December 19th 2014 by Colette
And when I say that, I mean, my body is constantly in motion. It always has been. I have been teaching dance and acrobatics for fourteen years. When you are teaching dance back to back classes up to six days a week, performing onstage yourself, and hold down a variety of other gypsy like jobs, your body better be efficient, a well oiled machine, otherwise you will hurt yourself, or simply not be able to perform well. To my surprise, my work at the Barre, and I mean Bodhi Barre, not ballet barre, has made a huge difference in my technique, stamina, and balance at dance. I wish I’d found this secret out a decade ago! It makes sense, and should be obvious. I’d figured that since I had danced and done gymnastic, and had already spent years working ballet technique at the barre that my body knew all it needed to.
The truth is that the intense, isolated micromovements of the Lotte Berk world (think 1” pliés in relevé) have forced me to have more control of my body instead of giving into the momentum of a movement. When holding a deep plié in second position, heels lifted, I have the time to focus on stabilization through the core, keeping the tailbone down, shoulders rolled back and sliding down, lined up over hips, form. I can also push myself further without being distracted by having to emote something through a dance movement, or how graceful my arms are, or heaven forbid, “Am I smiling?”. Turning off dancer/performer brain and just focusing on how the body feels, what do I have to do to achieve the best form has actually lifted my jumps, balanced my turns, and fixed longstanding issues in my dance technique.
The “form over range,” line you hear me say, that has fixed my hip positioning in battements, and arabesques. Now my dance students have a better model of technique and a better teacher! You don’t have to be a dancer to feel the benefits of Barre work in your daily life. All those movements under the barre that are initiated at the core will help keep you from pulling out your back. Those millions of relevés will keep you from rolling your ankle in your killer high heels. And those forever long plank holds? They will be keeping you tall fighting gravity’s pull to make you slouch. The best part? That moment when you realize those transformations have been made, all the while you thought you were just “working out.”