Proprioception is loosely defined as the body’s ability to sense itself. Your body is able to unconsciously perceive movement and spatial orientation thru proprioceptors (nerves) located throughout the body. Once the proprioceptors send the information to the brain, the brain is able to send a message to the body to correct for the change in movement.
So how does this help the tumbling dancer?
BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE!
The wobbles you are feeling while trying to hold a passé in relevé, or the supporting leg while trying to hold an extension is your bodies way of making lots of small changes to keep yourself perfectly balanced.
A great way to begin training your balance is the use of an unstable surface. Some ideas are standing on a pillow, a rolled-up towel, a foam pad, a bosu ball or a dyna disc (which you can purchase on Amazon)
Here are 3 exercises to try while standing on the dyna disc.
For all of the exercises plant your supporting leg directly in the center of the disc. Make sure you have plenty of room around you. Do not advanced to the next exercise until you are ready.
1. Passé balance- hold 30 seconds repeat 3 times
2. Developé- en croix from a turned out passé
3. Leg holds (devant- and a la seconde)
This is a great tool to pack with you for competition to help warm up your core and balance.
Fun Fact: Training your brain and muscles to react to an unstable environment can actually help prevent injuries!
Written By: Marianne Andersen, ATC