Balance is one of many skills that needs to be trained for any type of dance- even pole. I say “even pole” because one of the things that I initially liked about pole was that there was a pole there I could grab onto if I felt like I was falling. Balance and coordination are not really my strong points.
Anyways, you can’t always just grab onto the pole and even if you could, it wouldn’t be graceful or sexy or artistic or anything that I want my dancing to be. Balance is not an optional skill. Eric Franklin has a lot of ideas about balance that I hope might be useful.
In a nutshell, Franklin explains that there are many different systems in your body that create balance- your vision, vestibular organs, and your muscles themselves. If you get in the habit of moving your body ineffectively, all of these balance structures will adjust for the inefficient movement. What this does is make it so that you will feel off balance if you start moving in more efficient, balanced ways.
Franklin suggests a series of exercises to help correct this- most of the exercises having to do with how you visualize your body working and what imagery you use to reduce muscle tension. For example, he suggests that you try focusing on what muscles is tightening to perform an exercise, and then try it again but focus on what muscle you must relax to get into the exercise. Since muscles always work in pairs, you can always do both visualizations. Thinking about it explicitly helps you find better balance.
He also suggests some “extreme balancing” exercises, such as balancing on balls. He argues that balancing on the floor will be easier, because balancing on balls forces you to re-train your muscles so that you don’t fall. I would be interested in trying this with the wire rope things that people tie onto trees and balance on in the park.
What balance training do you do? Does anyone have any tips or suggestions?