Training Arabesque

This clip demonstrates how to help your students achieve beautiful arabesque lines by working in the quadruped position. Often students don’t understand the spiraling action of the spine as well as how to track the back leg correctly. It becomes much clearer when working from this kneeling position.

Thanks to Elizabeth Gillaspy who is an amazing teacher and very clear demonstrator!

To your success,


6 replies
  1. Ruth Ziegler
    Ruth Ziegler says:

    Great exercise! I give this one, and variations of it, to my students and they love that spiraling feeling you describe. When students master this and are ready for a more challenging one, I have them do the extension of the leg seen in this exercise, while having hands on the floor, and one knee on a large stability ball. They then extend the working leg towards the ceiling. It gives so much valuable feedback because of the unstable surface. There is a build up we use – either having another student or teacher provide hands on the ball to keep in from moving too much at first, or having the student place the ball next to a wall to again keep the ball from moving too much. Of course this exercise is always supervised by the instructor as well.

  2. Meredith Dunham
    Meredith Dunham says:

    I do have students who greatly tense their backs and we’ve been actively trying to relax those muscles, floating the spine upward rather than gripping down. Any thoughts on working spine mobility?

    • deborah
      deborah says:

      Hi Meredith, That’s a good image of floating the spine upwards! I would suggest mobilizing with spinal rotation. I would also check their breathing patterns. I find quite a few dancers with unstable cores with increased holding in the thoracic spine.


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