Tips For Balancing Your Needle or Scorpion

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The needle – a lot of dancers want to master these.  You often see them in solos and as features in group dances. So, how do you do them and balance at the same time.  Read below for tips from Dance Teachers as to how to balance your needle or scorpion.

Reader Questions:

How can I help build up my balance to pull my needle?  
How do you stretch for your scorpion and needle? What do you need to stretch to get them?



The best way to build your balance is to stretch and become more flexible. The most important facet is to build your core. There are many exercises out there to help you do that. Find the ones you like and alternate them. Also, practice your needle everyday. The more you practice, the more confident you will feel!

There are many things you can do to work on your scorpion. There’s a few very important things to remember while stretching and working on flexibility: Never bounce while stretching. Slowly ease into a stretch. Listen to your body and don’t push too hard. To get or improve your scorpion, you need to really work on the flexibility in your back and hamstrings.

For your back you can do back bends. Once you have done this and are comfortable you can lift your right leg up straight and hold it for 10-20 seconds then repeat with the left. You can increase the time as you feel comfortable. You can also lay on the ground on your stomach and lift arms and legs off the ground. This will strengthen your lower back.

You will need to stretch your hamstrings and you can sit in straddle position and stretch making sure to stretch both sides equally. If you are able to do the splits you can sit in your splits and bend your back leg up with toes pointed.


Balancing for your needle, or standing back split, can be VERY difficult. First of all, you MUST obtain a certain amount of back flexibility before even thinking about holding it in a balance. Once you are sure you can consistently grab your leg and keep your back in the correct position, working towards balance will become much easier. Several balance exercises include:

1) Planking! Strengthening your core muscles by planking the correct way is an awesome way to improve balance and stability.

2) Get into your standing split/needle and have a partner hold your waist or hips. Once you are ready, tell them to step away. Do this several times to improve how many counts you can hold the balance!

3) Ballet work at the barre- holding passes, balancing with your leg devant, a la seconde, or arabesque all in releve will improve your balance! Let go of the barre when ready!

4) SPOTTING! Spotting isn’t just a great tool for turns! It also helps with balancing and focus. In your needle, stare at your foot above your head, or stare at something on the wall straight ahead in front of you. FULLY FOCUS on this spot and you will hold the position for a longer period of time.

Stretching for your scorpion or needle comes from several different areas of the body. Obviously, the back is your number one area of focus. Bridges, bridge rocks (moving front and back in the bridge position), laying on your stomach and pushing up to the seal/cobra stretch and trying to touch your feet to your head, and standing back bends are all great ways to improve back flexibility. Other areas that most people don’t think about when improving these skills are the hip flexors! Lunges for days!! If your hips are properly stretched, there is no way you will ever be able to pull your leg up behind you. Your hamstrings also need a good stretch because you are standing on the supporting leg, and while pulling the working leg up, that bottom leg will need to be long and extended! Also, ARMS AND SHOULDERS! Grab your hands together behind your back and push your chest out! Give those arms and shoulder blades a good stretch so you are able to actually reach the leg in the back!

Meet the teachers…

More tips for improving back flexibility



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