Having great posture is a vital part of living a healthy life. Unfortunately, it is not something that many people spend time focusing on. If you are taking dance lessons, you are in luck as it is a part of your curriculum. Let’s uncover the Myths about Posture
1. You should have a flat back. If you’ve ever danced ballet, it’s likely you’ve been told to tuck your pelvis forward, flatten your back, eliminating the natural curve in your back. I have heard this in ballroom dancing and even in Pilates. While it may serve a function in ballet or Pilates, I would not recommend you eliminate the curve in your back for everyday. For great posture (in ballroom dancing as well) you don’t want to tilt your pelvis back, sticking out your rear end, nor do you want to tuck the pelvis forward locking up the movement of your legs. Keep a small natural curve in your back while standing or dancing.
2. Lift up your chest. Those four words can be deceiving. Many people think rolling your shoulders back and lifting up your chest, means you have good posture. The problem is that most often people lift the chest up high, causing them to put all of their weight on their heels. Instead, pull your chest up without opening your rib cage. You want to be tall from the front and the back.
Quick tip – Sitting at a desk slouched at a computer all day can wreak havoc on your body and definitely posture. Be aware of your posture as you are working. You chair height should be set so your thighs are parallel to the floor and your arms should also make a right angle when typing. Remember to move your eyes away from the computer screen occasionally to give your eyes and neck a rest. Be sure to give yourself a stand up break as well. Your body and posture will thank you for it.
3. Keep a toned frame. A toned frame is not a stiff frame. When you are in a dance frame, your frame should have tone in it without your muscles flexing or veins popping out. When you are moving from position to position the elbows should bend, they should not remain in a locked position. It shall however move with some resistance much like a spring. The goal is to always have the hands in the middle of the two people thus the arms must bend in and out to maintain this position.
4. Keep Your Head Up. Keeping your head up does not mean to lift up your chin so high that you end up with your neck crunching in the back. It is all about symmetry, just like your posture. You want to have your chin (and eyes) up but also maintain a long neck in the back. When you dance you want to be long from the front and the back.
Good posture is all about symmetry and natural alignment, not forcing ourselves into contorted positions. Of course, like one of our older students who gained 2 inches of height over a short time of taking lessons. You may have to force your body into those positions after a lifetime of bad habits. Awareness and practice is the key to attaining and maintaining great posture.
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