Pilates: Leg Circles

Lie on your back with one leg raised to a 90 degree angle with your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Keep the other leg either stretched out parallel in front of you along the floor or with the knee bent. Make sure your pelvis is (and remains) in neutral. Arms should be in a T position with palms facing down.

With two inhales you are going to circle the leg twice from the outside in (or clockwise), no more than hip-width distance apart. Imagine your toe drawing a circle in the air. On the next two exhales you will circle the leg the other way twice, anti-clockwise.

Your breathing rythm should be, “inhale, inhale” then “exhale, exhale” in a “pulsing” manner so it has a dynamic to it, with your leg following this dynamic. Repeat for 4 sets, then a 2 full breaths of inhale, exhale to lower and change to the other leg – repeat on the other side. Then repeat the whole sequence again.

Lengthen the leg away at all times and remain neutral in the pelvis and spine. Try not to grip in the hips. You will feel the pelvis wanting to move with the leg, but hold it steady with your  abdominals. Keep the circles small and precise and the supporting leg parallel and stable.


Lisa Marie Probert

I was born in Somerset and studied at both the Royal Ballet School lower and upper schools.

I joined London City Ballet in 1995 and the English National Ballet in 1997, where I appeared in Derek Deanes first performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall. Later in 1997 I joined Peter Schaufuss Ballet in Denmark as a principal dancer, performing (among other roles) White Swan and Priscilla in the King and Aurora. I rejoined ENB in 2000 and danced there for 9 years taking lead roles in Alice In Wonderland, Nutcracker, Snow Queen and numerous other ballets.

Since leaving ENB in 2009, I have guested with Ballet Ireland as Juliet in R&J and danced freelance work. I was a guest artist in Brussels and Estonia, where I also coached dancers in classical and neo-classical works.

As well as dancing, I am a qualified pilates teacher and am currently undertaking a diploma with the BBO to teach classical ballet.

I feel close to my first love of ballet when I am not dancing by writing about it… and so I am thoroughly enjoying and appreciating the chance to pass on my knowledge and experiences of dance to others through the Dance Direct Blog! This is my first experience of public writing and it is a fantastic creative outlet. Teaming it to something I am so passionate about is a most enjoyable and satisfying experience for me!

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