Alignment of your body in ballet is important to avoid injury and to improve your technique. We never have enough time to talk about it in Tuesday night’s ballet class. When your body is aligned you should feel open and energized–ready to take off across the floor, but also easy and relaxed, not stiff or tight. Stand evenly with your weight equally distributed in your feet between three points-your heel, your big toe and your little toe. Turn out starts at the top of your hips. Rotate your legs open gently. As you do this, try pushing down the backs of your legs as you pull up the front of your legs. Lift your lower belly in and up (like you’re zipping up your skinny jeans) as you lengthen your tailbone towards the floor. Relax your front ribs. Imagine your spine as if it were the string on a marionette puppet–the crown of your head reaching to the ceiling, everything draping below, your neck long, shoulders open, sides of your waist long, and lower spine relaxing towards the floor. Shoulders and hips should be even, facing the same way, both hip bones and both shoulder points square to each other–a bit like Spongebob squarepants! Spongebob is also a good analogy of being relaxed and easy and still being square!
In looking for a photo of Spongebob, I found this gem. A Tombe (which means ‘to fall’ in French) is a big step into plié and is often used with its friends Pas de Bourre and sometimes Glissade in preparation for a pirouette or big jump. Thanks Spongebob!