Australian-born Só Dança ambassador Bianca Bulle recently retired from the stage to pursue a teaching career, following a satisfying performing career with both the Los Angeles Ballet and Miami City Ballet. As a teacher, she uses everything she knows from dancing myriad principle roles and recovering from several injuries to guide younger dancers through the field with a sense of nurture and positivity. We caught up with Bulle to learn about some of her favorite strength and stretching exercises to help with arabesque consistency and flexibility.
First, identify what muscle groups you need to engage. Knowing specifically what to use will help your mind send the proper instructions.
Bulle gives a list: glutes, shoulder blades pulled down and in toward the spine, abdominals pulled in to support the back, knee caps pulled up to engage the quadriceps, and toes and ankles pointed.
With these in mind, complete the following exercises to improve your overall arabesque execution.
#1. Lay on the floor on your stomach and push up with both hands, stretching the back range of flexibility. Progress to use one hand, engaging more muscles in the back to hold the position and increases your strength. Increase to using no hands and try to hold yourself in a 90 degree angle.
#2. With your leg in arabesque on the barre, engage the core and back muscles simultaneously. Lift the arabesque leg off the barre 1 or 2 inches, and place it back down. Repeat 5 times and switch to the other leg.
#3. Stand in tendu back, facing the barre. Lift the back leg, maintaining square shoulders and a rotated supporting leg. Slowly penché, leading the penché with the arabesque leg, not the back. To recover, move in the opposite way: try to keep your leg at that penché height and bring your upper body back up to standing
Bulle says she’s found incredible fulfillment in teaching and sharing her experiences as a dancer. While she laments there’s no substitute for being in the studio with students, she’s enjoyed the opportunity to connect with more students around the world digitally since the onset of COVID-19. “I absolutely love seeing my students improving and achieving their goals in a positive nurturing environment,” she says.
Bianca Bulle currently lives and works in southern California, and can be reached for teaching and coaching via Instagram at @biancabulle.
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