Having great posture is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, however, it tends to be something most people don’t pay much attention to. Fortunately, if you are taking dance lessons, it is something to will learn to focus on. Let’s begin with some “myths” about great posture:
1. You should have a flat back. It is likely you’ve been told at some point in your life “tuck your pelvis forward, flatten your back, and eliminate the natural curve in your back”. 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. It will also be easier to adjust to a someone curved back opposed to a flat back.
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.
3. Keep a toned frame. Remember, 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. However, you should 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 straining your neck. 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, elongating the spine. 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 anything new, it takes practice and awareness but you will notice a great difference in your dancing and overall physical health!