• Ethne Tierney

Balance technique for the perfect skills

These exercises will help your balances and spins by strengthening your ankles and engaging your whole body while performing these. The exercises start easy and get harder as you progress, but it is important to take each exercise seriously and to do them with intention in order to improve our technique. By performing exercises on the barre that are easier to carry out, we have more time to focus on how to distribute our body weight and how to hold a proper shape. For these exercises, you won’t need anything but a chair or something similar you can use as a barre.

Before starting, make sure you have warmed up and stretched so you can prevent any injuries and perform the exercises better. You should do 10 reps of each shape with your left and right leg. It’s important to keep your strength, flexibility and stability on both sides even.

1. Use the chair for support and get into a passe on your flat feet. Now, do ten slow releve lifts, keeping your core engaged (check if your tummy is hard). Did you get on okay? Great, now do the same in a front balance, as well as side and arabesque. When you are getting into your releve, try to stretch your toes in every direction and squeeze your middle toe especially, pressing it against the floor as hard as you can. This is a little technique trick that will help you stay in balance easily.

2. This next drill is very similar. We are going to use the barre to go into our releve and do our base balances - passe, front, side and arabesque- but we will go through a plie holding our balances before getting up on our toes. We will repeat this exercise 10 times with each balance on our good and bad leg.

3. Prep to land. This exercise helps us with our landing and preparation position. Our landing and prep are important because they show our legs are not struggling with the balance and make a big difference between a good and bad skill. We are going to start in our prep position- go into our passe first, then to our front, side and arabesque and then to any balances and spins you have in your routine. - very quickly. It should be more of a kick than it is a balance because we want to centre our attention on a sharp and clean landing with no wobbles.

4. Quarters. Turn a quarter holding the balances we have been doing previously. You should turn your body when you are up in releve. After turning the 90 degrees, go back to flat foot and immediately back up to releve to turn again till you have done a full turn. Land with your feet together after your last quarter!

5. Kick and hold. Kick your leg into all the different balances you have been doing and hold it for ten seconds. You will need to repeat this three time with each balance on each leg, it might take you a while. This will strengthen your muscles so that holding the shape of your balances gets easier.

6. Full balances. It’s time to practice the balance as a whole. Depending on your level, performing releves might seem boring but is a good way to warm up for the upcoming ones. Aim to get ten perfect balances with your good leg. If it could be better, you don’t need to count it. If you get on fine doing them with no apparatuses, you may want to try them with your apparatus too! Tyr holding your spins as balances before moving onto them, after all, you need to master the balance before the spin.

7. Full spins. Time for pivots! Again, do ten perfect ones, with and without apparatus. Don’t bother doing these on your bad legs at this time.


Does anyone have a spinning board at home? If you do, you can practice your spins on it before doing them on the floor. It’s easier to do them on the board so you will be more prepared for the real spins on the floor. People often forget to land them correctly on the board, but if you train yourself to land them in every occasion you will build up the muscle memory to do it every single time you spin, no matter what.


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