Spine

Why is keeping your spine in proper position so important? If you are just standing still, applying proper posture may not feel like much of a change. Excluding age and injuries, nobody needs help standing still without falling over. Even still, posture is first taught in a standstill position. Because your posture can have such little effect on your balance when standing still, often students will not understand the importance of maintaining proper posture. For me, I first noticed the importance of my posture when I was working on other parts of the body. This was long after many years of coaching and competing professionally. I had coaches yell at me about my posture all the time, and though I understood its importance, I did not know how to work on improving and applying better posture. No matter how much I convinced myself of its importance, I did not truly understand how it worked alongside the other movements I was focused on. As a result, I did not work on my posture.

 I had a clear route to solving other problems that I felt I fully understood, so why would I take time to work on something I did not fully understand? This was a smart process, though I doubted it at the time. As a result of letting the focus on my spine go, I found that I was able to isolate and improve other actions in the body. It was only after doing so that I noticed how important the spine’s position is. I found that when I maintained holding my proper spine position, it made doing the other actions I was focused on, much easier to achieve. I believe I first noticed this when I began working a lot on my upper body. In an attempt to use my scapula (or lats, as it was said to me), I would very often curve or bend my spine to create more upper body action. This was fine when I didn’t have to rotate. But as we know, the more advanced you get, the more rotation will be added in. When I had to rotate, it became difficult to complete my weight transfer in a calm and controlled demeanor. I eventually realized it was because I tilted my spine to create upper body action, which put me in a position that prevented me from being able to make a complete weight change. Thus, I now had at least one area that I knew I could practice working on my spine that made sense to me.

My point is this… You can only understand how your spine works when you are applying it to movement. I am not saying that thinking about good posture when standing still is worthless. It is extremely helpful to remind yourself about good posture at all times. But if you are wanting to take it to the next level, if you want to understand more in depth the role that the spine plays when dancing, then you must begin to think about your spine’s position while you are moving through your routine. You must learn to multitask at greater levels. Be conscious of bending and straightening your knees (or whatever you are working on), but make sure you are thinking about your posture at the same time.

 The equation is this:

 posture + pattern + specified action = new understanding

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