Class #2865

Strength and Flexibility Mat

60 min - Class


Work on strength and flexibility in this Mat workout for dancers by Alan Herdman. He focuses on stabilizing one side of the body while the other side is moving. He includes many exercises that will improve alignment and balance as well as some homework for the feet to keep the ankles strong.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video


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Hello. I'm Alan Herdman. And this afternoon we're going to do a class that I put together with my assistant from London, Sarah Galley, who is a dance-- was a dancer with the Royal, and now teaches in the upper school of the Royal Ballet school. And she works with the dancers every week, and it's a class we've put together as a sort of warm up and just to work the strength and for flexibility. I have with me Sarahh and Kata, who are going to help me to do this class. Well, they're going to do it. I'm going to tell them.

I'm not going to do it. If you just stand on your plinths, and we're just going to start, just with a warmup, just at small first position. And really feel the correct posture. Feel the inner thighs. Pull up the back of the legs.

Very soft, easy arms. And just imagine that you've got a small band around your waist, so just narrowing the waist, and lifting yourself up out of the hips just a little. Okay. Stretch your arms up towards the ceiling, and take your left arm down to your side. And very gently slide your hand as far down your thigh as possible, keeping the hips very square.

Now from there, lengthen your left arm out and reach out, and lift up through your left side, and then come to the center and take your arms down. And to the other side. Bring your right arm up. Bring your left arm up. Sorry. And slide your right arm down.

Really lengthen as much as you can. Breathing out, breathing out, breathing out. Stretch. Breathe in and stretch your arm out, and lift through the waistline. And to the other side. Left arm down. And slide down. Keep lifting through the center.

Feel the length through the opposite side. Stretch your arm out. Now lengthen out first. Reach out through the side, and then lift up. And to the other side. And stretch.

Feel the lengthen in the opposite waist. Now keep that length as you stretch your arm out. Now reach away, reach away, reach away, and lift through the right side, and then back. And relax your arms down. We'll usually do about four or five in this position, but with time we'll just do the two.

Place your fingertips onto your sternum, onto your breast bone, and have all the knuckles, all the joints touching. Now, as you breathe in, slowly turn to your left. Keeping the hips very square. Go as far as you can. And then breathe out to come to center.

And breathe in, and turn to the right. Feeling a gentle pull in the opposite direction with the opposite hip. So you're getting a pull diagonally across the body. Breathe out. Come through center. And breathe in and turn.

Maintaining the elongation, lift up through the legs. And breathe out to come back. And breathe in, and out. We'll do it slightly different this time. Breathe in and turn.

Pause where you are breathing out. And now breathe in and turn more. Turn more, turn more. Now hold this second position and slowly bring your arms up to fifth. And turn a little more. Turn a little more.

Come through center. Open your arms to second, drawing the scapula down as you come down, and then bring your hands back into the center. And turn to the right. Pulling back on the opposite hip. Pause breathing in.

Sorry, excuse me. Pause breathing out, and then breathe in and turn a little more. Breathe out, lift your arms up to fifth. Turn more, more, more, more, more. Come through center. Open your arms to second, and as your arms come down into first, elongate the spine up.

Good. Thank you. Okay, lie on the mat in semi-supine position. Head here, Kata. Head here. Have your feet slightly apart. Think of the outside of your foot in line with your greater (mumbling).

Arms by your sides. Draw the stomach muscles down. Now just check that your pelvis is neutral, and a soft sternum. And without thinking of any muscles on this, take a deep breathe in through your nose, and then slowly breathe out through the mouth. Now really get the air as far down as you possibly can.

Breathe in. Feel the diaphragm drop as you breathe in, and breathe out. Slowly breathe out through the mouth, as if you were breathing the air through a straw. Breathe in. And breathe out. One more time.

And breathe in. And breathe out. Let's try something with your arms on here. What I want you to do is to have your arms opened out. So just feel the upper arm is rotating outwards.

Now keep that rotation with your upper arm and just gently turn the hands over onto the bed, so you have slightly more opening with the upper torso. Imagine that you have a belt around your waist from the hip bones up to the floating rib, as you take a breath in. Now as you breathe out, imagine you're tightening that belt around your waist. So you're narrowing the waist on the outer breath. And then relax, breathing in.

And breathe out, and narrow the waist. Still keeping the back in the natural neutral position. Breathe in, and breathe out. That's good. And breathe in through the nose, and slowly breathe out through the mouth.

One more time. And breathe in. And breathe out. Okay. Now holding that position, as you breathe out, you're going to slide one leg away from you.

Sorry, we're going to change the breath. You're going to breathe in to slide the leg, and then breathe out and bring it back. As you bring it back, feel a connection with the abdominals on the side of the leg that you're moving back and forward. So, stabilize that center. Get that narrowing effect. As you breathe in, slowly slide your right leg away.

And breathe out as you come back, making sure the pelvis doesn't move, and you're keeping the sternum soft, and the ribs in place. And the other leg. Breathe in and slide away. And breathe out as you come back. If you feel the pelvis move, that means the leg has gone too far at this point. So one more on each side.

And back, breathing out. Pull out through the right side as you pull the leg. And other side. And stretch. And back. Now bring your arms up.

Maybe just halfway between first and fifth, roughly in line with your sternum. Now as you slide your leg away, open your arms to second as the leg goes away, making sure the ribs stay in place. And as you bend your leg up, the arms come back. And to the other side. Slide away. Just checking. Relax through here.

And back. And slide away. And back. One more time. And slide away. And back.

Okay, this time, as you stretch your leg away, you open your arms to second as you've done, you bring the leg back, and then you drop it open to the side, taking your arms up into fifth. So slide the leg away, opening. Draw the leg back coming back. Open the knee as you take your arms up into fifth, keeping the opposite hip held. Bring the knee back as you bring your arms up, and open to second, stretching away.

Arms closed. Open the knee out and stretch. Bring the knee back. And stretch away, open. Close. Now, as you open to fifth, feel the pull right from the lower abdominals as you stretch over, and open the leg out, making sure the opposite hip is held.

Close. And last leg. Open. Close. And back to open. And close the leg, and back.

Good. This time I want you to-- Relax your arms for a second. You're going to keep your arms open, you stretch your leg away, and then flex quite hard, and resist the leg coming back. So you're pulling the leg back along the bed to work into the hamstring, but as you pull the leg back you're gonna come up, a quite open fifth, and then back again. But I want you to feel the connection with the heel and the hamstring as you pull back.

So arms. And now slide away. Now as you do that, press the heel down, dorsiflex, and pull back as you bring your arms up. And bring your arms back as you slide the other leg away. Stretch away.

Now press the heel down, breathe out, and pull back. And slide away. Last one. And pull back. Really stretch through the whole torso.

As the legs come up and the arms go back, feel the length through the waist. And back. Excellent. And pull. And good. And rest. We're working to stabilize one side.

So you're going to have your arms up. You're going to open your right arm, and open the right knee at the same time, but the concentration is on the left side. So there's no change of movement in the hip. And then close. And the other side. And open.

Pulling back into the standing leg. That's it. And then close. Okay, probably not quite so wide with your knee on that. And open. And close.

And open. Open the knee just a little more. Pull, pull, pull, pull. That's it. And close. And relax. So you open your knee as far as you can-- Well, maybe, opened not as much to begin with, and then gradually try and open it a little more, but make sure the opposite hip is completely held onto the bed.

Let's do frog-- No, no. Before we do frog, place your feet onto the roller. So your lower leg onto the roller, in parallel. Now just place your hands on your hips and hold onto them. Just relaxing the lower leg, I want you to rotate the legs from the hip joints.

And back. And rotate. And you can breathe in or out as you do this. It's just getting the feeling of the legs working easily without having weight, or without standing on them. You can also do this lying with your legs up a wall, moving back and forward. Try and, without straining, just feel the legs working and opening out just a little more.

Now let's do it with a soft dorsiflexion as you do it. You're not thinking of tightening any muscles. You're just allowing the hips to move easily. Good. And relax. Now taking your legs up to roughly 45 to 50 degrees, turning out, and pointing.

Make sure in this position you can support what's happening to the back. From here, dorsiflex, bend your knees into a frog position until your thighs are in line with your pelvis, they're 90 degrees in line. And now using your abductors, your inner thighs, slowly stretch the legs away from you. So you're working into the inner thighs. And making sure the back stays still, and then point.

Flex, and bend. Now bring your arms up and just hold that position. Now as your legs go away, feel the center pulling away from your arms and your legs at the same time. And stretch. And flex and bend.

And stretch. That's good. It's really nice. And bend. Now this time, as you stretch, just come forward. Thinking of a slight chest lift as you come forward, you straighten.

And then bend, and then go back. Let's do three more like that. So think of stabilizing (mumbling) the waist before you come forward. So you're making sure you're held through your center. And back.

Now take your arms back behind your head. This time, you're going to curve forward, but you're going to use your arms to come forward a little further. So breathe in, now breathe out, and lift yourself forward, and reach your arms and legs at the same time. And back, and take your arms down. And breathe out, and reach.

And breathe in to go back. And work into the lower sternum muscles a little more. Reach, reach, reach, reach, reach. And back. Last one.

And reach. And down. Good. And rest. Place your hands behind-- I think on these ones, if you put your hands just gently onto the edges of there with your upper arm down, separate your feet to the end of the bed. So what you're going to do, you're going to allow your left leg or right leg, whichever you want to start with, just to gently drop open to the side.

And now take the other leg and stretch it diagonally across to the opposite foot. So you're pulling out of the hip to go across. And pull up through the waistline as you go across. So getting a stretch the outer quad and into the waist. Pause there, breathing in.

Now as you breathe out, pull up the abdominals, and lift both legs up at the same time. Lifting up, lifting up, pulling up. And then over to the other side. And stretch away. Keep the shoulder blade down and feel you're pulling up away from it.

So pull up through here. That's it. Hold there, breathing in. Now lift up through the center. Pull up, which will bring the knees up. And don't let the leg drop open quite so much, the one that you're not thinking about.

Halfway, and then feel this leg is being pulled away from the center of the body. Pause breathing in. Now breathe out and lift. Let's do that once more to each side. Let's do it just about here. Now feel that leg diagonally stretching.

So it's almost as if you're pulling away from the shoulder blade. Breathe in, and now lift. Bringing the knees together now. Lift your feet up so your thighs are at right angles. Do you feel all right with your arms in that position?

From here we're in a table top position, but in fact I want you to drop your heels slightly lower than your knees, so you don't work into the hip flexors quite so much. Take a breath in. Now as you breathe out, keeping your knees together, roll the legs over, and turn the upper torso, turn your head, and feel that you're turning the torso in the opposite direction. Pause there, breathing in. Now as you breathe out feel you're pulling up through your center, and then go to the other side.

So you're breathing in at each end, breathing out on the movement. So breathe in, and now pull up through here, and back. Do two more to each side. Bring your head through the center as your knees come through the center. Good.

A long, slow outward breath. When you've done that, bring your arms around very carefully into the center. And relax. Just take hold of your knees and gently pull them to the chest to stretch the lower back out. Good.

Let's lie on our front now. And just rest your forehead down onto your hands, like this. And now, from here, gently draw the shoulder blades down, and as you breathe in, just lift your sternum away from the floor, but keeping your head looking down as you do it. And then breathe out as you go back. So just imagine you've got someone's hands around your shoulder blades, around your scapula, and as you lift they're gently pulling them down and around to the center of the torso.

This is light curving effect. And concentration on the thoracic spine as you do it. That's good. And then relax back down. And lift, breathing in.

Just feel you're pulling arching over my finger on this. That's nice. Okay, and down. One more time. Good. Now this, same position.

Have your arms stretched out in front of you. As you breathe in you're going to slide your elbows underneath the shoulders, to about there, and lift your sternum. What I want you to feel on this, that you're pressing your pubic bone into the bed, but lifting your hip bones off the bed so you're supporting your lower back. And then breathe out to go down. We'll do that four times.

And then we'll lift, slide this arm away, and lift it. Just about at the height of your ear. Then take it down. And then the other one. And take it down. And then back. So slide. Again, feel it starting from the scapula.

And slide down. And pull the scapula down. Feel the lift through the mid thoracic spine, roughly in line with your breast bone. And down. And pull.

This time, stretch your right arm out. Lift. Take it down. Pull it in. Stretch your left arm out. Lower it. Pull it in, and then down.

And bend and pull. Now stretch your right arm out. Now from there, bring your arm to second, turn the palm over, and bring it to your hip. Turn the palm over. And now lift your left arm off, and reach.

And now spiral towards your lower arm. Center. Change arms. Just change arms where you are if you can. And take the left arm right to the side, and spiral towards your left. Center. Bring your arm up.

So both arms are stretched out. And lower them down. And bend your elbows, and come in. And stretch your left arm out. Reach. Bring it out to second, palm down, and then turn the palm up as you take it to your hip. Now stretch your right arm forward, and lift.

And spiral. Center. Change arms. Go through second and back. And spiral. And turn. Bring your right arm up.

Reach out and lower down, straight down. And sit up and stretch your back out. Very nice. Did you feel that spiral into your back? (laughter) Good. Okay. Lying back down again.

From this position, we're just going to rest in this position. Bring your left-- Sorry, that's my right. Bend your right leg just up so you're working into your hamstring. Keep the foot quite soft. And then down.

And bend. It's a very slow single leg kick. So let's just do four on each side. Then what you'll do is you'll bend, you lift your knee off the ground, keeping the pelvis very still, and think of a tendu derriere on that so you stretch out. And then lower it down.

Okay, we'll do four alternating, and then four with the lift. So bend. And lower. Just keep the pelvis very still. So you're breathing out as you bend.

Breathe in to lower. Making sure you keep the leg very parallel so that the heel comes into the center towards the sit bone on that, and then down. And just relaxing through the upper torso a little more. So it's out to bend, and then in to straighten. A soft, easy foot.

Just feel a relaxation in the upper torso. Are we ready to do the lift now? So bend. Now make sure when you do the lift, you keep the pelvis absolutely still, so you feel the top of the hamstring working. Now hold the thigh where it is, and stretch the leg out.

Now let's hold it there. Flex the foot. Rotate the leg out. Point, rotate the leg in, and lower it down. So bend.

Now feel the lift just about there. Now stretch. That's good. Flex. Turn out.

Point. Turn in. And down. Make sure when you flex that you don't soften the knee. Keep the knee completely straight. So bend.

And lift. Not too high. Extend. Now stretch the back of the knee as you flex. Turn out. Point. Now hold that position.

Take a breath in. Now as you breathe out, let's have four circles inwards towards the other leg, brushing the floor as you do it, and then four outwards, working into the turn out as you do it. So feeling it right up into the top of the leg. Turn the leg parallel, and lower it down. And now bend the other leg.

Remember the leg that you're not working is your standing leg, so you have to hold on to that as much as you can to keep your pelvis still as you stretch the leg out. Stretch the knee. Now flex. Turn out. Good, good, good. Point. And circles. Just brush the floor so you know where the circle is going, and just keep breathing as you do this.

Watch your standing leg, Sarah, that you need to hold onto this. That's better. It's very easy to let the standing leg, because you're not standing on it it relaxes very easy, so you have to concentrate on that one. Very nice. Separate your legs a little. Not too much.

Stretch your arms out in front. And just feel that your nose is just hovering above the mat. So we'll do swimming, but it's not the normal, classical swim. It's as you breathe in you just very-- You're already stretched out, but with shoulders down. Just let your right arm and left leg float off the ground, and then down.

Breathe in, and breathe out. We'll do four on each side. Then we'll do both together. One, and then down. We'll do four.

The fourth one, keep the feet up, press the hands down, and lift the sternum, bring the legs together, and beat. Pointed eight, flexed eight. Eight pointed, eight flexed, and then down. So right arm, left leg. Breathe in and stretch. Not too high. Just to there.

And out. And lift. And then down. And lift. Breathe in and lift. Quite a deep breath in so you feel the back working a little more to support your arm.

And down. And now let's do both arms and both legs. So breathe into the lift, and lower. And lift, and lower. Lift, and lower.

Last one. Lift, lower. Now press the hands down. Keep the feet up. Bring the legs together. Lift the sternum just a little. And beat one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Flex, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Point, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Flex, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Point. Lower the legs slowly. And lift up onto your hands and knees, and stretch your back out. And just stay in that position to get the stretch.

And stretch. And turn over. And sitting up straight. Legs straight out in front. Let's do the spine twist.

I would like your arms palm down, and your arms to be slightly behind the shoulders, just so you feel the shoulder blades coming together, which will help you to keep your arms in line when you turn so you're not sort of swinging your arms. So you're going to breathe in as you turn. We turn into the center. So breathe in and turn. And breath out as you come back.

Soften through the sternum a little more. Breathe in, and turn. And breathe out. And breathe in. And out.

Keep lifting through the waist. Imagine that belt. And turn. And back. I'm going to change it. So breathe in and turn. Breathe out and relax.

Breathe in and turn further. Now lift your arms up into fifth, and turn a little more. Come into the center, and open to second. And turn. Pause. And breathe in and turn more.

Lift your arms up, and turn a little more. Come on. Turn, turn, turn. Come through second, and then open your arms, and relax, and relax forward. Lying on your-- You lie on your right side, Kata. And you lie on your left side.

So let's be in a straight line. Look over your shoulder to make sure you are in a straight line. I don't mind the legs being slightly in front of the body, in front of the pelvis, but not behind. Stretch your arm out as far as you can, so as if you're reaching, and just push into the heel of the hand. And that will help you to get onto the side of the ribcage to hold you in position.

Now what I want you to do is lengthen the body, and as you breathe in, you're going to lift both legs, but your top leg is going to be a passenger. So you're going to lift your bottom leg up. And the head is going to come up a little at the same time. Imagine your whole alignment is with the spine. Dorsiflex.

Point, plantarflex, and then lower down. Everything together. And stretch away, and lift. Heels in line with the tailbone, in line with the head. Flex in parallel.

And point. And lower down. Watch your toes, both of you, when you flex. Think of flexing from your ankle, rather than from the toes. So stretch away.

And now just feel that you're lengthening through the achilles as you flex, keeping the toes long. Point, and lower. One more. And lift. Now work from your ankle, from the achilles. That's it.

Okay, point. And down. The thing is, try not to curl and open your toes. Keep the toes very long. Okay, this time, you're going to lift, as you've done, turn the legs out.

Now lower both legs turned out onto the ground. Head goes down just a little. Now from there, passe on the top leg to the knee. So draw the big toe up through the center. Place the inside of the foot down onto the knee. Push down.

Now from there, lift your knee up to 90 degrees to the floor. Now keep the knee there, and extend the lower leg out. Now when you're there, turn out just a little more. And now lower your leg back to first. To first. Sorry.

And passe. Push down. Just to the knee. Push down. Now left the knee to 90 degrees, no more. Extend.

And now turn out a little more. Tummy in. And lower to first. And bend. Press down.

Point. Lift the knee up. Extend. Turn out. Now hold the turn, bend the knee, and take it back towards the inside of your knee. Attitude.

Arabesque. Now, with the arabesque you can reach forward a little with the upper torso and stretch your arm out. Keep the turn out as you stretch away. Dorsiflex the foot. Push back a little more. And then bring it back to first, and then point.

And bend. Push down. Now as you bring the knee up to 90 degrees, pull up through the stomach muscles as well. So when you straighten your leg you feel the lift through the waistline. And rotate in this position, rotate, without dropping the hip back.

Bend your knee, bringing the big toe back. Now concentrate on what's happening with your stomach as you take your leg into attitude. Arabesque. And reach out, reach out, reach out, reach out. And return, with the flex.

Good. Other side. So we'll do... We'll do four with the lifts, just flex, and point, and down. Then the lift with the rotation. Look over your shoulder so you're in a straight line.

Don't fall off the back of the bed. And stretch away. Think of the bottom leg doing the work, the top leg relaxes. And flex. Watch those toes, Kata. Point. And lower.

And stretch. And flex. Nice. Just imagine the achilles tendon is lengthening. It's sort of sliding to get the back of the leg open-- back of the ankle open. And lift.

And ankle, ankle, ankle. And stretch. And down. We'll have to have little splits on there. (chuckles) And lift. Flex.

When you flex, feel the lift right up through your center as you do it. Point, and then down. So, let's do the turn out now. So lift. Turn out. Lower down. Bend the top leg up to the knee.

Slowly draw the big toe up the side of the leg to the knee. Gently press the whole foot down into the knee. Point. Lift your knee up-- keep the hip square-- to 90 degrees. Extend from the knee joint.

Turn out. And lower. So when you extend from the knee joint, you'll feel the muscles just about the knee working a little more by keeping the top of your leg in one place. Press down. Lift on the bottom side. So you think of lifting your waistline up off the floor just a little.

Now extend the leg. Rotate out, and lower. If you think of your hips, stay in a straight line throughout the whole thing. And bend. Push down.

Lift the knee. Stay there one second. Drop the hip down just a little. There we go. And extend. Draw up through here. That's good.

Turn out. Point your toe, come back. Bend your knee again, back down. Attitude. So we're just doing two in each position.

Arabesque. Flex, let's flex and push the leg further back. Really stretch, but keeping the lower back in place. Stretch into the back and thigh here. There you go. And now return. That's it.

A little more connection into the back of the leg here as you do it. Let me see it again. Bend. And push down. Point, extend. Lift the thigh first. Extend.

Turn out. Bend the knee again. Now think of working into here, Kata. Go down first. Now as you go into attitude, feel the back of the leg working. That's better. Okay.

Push away, feeling where my finger is. Nice. At the same time, pull up the sternum muscles. Stretch on. Go on, stretch more, stretch more. Stretch. That's it. Okay. And return.

Back to your first side. What we'll do is from here we'll go attitude, arabesque, stretch the back, rond de jambe to the front, and then back. So you really have to hold onto your center. (laughter) So, turn out. Actually, let's lift the legs in parallel.

Now really rotate out. Lower the legs. And now bend. Passe. Push down. Point the knee up.

Extend the lower part of the leg. Turn out. Bend the knee. Attitude. Arabesque.

I've changed my mind on this one. Stay there. Flex. Now bring the leg through first, to the front, point, lift it up, over, into attitude, behind you, arabesque, and forward, into the first position, into starting. That's it. Shall we do that one more time? Please.

What I'm going to do, Kata, I'm just going to stand here. Now... Bend, lift the knee up. Extend. Bend the knee. Attitude.

Way back. Stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch. Bring the leg through. Point to the front. Point, and up. And over. (laughs) My inner thighs are working. Attitude.

Arabesque. Arabesque. And I'm going to walk away from here. There you go, that's better. And return. Very good.

Did we do the other side with that one? No, we didn't, did we. Let's try the other side. You see the difference when you really hold this still. The legs work much more.

(laughs) It costs more. Try and recreate that feeling of working through here. So lift the legs up. Turn out. Lower down.

And bend. Push. Push down with the knee, and the foot. As you lift your knee up to the 90 degree angle, pull up the abs a little more. And stretch up. So bend the knee.

And be ready for the attitude in this one so you're preparing with the abdominals before you go back into the rotated position. And now pull up as you stretch back behind you. Pull up a little more. That's better. That's much better. Flex.

Now as you pull through second, pull up through your center, point and go forward, and lift up, over, and attitude again. And stretch. And pull through. Do one more. You know what was happening?

You lifted your hip. Did you feel that? So bend the knee. Bend the knee again. So you need to keep this dropped down all the time. Now point.

Now attitude. This was okay. This was fine. Stretch out. Now when you came through to the front, what you did, you lifted your hip to get the leg up. So you need to keep this here.

And it doesn't matter if the leg goes-- it doesn't need to go too far forward. Hold the hip here and work into here to lift your leg. That's it. Okay? So let's keep it at 90 degrees all the way, so you don't have to get it any higher. One more time.

And bend. Push down. Thigh up. Extend. Point, and bend the knee, and go down. Now before you go into attitude, feel that you're lifting through your center to support the weight of the leg going behind you.

It's almost easier when you're standing up because you can get the thing of lifting out of the standing leg. This is much more difficult. That's better. Go a little further back. And come through. Reach forward, point your toes. Point.

Now pull down here and pull up the tummy as you go 90 degree up. That's it. Good, good, good. What's this? And relax, back behind you, and down. Good. Stretch the leg out.

And return. Very nice. And relax. Okay, lying on your back. Let's do... Let's do the traditional double leg stretch, on two counts.

And try not to do too much fancy things with your arms. What I want is just the arms to go back to get the length through the waistline. So lift your knees up. Bring your head forward. And off you go. And stretch.

And then back. And stretch, and back. And one, and back. One, and back. Good. One, and back. And relax.

Now we're gonna do it on four counts. So what you do, you're gonna hold onto your ankles. Hold onto your ankles. Bring your upper torso forward. Now as you breathe in, you're going to stretch your arms and legs to about 60 degrees.

Flex and turn out. Breathe out. Take your arms back behind your head. Breathe in and bring them back around. Reach up towards your toes. Point. Bend your knees and take hold of your ankles, and keep the head forward.

So breathe in and stretch up. Flex and turn out. Now rotate your arms as you go back so you can get a long stretch. Pull the scapula down as you come around. Point. Bend your knees, and lower.

Bring the upper torso forward just a little more, Kata. That's it. Flex into that. Use your inner thighs to help as you stretch back. And around. Point, and down. Last one.

And stretch. Turn the hands and reach. And around. Point, and down. Okay. And rest.

I want you to turn-- It's very easy just to, as dancers, to bring your arms like so. But I want you to pull back so the scapula comes up, and then it rotates down as you come around so you're getting a full range of movement with the scapula. So the next one is, we're gonna do it on six counts. So from here, one, two, three, four, five, six. With the head forward all the time.

Bring your head forward. Breathe in, and reach. Flex and turn out. Arms back. Arms up. 90 degrees with your arms.

Legs down. Point, lift them up. Bend your knees, and take hold. So breathe in, and stretch up. Flex, and turn out.

Arms way back. Around. Lift your arms up to here. Now lower your legs slowly. Point. Lift. Lift, lift, lift, lift, lift, lift.

Legs up a little higher. And then bend your knees and take hold. And stretch. Flex. Around. Reach. Flex down.

Point. Lift up. Bend your knees, and down. Last one. And stretch. Flex. Around.

Lower. Lift. And down. Okay, can we try one more, but what I want you to do, when you stretch your arms and legs I want you to think of your sternum coming forward as well. So you're reaching with the sternum at the same time. Stretch out.

That's it. Lift your sternum a little more. And arms. Around. Reach up. Lower the legs. Point. Lift.

Bend your knees, and relax. Very nice. Let's sit with our feet on the floor. Swing around and place both feet. This is your homework. I want you to have your feet side by side.

Ideally it would be good to sit on a chair, or a stool, so your thighs at right angles with the floor. But what I want you to do is just to feel that you're doming, so you're lifting the instep away from the floor, but keeping the weight into the big toe. And then let go. And pull in. And lift. Lift, lift, lift, lift.

Good. And let go. Now this time do the doming. Now lift your heels off the ground, keeping the doming effect. Now pull your toes and your feet towards you.

And lower down, and stretch away again. And dome. Lift your heels. Keep the dome, keep the dome. And pull.

And down. One more time. We're gonna lift the heels first. Not too high. Just lift the heel up. That's it. Good. Now dome. And now pull.

And relax down. One more time. So heels up first. Dome. And pull towards you. Good. Now stretch your legs out.

Now just dorsiflex. Now feel from the back of your ankle, feel the achilles tendon, as you point. What I'm going to do is just place my foot-- My foot. My finger there. Now push into my finger. No, no, no. Don't do anything with the toes.

Just push. Yes, that's it. There we go. So from here, we're going to flex, Sarah, and now just push. Push hard. And just lengthen through the front of the foot.

There we go. So it stops you from really spreading your toes and you get much more strength into your foot. Great. Thank you very much. That's great. Fantastic.


Taghrid K
I have been trying to watch this video for the last 3 days but I have been unsuccessful, I can't find out why. Thank you for your help.
Taghrid K
I tried the audio option which did work but I am a visual person and don't have any dancing experience so don't know the positions.
Taghrid K
2 people like this.
Finally after trying many times it worked and it was certainly worth all the effort. Couldn't figure out why but happy it worked.
Loved the slow deliberate pace and felt I worked very hard. Thank you Alan.
Taghrid ~ I'm sorry that you had trouble with this video, but I'm glad to hear that it seems to be working for you now. If you ever have any trouble with future videos, please email us at
Horrible audio. Unable to watch.
1 person likes this.
Very precise and deep work! Thanks
Judy ~ I'm sorry you ad trouble with the audio. Can you tell us what the problem was exactly? The more we know about the issue you are having, the easier it will be for us to fix it. Please email us at so we can help you with this issue.
Amazing class! Thanks
Always enjoy every seconds of your class . Very simple and clear and also challenging . Thanky you so much Alen !
Excellent class learned so much and my clients love the visuals mentioned in this class x loved the ballet bias too
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