Space in the joints can be said to be a dancer’s survival kit. A somewhat strange term, space in the joints, dancers nevertheless are accustomed to this expression. Primordial for a healthy instrument, few, if any specific exercises programs exist to train the muscle which assure the healthy functioning (space) of the joints; the underlying force for movement and support to the bony structure.

Strengthening, and stretching the red muscle fibers, also called core muscles, but often confused with the body’s core – the abdominal area (I prefer the term red muscle fibers or deeper lying muscles), should be in progress before technique training as such begins. Pushing imaginary or real objects away from the center with relaxed superficial muscles is the key. Relaxing the superficial muscles is not always easy for dancers who enjoy feeling strong sensations in their muscles. Let us remember Valerie Grieg’s words: “We do not need a bulldozer to lift a pile of leaves” and avoid forceful contractions that risk pulling the joints closer together and compress the articulations.

With no nerve endings signaling contraction in the red muscle fibers, we have to trust proprioception and movement when we train the small isolated movement patterns, creating optimal space in the joints. Due to the red muscle fibers quality (endurance), the exercises should be performed in a slow manner and the lengthening can be held for long periods of time. A real object (Theraband) as resistance to the effortless efforts (after all there is effort involved) is proposed. Thus, a sound base for technique with correct alignment, a graceful instrument with elongated legs and arms, and the illusion of eternal lines of energy so sought after in ballet is formed.

Enhancing alignment and proprioception, this workshop will focus on space in the hip joints, shoulders and the spine.