Down to the core

How would you like to have a greater efficiency of movement, better balance and stability and increased power and control in your dancing? I know I would! Here’s how…


What exactly is the core? Your ‘Core’ or trunk muscles are those that wrap around your midsection, including the muscles of the chest, back and pelvis. These muscles work in concert to stabilize the spine and the pelvis in order to carry out various movements of the body throughout the day. They help you maintain balance, ensure stamina, and keep you upright with good posture.

Many people mistaken the core for the abdominal muscles. The ‘abs’, as their popularly known, are only 1 of the 29 muscle groups that make up core. So doing a bunch of sit-ups may give you a great set of ‘abs’, but it won’t necessarily give you the strong core that you need for your dancing.

So how do we develop a strong core? Well, the most popular ways these days are through Yoga and Pilates and the usage of balance balls and balance boards. Joel and I are strong proponents of Pilates, as we were dedicated to it during our competitive careers. We also use the balance balls at the gym, which we find very effective as well. They force you to recruit numerous muscle groups in order to stabilize our body, instead of isolating and targeting single muscle groups, like weight machines often do.

pilatesDon’t have money to attend Yoga or Pilates classes on a regular basis? No problem. If you really want to try it, you can do what I did: take a few mat classes to learn the basic technique, and then get an instructional video that you can follow up with afterwards. And if you can’t afford that, my balance ball cost me about $25, the exercises for which you could always find on youtube!

Okay, hopefully I’ve convinced you to go out there and develop a stronger core. Is that it? Are you done? Will that magically make you a better dancer? Of course not! Once you’ve strengthened your core, you still have a lot of work to do. Now you have to apply it to some basic movements of dance.

Next time you are at your practice, really tune into how your core is involved in the specific action that you are creating. Don’t just do the action mindlessly; do it slowly; make sure you are affecting the quality of the action by stabilizing your core, and thereby allowing better activity through your arms and legs.

Actually, you don’t even have to wait until you go to practice! The core affects all types of body movements, not just in dance. How about on your next trip to Costco? How are you lifting your purchases into and out of your car? Are you using your core effectively to stabilize your midsection and pelvis to allow the most efficient way of lifting?  How about as you lift up your dance bag after practice?

Make all your movements in your daily life more efficient, better balanced and with more power and control by strengthening your core. Don’t just wait until you’re on the dance floor. Work your core whenever you can. That’s what we dance fanatics do! We let it pervade our lives in all aspects, down to the very core!

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