but rather using rhythm to let our bodies find detail within the exercise. ”

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