How Can Pilates Help Ballet Dancers

If you’re unfamiliar with the practice of Pilates, the strength training exercises were created by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s. The small, precise movements were designed to strengthen the body, reduce the possibility of injury, and rehabilitate damaged muscles. He worked closely with George Balanchine, a famous Russian dancer who founded The School of American Ballet and quickly gained a reputation in the dance world for his exercise methods. Pilates as a whole is an excellent form of exercise due to its low impact on the joints and concentration on the core, thus creating a strong back and midsection from where all movements originate. Many dancers use Pilates every day to keep their muscles and core in excellent shape so their craft is always being improved.

Benefits of Pilates for Dancers

As mentioned above, Pilates is a perfect way for aspiring dancers to protect themselves from incurring injury due to muscle weakness or low range of motion. Pilates focuses on fluid, controlled motions, which is an ideal method for dancers, and many of the movements are mirrored in their classes. Those who struggle with hypermobility and flexibility appreciate this exercise method as well because the motions and movements are meant to strengthen the muscle groups to increase control and precision so that students won’t injure themselves by overstretching or over-extension. The dancer can apply the control and range of motion to their classes so that mistakes that may have been made previously will be fixed. Pilates also fosters greater flexibility, and as the individual practices the motions and exercises, strength and control will also be increased so that the dancer will be able to decrease the possibility of injury due to muscle weakness or stiffness.

Core Stability

Sure, everyone is always trying to achieve abs of steel or that attractive six-pack, but core strength is vital to a dancer, and without it, he or she will struggle to complete moves and gestures with control and precision. Pilates is perfect for strengthening the core and back. As a dancer continues to take the exercise method, your core is strengthened, giving the artist more control for leaps, turns, and complicated combinations. A strong back is also vital to a dancer’s success as it provides better posture and brings a greater range of motion to the spine and arms. Understanding how muscles are linked and directly affect each other helps a dancer to focus on smaller groupings, so that specific areas that need strengthening can be worked on and the surrounding muscles that may have been working overtime to pick up the slack can rest.

The Perfect Training Method for Dancers

If you’ve ever gone to a ballet or dance performance, you’ve probably noticed that most dancers are small, thin, and lithe. Obviously, you won’t see a ballerina in a gym pumping barbells or doing squats on a weight machine. Bulky, defined muscles aren’t a dancer’s desire or aesthetic, which is why many don’t prefer to do strength training. Pilates is a wonderful exercise and strengthening option for dancers because it builds long, lean muscles. The exercise method continuously stretches the muscles, so that the muscle strands build longer rather than create bulk. Pilates also increases and builds technique, as it focuses on graceful and fluid movements that are the basis for many dance genres. As a dancer continuously commits himself or herself to the method, he or she will grow muscle memory and strength so that the technique and precision of your art is increased. Pilates is vital to a dancer’s career and success because it lays a groundwork of strength, muscle connection, and coordination for the dance art to build upon and thrive. The exercise method will create an equilibrium of muscle awareness and control that is extremely vital to any artist looking to continuously improve your technique and range of motion.  A dancer can only benefit from adding Pilates into your daily exercise routine.