Last year I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with Paula Baird Colt, body conditioning specialist with the Australian Ballet, watching her work with the wonderful artists with the Australian Ballet Company. She was generous with her knowledge and time and I felt truly fortunate to be able to spend some time. She told me that she watches the dancers and their repertoire at the time and deconstructs from there and creates workouts to cater to their needs according to the program at the time. Now to think that the dancers require a “workout” in the traditional sense is ludicrous. Their days are already full of “workout”, so what I was privileged to see consisted more of fine tuning the musculature of the hip, foot and knee. The work consisted of balancing the muscles by working the opposing muscle groups that were being most used in their current repertoire.
In my work in the Pilates studio I have found that BALANCE is always the key. It is not just a question of ensuring that my client is balanced in their alignment whilst working in the studio. I always ask my clients what they have been doing in their lives. By varying the type and style of your exercise, you challenge your body in different plains of movement and ensure that your body retains its muscular balance.
For dancers cross training can be aerobic conditioning, which encompasses the types of exercise that raise your heart rate or include resistance training. It is important to choose your exercise to balance what you are already doing. If you are already dancing for hours a week, you need to make sure that you are not over-training and creating unnecessary muscle tension, which will lead to injury.
Release work is very important and I learnt that the dancers of the Australian ballet school are actually required to purchase a spikey ball as part of their school requirements. Yoga and relaxation is a great way to support your body for dance, by offering the flexibility training, and the mental discipline to stay in the moment with your performance. Running is also a great way to balance the muscle firing patterns of the lower limb. When running it is important to incorporate stretches and to wear the correct footwear to avoid excessive jarring of the joints and good support through the foot. In our warm climate, swimming is also a popular alternative training tool. The water provides buoyancy that eliminates jarring whilst providing an aerobic workout.
Our classes offer a wide variety of opportunities to CROSS TRAIN by combining conditioning in the pilates studio, aerobic training in dance and relaxation with Meditation and Yoga.
Our passion is Movement and helping others lead richer lives through Movement!
Lisa Peresan teaches at DJAZZEX dance and pilates, Brookvale
ADV Dip Professional Pilates Practice
Certificate IV in Dance Teaching (Classical & Jazz) ADi