Unleashing Your Strength: Core-Boosting Exercises for the Stage

Unleashing Your Strength: Core-Boosting Exercises for the Stage

Strengthening the Cornerstone of Your Stage Presence

As a performer, your core is the unsung hero of your stage presence. It’s the foundation that supports your every move, the engine that powers your dynamic range, and the stabilizer that keeps you grounded even in the most intense moments. But if we’re being honest, how often do we really focus on strengthening this crucial area?

If you’re like me, the answer is probably “not enough.” Between the endless hours of rehearsals, the grueling performance schedules, and the constant pursuit of vocal and acting perfection, it’s all too easy to neglect the physical side of our craft. But let me tell you, my friends – that’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.

The Surprising Importance of Core Strength

I remember the first time I really experienced the transformative power of core strength. It was during a particularly demanding tech rehearsal for a new musical, and I was struggling. My movements felt heavy, my balance was off, and I could almost feel the audience’s energy draining away with every faltering step.

Frustrated, I turned to our resident physical therapist, the incredible Annie, for help. She took one look at me and immediately zeroed in on the culprit: my core.

“Your abdominal muscles are weak,” she said, “and that’s throwing off your entire kinetic chain. Let me show you some exercises that will have you feeling stronger and more grounded in no time.”

And boy, was she right. Over the next few weeks, I faithfully followed her core-boosting routine, and the difference was night and day. My movements became sharper, my balance more secure, and my energy levels skyrocketed. It was like I had unlocked a new level of stage presence, and the audience could feel it.

Unleashing Your Flamenco Beast

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But I’m not a dancer, I’m a musical theater performer. What does flamenco have to do with me?” Well, my friends, let me introduce you to the brilliant Rina Orellana, a flamenco dance expert who has some invaluable insights to share.

According to Rina, the key to unlocking your full performance potential lies in building a strong core. “Having a strong core – abs and back – is essential to dancing flamenco,” she writes. “If you regularly practice yoga or pilates, you already have a strong core. Other exercises you can do are planks and side planks, as well as banana and superman.”

But Rina doesn’t stop there. She also emphasizes the importance of high-intensity training to boost your power and endurance. “Try some sprints, kettlebell swings, or heavy weight lifting,” she suggests. “This high-intensity stuff will help you power through those intense moments of dancing.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But I’m not a flamenco dancer, I’m a musical theater performer. What does this have to do with me?” Well, my friends, the principles of core strength and high-intensity training are universal. They apply just as much to the stage as they do to the dance floor.

Putting It All Into Practice

So, how can you start unleashing your inner flamenco beast and building a core of steel? Here are a few of my favorite exercises to get you started:


This classic core-strengthener is a must-have in any performer’s arsenal. Start in a push-up position, engaging your abs and glutes to keep your body in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest and repeat.

Side Planks

Similar to a regular plank, but with a twist (literally). Lie on your side, prop yourself up on your elbow, and lift your hips off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Banana Holds

Lie on your back with your arms extended overhead and your legs straight. Engage your core to lift your hips, shoulders, and head off the ground, creating a “banana” shape with your body. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest and repeat.

Superman Holds

Start on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you and your legs straight behind you. Engage your core to lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground, creating a “superman” position. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest and repeat.

And don’t forget to mix in some high-intensity exercises, like sprints, kettlebell swings, or even just some good old-fashioned jumping jacks. The key is to get your heart rate up and your muscles working hard – the perfect recipe for building a core that can handle the demands of the stage.

The Holistic Approach to Performance Fitness

Of course, core strength is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being a fit and fearless performer. That’s why it’s important to take a holistic approach to your physical training, incorporating elements of yoga, Pilates, and even flamenco-inspired movements.

As Rina so eloquently puts it, “Any kind of yoga will help you because you gain strength and mobility. However, you also learn to be IN THE MOMENT with yoga and to breathe through the difficult poses. This will help your concentration in class and keep you breathing through those intense moments of dancing.”

And let’s not forget the power of the mind-body connection. When you’re physically strong and centered, it has a transformative effect on your stage presence. You’ll feel more confident, more grounded, and more able to truly immerse yourself in the moment – and your audience will feel it, too.

So, my fellow performers, what are you waiting for? It’s time to unleash your inner flamenco beast and take your stage presence to new heights. Head over to www.musicaltheatercenter.org to explore our top-notch training programs and start building the core of a champion. Your stage is waiting.

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