What I’ve noticed with working with many dancers over the years is at times, ankle mobility, hip mobility or lumboplevic stability can negatively affect alignment during dance movement.

The plie is a fundamental movement not only in ballet but in all dance forms. It is the preparation for jumps, turns, acoustic sounds and all propulsion.

This is why regardless of the dancer’s main discipline, I assess plie.

Another common misconception is that turnout (external “outward” rotation of the hip joint) is generated equally by both hips.

This is not the case. The favoured gesture leg and vs supporting leg can present with contrasting mobility.

In this dancer, the right ilium has an anterior tilt due to tightness in the deep hip flexor (iliopsoas). What most forget is that the deep hip flexor is also an INTERNAL rotator of the hip. In other words, it opposes turnout.

During her dance conditioning session, we focused on the engagement of turnout from the deep external rotators of the hip joint using bands and tactile cues in addition to focusing on foot, spinal and pelvic alignment.

The result was level heels at the bottom of grand plie which improved a balanced turnout generation from not hips as well as stability from the lumboplevic area.

The awareness gained from this can continue to dance training in class and can prevent any injury from developing in the ankle, knee, hip or spine in the future.

Here is another example of dancer demonstrating similar alignment issues on the opposite side.

Being aware of these alignment issues can be overlooked in a class setting when the dance educator is responsible for a general overview of the movement. This is why private dance assessments and conditioning in conjunction with manual therapy by a knowledgeable practitioner is key to the success of a dancer with serious goals.

Unlock facility to unlock artistry.

If you are or have a dancer that would like to be assessed, book your appointment online.

Blessyl's love for all forms of dance comes together in Street Ballet
Blessyl’s love for all forms of dance comes together in Street Ballet

With over three decades of dance experience, she completely understands the journey of the young dancer, the audition process, and the demands of the professional. While studying her Bachelor of Kinesiology at McMaster University, she was scouted by a talent agent and began her professional career as a commercial dancer. Select credits include: Dairy Farmers Milk Rap Commercial (2002), Step Up Revolution Flash Mob: New Music Live-Much Music (2012), and the biggest highlight was the opportunity to dance with Madonna at her Grand Opening event-Hard Candy Fitness (2014). She is a member of ACTRA (Apprentice).

Using the Merrithew Tower Trainer™, Dr. Blessyl fuses her clinical expertise with dance conditioning and pilates. This innovative equipment allows the dancer to work through barre work and matwork with access to elements of the reformer and cadillac using resistance from body weight and springs. Her work is profiled on her Instagram and Youtube channel.

Outside of the studio, she is the contributing writer on dance health & conditioning for The Dance Current and is active with Healthy Dancer Canada (HDC). She is a former faculty member of Equity Showcase Theatre and was a presenter for HDC and the Performing Arts & Medicine Association (PAMA). She was also a guest teacher at York University’s Dance Program.

Stability must be established before movement. In dance, the shoulder girdle must be strong to support the movement of the performer’s arms. Arm movements help to counter the movements of the legs and neck. In dance, movement will not be controlled or graceful without strength and stability in the shoulder girdle, abdominals and pelvis.

Endurance in the scapulothoracic muscles ensures the following:
1. The dancer avoids developing tension in the upper traps
2. Graceful movement in the arms and shoulders
3. Balance, jumps and turns are effortless

Here is a lat pull down and core strengthening exercise on the Pilates Tower Trainer.