The real challenge of becoming a great dancer is that you have to be both an artist and an athlete. To be successful on stage, you have to develop the emotional skills to create a connection with the audience as well as the physical skills to execute the dance with technique and strength.

One of the most important physical elements to any dance technique is abdominal strength! Building strength and stamina in the abdominals is crucial to sustaining balances, gaining control of extensions, maintaining proper alignment, and reaching high elevation in jumps.

Here are 5 abdominal exercises to help you build your core strength for dance:

Plank

Assume a push up position and hold for four sets of 30 seconds each with a 10 second break in between sets.

As you get stronger and more confident in your plank alignment, try to build up to a two minute plank without rest.

V Sit

Lay down on your back with your legs together in parallel and your hands flat on the floor by your sides.

In one fluid motion, contract your core to bring your legs and torso up to a “V” position. The arms should be over head, the legs should be straight and pointed, the back should be straight, the neck should be long and relaxed.

Hold for 3 seconds and then slowly roll back into the starting position, being careful to keep the abdominals engaged and roll through each vertebrae as you lower to the floor.

Repeat 10 times.

Passe Leg Lifts

Continue lying on the floor with your arms down by your sides, palms pressing into the floor. This time, allow the legs to turn out from the top of the hip joint so that the heels are together and the pinky toes are rolling open towards the floor.

Move your right foot up into a turned out passe position on the left knee. Lift the left leg 45 degrees from the floor.

Keeping the integrity of the passe position, engage the core and lift the left leg to 90 degrees, pointed up toward the ceiling. Hold for 1 count and then return to the 45 degree position, hovering a couple inches off the floor.

Repeat 15 times and then switch legs.

Single Leg Bridge Pose

Continue lying on the floor with the hands down by your sides. Return the legs to parallel, and draw the knees up so that your feet are flat on the floor.

Squeeze your abdominals and glutes, roll through the spine, and bring your pelvis up towards the ceiling.

Keeping the pelvis lifted, point your right toes up toward the ceiling.

Keeping all the weight on the left leg, roll the pelvis down to the floor and then engage everything to lift back up.

Repeat 15 times and then switch legs.

Side Plank Leg Lifts

Begin in a side plank on your left elbow and the outside edge of your left foot. Your right hand should be extended straight up toward the ceiling and your right foot should be stacked on top of left.

Keep your chest open to the side wall, and challenge yourself to keep your neck long and relaxed throughout this exercise.

Lift the right leg up as high as you can without sacrificing the alignment of your side plank.

Hold for 2 counts and lower it back to the starting position.

Repeat 10 times and switch sides.

Do this every day during your school holidays, dancers! You’ll be amazed how much strength you will build.

Want to put your new abdominal strength to the test in Term 2? Contact us today to enrol for a dance class! 

--Team BoPPA xx

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