There are 5 simple dance exercises perfect to practice on your dance barre if you are looking to tone the muscles of the leg, back and arm. The coveted dancer’s physique truly begins at the barre and therefore is sought after by both non-dancers and dancers alike, in and out of the studio.
Instead of using the backside of a chair, a default mechanism of many which is completely unstable and limiting, an at-home PortaBarre from En-Pointe is ideal in creating this environment for such muscle development. What you will inherit from the simple yet difficult positions at the barre is improved strength, balance, posture, muscle definition, and poise.
Here are a few beginner moves to get you going with your dance exercises. Keep in mind a class or two in ballet or barre method will be enough to jumpstart your at home routines and familiarity with proper alignment and execution.
1) The Plie: this is direct from the warm-up of any and every dancer, from beginner to professional. It stretches every muscle in the leg, prevents knee injuries, tones and strengthens. It can be practiced in demi, which is bending the knees half way, or grande plie – all the way down and rising back up. This deep bend features feet turned out, usually in first or second position, and is accompanied by a simple gesture of the arm coming toward center and softly swaying back out to second position. The other hand is placed gently on the barre for balance.
2) The Rise; often incorporated in routine with the plie, a rise is simply rising to the meta tarsal or ball of the foot and lowering back down. Plie, stretch, plie, stretch, rise (for 2,3 counts) and lower is a simple way to practice this. Sucking in the stomach will build core strength and abdominal definition and keeping posture throughout will ideally become natural.
3) The Forward Bend; after you have plied and risen, a forward bend is due. With straight legs and hand still resting on the barre, bend forward from the waist allowing your outer arm to flow down and hang in an upside-down fifth position. A roll-up from here is a fantastic way to warm up the spine, stacking each vertebrate back in place as you roll, head coming up last. It will feel amazing and realign your back.
4) The Releve Passe; this is similar to a rise however you are rising to the leg closet to the bar and sliding it slightly inward and you rise, as to place all weight properly on this foot. The outside leg will be brought into passé, which is a bent position where the foot comes – but does not sloppily rest – at the knee. It stays turned out, from the hip and also the foot itself creating a triangle shape alongside your supporting leg. This position can be advanced into a balance, where both arms are lifted into fifth position above the head and off the barre. Visualizing breath as well as uplifting, light motions will help to stay balanced longer. Gently coming down and back into most likely fifth position, your hand can re-grace the barre.
5) The Forward Stretch; a great way to stretch out the hamstring and underside is to face the bar and raise one leg. Placing the foot on the top of the sturdy barre, lean forward as if to fold over the leg. Thinking of stretching up and then outward and over, this will also stretch out the hips. Placing your hand as close the barre or foot as possible, allow the weight of your hanging body to do the work for you. Keep the extended leg as well as the standing leg straight and breathe.
– love from J