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too much arch in my back?


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i am wonder if there is such a thing as too much arch in your spine? er, my spine. :> when i stand up straight it looks as if i am arching my back on purpose and sticking my butt out. it makes it quite difficult to "tuck my butt" and look like i mean it. after a full day of being on my feet the curve really feels exaggerated. is this something that can be corrected, maybe with sit ups and the like? or am i stuck? i feel like i am slouching the wrong way! :wink:

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Elise, you can't change your basic structure, however you can change your alignment to make you look straighter. The first thing you must NOT do is TUCK your butt under! This is not alignment at all, and causes a reverse curve that is not good for anything. Alignment for a person with a strong natural curve in the spine really needs to be done by someone who can see you and move your body into place to help you feel where the right place is. I suggest seeing your teacher for that! I really would not want to try and correct you from here. :wink:

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Elise, please listen to Miss. Leigh and it is so true what she says! I am living proof that it can indeed be done, but you will need to work hard at it and make that one of your main goals...For myself I realised that this issue needed to be adressed seriously and rapidly because it was really impairing my advancment in ballet (lack of good posture= bad chaine turns, bad pirouette, zero balance, Name it!).

I have what is called "lordosis" which, in my case, is a pretty pronounced curvature in my lumbar spine. Let's say that if I stand against a wall, there is a big enough space between the wall and my back to fit both of my arms and a bit more....So after working hard with my teacher and ALWAYS reminding myself in each and every class, troughout each exercise, I am glad to say that this problem is almost gone and a more correct elongated spine is starting to feel more natural for mec ...You are not alone and you WILL correct this if you put your heart to it! It is no easy. Good luck!


Now, if i could learn to pointe my feet more, to do better plie, straigthen my knees in arabasque....Ahhh! the on going process of ballet!!


See ya!

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One of the better ways to avoid a sway-back is, rather than think about "tucking under" is to imagine the spine lengthening. You use different muscles, and it promotes good alignment without the danger of pushing the hips too far forward. This is a general sort of advice for all kinds of people, so not dangerous to advise online.

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Elise, I've had problems similar to yours, and I'll add to sylphide's words of warning and encouragement... my teacher and I have been working on fixing the alignment of my back both in class and in private lessons. In my case, my teacher thinks that my misalignment is caused (or at least aggravated) by holding tension in the lower back and rear end, or by using back muscles instead of my low stomach to hold my center... what she has me do instead is try to relax all those muscles- when I remember to do it, it makes a huge difference, especially in arabesque or in any kind of turn! But, fixing those bad habits (which can come not just from your dancing habits, but also your posture in everyday life) is the sort of thing that's incredibly hard to improve on your own... the proper alignment doesn't always feel right at first. If you can manage it, I highly recommend doing a private lesson with your teacher. I've done hour long privates with my teacher where I did nothing but plies and tendus while my teacher watched my rear and back to alert me when I tried to tighten up... but now when I think about my back muscles and my butt muscles, I can control the curve. I really urge you to get your teacher to help you work on your alignment, even if its just for a few minutes after class... not only will you see tremendous improvement in your dancing, but you may prevent serious injury to your back as well. Best of luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also have a swayback and my teacher constantly has to ask me to lean forward. How i'm supposed to do that i'm still figuring out :wink: because when i lean forward i stick my butt out and look really weird :thumbsup: But apparently that's what is going to correct my swayback posture :wink:

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I am much more turned out with my legs slightly in front of me -- which means that when I stand up, I can turn out more if I tilt my pelvis back.


WHIch leads to lots of problems....


thehardest part to conquer is that I don't have as much turn-out on hte left leg as the right, so the re are MANY factors to factor in to getting square...............I find the MOST useflu tinikg now is to lift the pelvic floor at all times, AND to LIFT HTE RIB CAGE from T-12 -- i.e., resist the impulse to poush hte lower ribs forward, but lif the HWHOLE rib cage from hte bottom rib, wiile preventing the ribs from "exploding"-- otherwisemy ribs fall back, my back sways, and I'm stuck.....

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Guest beckster

I'm adding my name to the list of people with an overly arched lower back :wink:. It took me a long time to understand that when I felt like I was standing up straight, my upper back was way too far back and my stomach was sticking out. The correct position felt like I was leaning forwards but now I have got used to it, it doesn't feel weird any more. I still stand with an arched back sometimes outside class but I try to remember to lift up out of my hips which straightens my back.


Someone told me that it is sometimes due to having a weak stomach, and that the more you work your stomach muscles the easier it is to maintain the correct posture. It is true that when I have been working harder on my stomach, my posture looks better!

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Becky, this advice and observation is entirely true. You have to support your back by using your front! It will definitely feel odd, but when things come under control, you'll feel more comfortable, and look better allover. :wink:

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Believe it or not, years ago, orthopedists actually taught the tucking method. When I was of much tender age, I had been experiencing terrible low back pain and was intially treated with alcohol rubs and a turn at the diathermy machine. I think back then I was not controlling my back when landing from jumps. I went to an orthopedic doctor who instructed me on tucking and gave me a sheet with tucking exercises.


Shortly thereafter, one of my instructors, who also taught our anatomy class for dancers, asked me what the devil I was doing. He looked alarmed when I told him I was trying to straighten my spine, and ordered me to see him after class. He then told me a tale about back when he was at Julliard, a female dancer/friend was trying to do the same thing, and he predicted she'd be in traction within the year. It happened.


That's when I got my first education about the natural curves of the back, and how tucking does a number of harmful things including 1) shortening the spine and 2) compressing the wonderful spongy material we have between our vertabrae, and eroding it in that manner.


I stopped tucking and regarded, in particular, the teachings of Lulu Sweigard, implementing much imagery to help rectify my problem. I will say that over the years I never got much out of any teacher actually physically placing me. The reason is that as soon as they let go of you with their hands and fingers, your body can't simply remember what was just placed where. It has to be more internalized than that.


For me, a combination of imagery and a strong torso have worked to combat the problem. Another image I like is that of "high hips" (high apple pie in the sky hips ... :wink: ).


I would add a caution to dancers with lordosis about the kinds of exercises they use to strengthen that torso. While I do not endorse sit-ups, with the exception of those I do on the Pilates machine, I'd point out that the traditional sit-up can be particularly dangerous for those with swaybacks. Straight leg lowering of both legs can also put tremendous pressure on the lower back. Dancers need to heed their individual needs and limitations in this respect, and not feel pressured to go along with everything that's being done in a workout just to fit in.

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because when i lean forward i stick my butt out and look really weird  But apparently that's what is going to correct my swayback posture

Kelsey, the important aspect of this is NOT to lean forward only... that won't work, and indeed, your bum will stick out... Instead, you must go 'up and over'... That's the only way you will be able to 'lean' and also not to let it all hang below the waist... It's also the only way your legs will 'fit' underneath you, in fifth position... and allow for your bum to be active, rather than just 'sit' there. :thumbsup:

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Balletowoman, thanks for the excellent advice! The light bulb in my head lighted up when i saw 'up and over'. And that bit about being able to fit your legs under in fifth...that is so true! I was having problems standing in fifth, and i feel so much more 'compact' when i'm up and over. Makes so much sense now. Thanks a million! Now for the everyday practice.... :)

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