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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ribs are sticking out


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My rips are sticking out and I really have a hard time to control this problem. :clapping: I am already doing better but it takes so much concentration to work on that problem that I can only concentrate on my rips or on the combination. Anybody else has this problem?

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My rips are sticking out and I really have a hard time to control this problem.  :huepfen: I am already doing better but it takes so much concentration to work on that problem that I can only concentrate on my rips or on the combination. Anybody else has this problem?


Goodness, I hope you mean your 'ribs' as in ribcage!!! :grinning: If not, all you need is a good piece of thread and a needle :clapping:


It very well could be that your rib problem could be related to a compromise in the pelvis.


Are your sitz bones pointing straight down at the floor? Are you able to hold your abs and work the muscles in the back of your legs? Are you being sure to lift-off the entire ribcage and not just the front?


Everything has an action and a reaction, so frequently, when there is a problem in one place, you can find that the counterbalance point is also off a bit.


Other than that, it certainly will take concentration on your part to correct it. Remember, Ballet is a journey...not a destination!


Clara 76

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Most of my serious work on placement is done at the barre, where I don't need to worry so much about getting the combination right. If you're diligent about your barre work, eventually you build the right feeling and muscle memory that the work in center will improve as well. It'll take time (lots of time).

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I meant ribs actually :blushing: (embarrassing fault - sorry English is my second language). I think my ribcage is more "open" if this makes any sense. Also, my ribcage seems to be slightly twisted towards the right which makes my left rib stick out more then my right one.


Sound terrible but I do not look like Quasimodo :shrug: I got it already slightly corrected - it has nothing to do with my lower body though, I am quite happy with that part of my body. It is just when I hold my abs too tight, my ribs are sticking out. Teacher told me that I have to lean more forward (which makes me feel like Quasimodo!) :blink: Dont know how to explain it in a different way...

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Guest Hilarie

I had problems with sticky-outy ribs for years! It was just like you describe, you can concentrate on your ribs or on what you're doing.


Are you doing Pilates? I started being able to control my ribcage much better after a few months of Pilates... I guess it helps develop the muscles in that area.

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It is just when I hold my abs too tight, my ribs are sticking out.

Could it be that you 'squeeze' your stomach in, rather than use the abs correctly (that's different. When I pull my stomach in, my ribs tend to lift, while when I use my abs, they first feel much stronger than by just squeezing my stomach in -for eg, I feel someone could punch me in the stomach and I'd be fine, to an extent- and my ribcage doesn't move an inch).


Also, be careful to not necessarily only 'lean forward', but lengthen the whole body up and over (the back is still very straight that way and, very important, still have that elastic idea that the lower body reaches for the floor -as if you had roots). Up and over will feel like your nose is forward of your hip bones, but have a look in the mirror to adjust it so that your upper body is straight.


In 'normal life', we all tend to 'sit' on our lower back (hence pain there often) and the head just counterbalance forward (like an old lady, or for eg, in this page: see graph/drawing ) You'll notice how the gaze of the person drawn on the right is downwards... To remedy it, the person would need to straighten the whole body and look more towards the front.


In your case, it could also be that you look too far high on the ceiling. A straight ahead gaze is usually not what I recommend (as on stage, you need to 'project' your dancing) but with a long neck and a nice posture, you wouldn't need to look neither on the floor, nor on the ceiling (in fact, you can't if you're placed correctly without crooking the neck).

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I’m not exactly sure what it means to have your ribs sticking out. I mean you cannot control their movement, so I am guessing that the real problem is misalignment of the spine. Actually, I think it is beneficial to think of it in terms of what the spine is doing rather than what is happening with the ribs.


Since day one of my dancing (not just ballet) I have had the tendency to lean back—i.e., ever so slightly curve the upper torso backward, which may be the same thing as sticking the ribs out. And I’m sorry to report that is still a problem I have 10 years later. If I consciously think of projecting the sternum forward and upward at about a 45 degree angle (it is a thought rather than a muscular action I try to make), there is no problem. But the moment I let go of the thought, I revert back. So, at least in my case, the problem is perpetual.


The good thing is that the amount of lean back has decreased over the years. I attribute that to two things. First, I’ve taken a whole lot of ballet classes and I do think that taking a lot of classes automatically (assuming that you listen and try) results in improvement. Second, outside of class I have done a lot of balancing, everything you do in class, and I think that helps a lot, especially when you think of lengthening your spine while you are balancing—“grow taller,” as one former teacher used to frequently say.


As has been said, the barre is a great place to conscientiously think of projecting the sternum forward and up. In fact, any more I tend to think of both degages (the slower ones anyway) and grand battements as exercises for projecting the sternum while the working leg is doing something else. In those exercises I never think of the working leg at all it seems.

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I have a large, superhero-like ribcage. teachers are always telling me to pull it in. I lay on the floor with a flat (not neutral) back to show them how big my ribcage is. Sometimes I do stick out my ribs, but often it is just how I'm built.

As a child I had a lot of allergies, a lot of coughing and sneezing gave me a large ribcage.



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I think I might have a big ribcage as well though it is certainly not a superhero ribcage :wub:

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I think I might have a big ribcage as well though it is certainly not a superhero ribcage :D


I try to imagine pushing my stomach down into my hips, this tends to make everthing line up correctly and gives a lot of stability to the spine.



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I think I have the same problem... I tend to pull my stomach in which makes my rib cage stick out a lot.... I am trying to stop doing that but while trying to remember combinations its hard to remember to pull up out of your hips and make sure that your back is straight at the same time! (Especially as I have had a lot of trouble with my back, and it tends to over arch putting a lot of strain in my lower back!) I guess if you stood a certain way for a long time, its really hard to learn something different!


Jen x

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Just a teen student here, so feel free to delete...


Sveral kids in my class are constantly getting this correction as of late and it seems to be from the placement of their arms. To the side, they are placing them too far behind them and to compensate for the weight being pushed back, they stick out their ribs.


Just another point to check, I suppose.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest kristinene

The fact that you notice one side of your rib cage is sticking out more makes me wonder about scoliosis. This is simply a curvature of the spine and is not uncommon. Unless it becomes severe it is not a problem, either. I have scoliosis to the degree that I notice it while I dance, especially lying on my back or sitting flat against the wall, but I'm able to correct any 'off' effects. The one thing I am unable to correct is that one side of my rib cage sticks out a bit further than the other. My ribs also have a 'distinctive' shape. They do 'stick out' even when my posture is correct, just because of their natural shape (and my rib cage isn't unusually large). Instead of being shaped like an oval, my ribcage is much more like a heart with the tip leveled off. This has gotten me a number of corrections from teachers that are 1) new to me or 2) only look at the ribs, not the entire upper body.


Good luck, and let us know if any of the plethera of advice given helps!

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I am glad that I am not the only one with this problem :blushing: I guess I will have to learn to live with my ribs sticking out a bit. I think I have it a bit better under control now, however, its still an area to work on :dry:

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Guest Aliebling

Could definitely be a bit of scoliocis as far as noticing it more on one side than the other. I have the same issue (except I noticed it in that for the longest time one of my shuolder blades wouldn't lie flat because my spine was actually where it wanted to be).


If that's the case (and it's not too extreme), then lots of focus on proper posture and the associated strengthening of the related muscles will take care of it.


I liked Balletowoman's description. Proper ballet posture is something you have to think about actively to start with (even to the extent of not being able to hold it and remember a combination), but it will come with time and eventually feel natural.


I knew I had finally overcome that problem when one of my teachers commented on how much better my posture had become.


Good luck!



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