Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Getting to the Core

One of the main areas of weakness I see in my students is lack of grace and control in their upper bodies, generating from a lack of core strength. But what I haven't realized until recently, is that it's not necessarily a lack of core strength, but a lack of awareness of their core and how to properly use it. I find that their arms, shoulders and upper backs are stiff and and hold all of their bodies' tension, which prohibits them from doing more than 2-3 turns and landing jumps properly. This was something I struggled with a lot as a young dancer and it wasn't until I was in my 20's that I realized my arms shouldn't move until after I engage my upper back, and then I felt I was truly dancing from head to toe.

Margot Fonteyn was known for her beautiful port de bras and grace. Here she dancing the Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty.

I found an excellent article in Dance Magazine (May 2010) that gives practical advice on teaching dancers to use their core and arms correctly. Check it out! Break Your Bad Habits: The Core Muscles

The article addresses bad habits as it relates to the core muscles and how to fix them. Habits such as:

  • Underused pelvic floor and transversus abdominus
  • Overly constricted core
  • Hypermobile lumbar spine

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