Balance is a difficult topic and theme to explain. For most people it is taken for granted, however not for everyone balance is granted. For some dancers with ADS, hyper mobility, hearing and vision problems this can be a difficult task. It even could cause symptoms that accompany the unsteadiness like; dizziness, vertigo and difficulty with concentration and memory.
Before we start explaining what balance is we need to state what we understand by balance: ‘Balance is the ability to maintain the body’s center of mass over its base of support’.
For example within the dancer’s body we often refer back to the centre of gravity. It is not that simple like ball, where the centre of gravity is in the middle. For the body this lies around the navel. Did you know the top half of the body is heaver then the bottom half? Around the navel is your own, personal center of gravity. When you stand more or less above the feet your body will be balanced. You won’t tip over. However, if you start leaning to the side, the whole body is changing in order to keep your balance. Your centre of gravity is no longer above the centre line of the feet. The more you lean the more you will fall. It is a fact that it is easier to keep your balance with a lower center of gravity. For example it is easier sitting on a chair, leaning forward then doing the same standing up.
And as we all know, within the dance profession we are constantly working on balance and this centre of gravity. We love to throw ourselves into the space and challenge ourselves. Without a doubt balance is not just one body part, or the part around the navel. It is not even a state of being, but much more than that.
It is almost a total body, holistic state of being, or even an experience. The balance is regulated and maintained by a set of sensorimotor control systems that include sensory input from vision (sight), proprioception, and the vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation). All these work together to integrate the input to the brain and get it back to the muscles for a perfect output. Even psychological factors could impair our sense of balance.
Therefore we have experienced as partners within this project that the improvements within balance can only be achieved if we work on exercises that include sight, touch and body awareness that focus on internal and external elements. Also strength of certain muscles groups can not be excluded. For example the ankle focus from block 1 is a key element that needs to be trained.
We hope you have enjoyed the blog can use this information to get your dancers to the next level.