Dancer Technique Series : Pilates and the Deep Six

It sounds like a Tarantino film, but actually it’s an altogether more peculiar experience: you use specialist Pilates equipment to turn out right, and turn out like you never have before. Get yourself down to an equipped studio and get the instructor to show you these…

Functional footprints. Imagine trying to do your barre standing on an ice rink wearing ice-soled shoes. These slippy little contraptions give you that feeling. Not all studios will have a pair, but worry not: you can achieve the same effect and much more with rotating discs.

The rotating disc. Crudely speaking, two wooden discs on top of each other, with ball bearings in between to make the top disc slidey as – well, just standing requires concentration. And because there is no traction from the floor, when you use these to stand turned out, you absolutely have to use the right muscles.

Your Pilates instructor will start you off simply, maybe with two discs and a foot on each, getting you to rotate your legs into first position. Alternatively, you can stand on one leg and hold on to something for support, and learn what it feels like to really turn out your working leg, e.g as you tendu. Nail this and you’ll stop dreading centre practice.

As you get more advanced, your instructor can set you ever harder challenges, like pivots and pirouettes (flat-footed, of course, but still!). You’re finding the strength to maintain your turned out legs while working a movement, without cheating! Phew, imagine how easy class will be after that.

Wonderful Team

The Wonderful World of Dance

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