Engage Your Core

Having taken dance classes for almost 14 years now, I have learned, unfortunately, very few things. The extent of my knowledge is very small. You should never dance with your back to the audience. Always turn out your feet. When in doubt, opposite arm, opposite leg. Never dance without stretching. The second day is always worse after a workout. You should use your core to balance.

I never got the hang of using my core. If I “engaged” it, I couldn’t breathe, and I stumbled trying to finish my pirouette. If I didn’t, I still stumbled. “How the hell are you supposed to do these things?!”, I’d grumble to myself as I watched others flawlessly land a triple pirouette. They obviously understand the art of balance a lot more than me.

Balancing on your own is one of the first things you physically learn to do. A baby has to learn how to hold its own head up, and sit upright. Following that, they learn to balance themselves on their own two feet as they begin to walk. This continues throughout life. We can balance on our own two feet. It is natural. It is something we have been doing for many years. But throw in something or someone else, and we stumble a little bit. We are not used to the increased weight, and how it affects us.

And so the learning process begins again. We learn how to walk on our own feet, while simultaneously supporting relationships with other people and juggling hobbies and responsibilities. We become familiar with the different feel of all these things on our person as we go about our daily lives.

But sometimes, something slips and things go askew. Maybe we drop something. Maybe we attempted to take on too much without thinking or re-juggling what we already have, in order to make room for more. And once more, we learn. We learn how to shift everything so we can pick up what we dropped, and balance it along with everything else.

There is no shame in admitting that you stumbled, that you are struggling with your load. All that is needed a little re-alignment, to make room for everything and to make your load balanced equally.

Whether it is a single, or a triple pirouette, balance is needed. However, it is not always easy to achieve. Sometimes you get the whole round, sometimes you can’t. And that’s okay. We learned how to walk when it was just us, not carrying anything else. It takes skill to balance doing something different, or with extra weight. This skill of balancing more than one thing, person, job, hobby, is one that is continuously being learned. Throw in a turn on one foot, falling seems inevitable. Because even if they engage their core, even professional dancers sometimes stumble when they finish a pirouette.

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