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Pelvic placement


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Hello all,


I'm not sure if this is the appropriate forum, so if this needs to be moved to the health and nutrition, by all means move away!


I have a long list of Dr.'s in my family, both M.D. and D.O., and when my D.O. mother was doing rotations in Ostheopathic manipulation, she had the pleasure of working with a very gifted manipulation specialist. Needless to say, my 15th year was a very relaxed and comfortable one!


At the time, my osteopath noticed that I have a somewhat rare pelvic placement. Rather than sitting on top of my legs, or even in front, my pelvis sits behind my legs. To give a better picture, if you looked at me from the side, my legs come out at a curve from the bottom of my pelvis. It's certainly not as exaggerated as a "c" curve, but it's noticeable. For my size (not-quite-5'1"), I have a very wide (35") and flat pelvis.


Because I dance, and want to attain a very "straight" look, I feel that I may be over-arching my lower back and jutting my torso forward to compensate for my "strange" position (in my eyes, anyway!). As an adult, I wonder if I might do any exercises or work towards pulling up on my legs more to reduce this look, and just to get a better balance point in general. In short, how to get out of "sitting in" my squirrelly pelvis and legs?

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  • bluebillie


  • UCLAProf


  • Clara 76


  • WendyMichelle


A Teacher Moderator should be along to answer your questions in as much detail as is possible without seeing you :wacko: , but meanwhile, it might be useful for you to review Clara76's very useful sticky on Alignment.



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As you've described it, you have a relatively rare body configuration which involves a hyperextension, not of the knees, but of the hipjoint. :wacko:


Yes, by all means pull up out of your hips, and achieve an alignment where your hips are on the same vertical plumbline with your shoulders.

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Did you take ballet as a child, bluebillie?

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Mel~ Will do, certainly! Thanks for the response.


Clara76~ Yes, I took ballet from age 3, but I didn't start training seriously until age 8. As for my hips, I'm not sure if this is all genetics or in part due to dancing from an early age. I have my fathers legs and feet to a "T," but I haven't honestly seen him in anything tight enough to judge whether or not his legs jut forward from his pelvis. At his age, I think it would be hard to get him into a pair of tights!


I think I would mainly like to compensate for comfort and safety at this point; I will certainly be looking into Clara's post on alignment.

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It very well could be genetic, but what I find sometimes is that kids model their parents' posture, so if a parent tucks the pelvis under, the child will mimic the parent. It's just a weird little observation I have. Look closely at pictures of you as a 2-3 yr. old; does your pelvis tuck under, or do you have a lovely natural curve in your lumbar spine? (I'll bet you have a normal curve)


It might be possible to improve upon your current alignment. Please do take a look at the post, but also do some research of your own. I think you will find that as a child, you were told to "tuck your behind in", when in ballet class, and from what you saw modeled at home, it could be that it stuck.


Maybe not, but why not see if you can improve upon it while you're taking ballet class now? :)

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Thanks for the advice. As I child I did have that "lovely" natural curve in my lumbar, but I was very shy and eager to please, and I may have "tucked" under in class simply because a teacher was trying to visually compensate for my strange legs!


Currently, when looking at myself sideways in the mirror, I find that I have difficulty "sticking" at the point between a tucked pelvis and a flexed back. I may post some pictures; it might be easier to suggest exercises and "food for thought" if you have the opportunity to see exactly what I am talking about.

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I think that would be a good idea, bluebillie. It is always easier if we can see the problem. :)

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While I'm working on my pictures, I thought I'd post my progress with this ongoing problem.


I just took a ballet barre, and made some interesting discoveries. First, while I'm not "tucking under" to a great extent (I'm not pulling a Fosse-esque thrust here :wink: ), when I began my plies in 1st position, I definitely felt not only a pulling up and in, but a pulling under as well. Almost as if an ice cream scoop were "scooping" from front to back, an underlying "c" curve. Due to this scooping, my thighs (at the top) had a superficial turned out look, but I didn't feel like I was working any of the correct muscle groups. I felt most of the tension on the outside of my gluteus maximus


When I focused on rotating our on a horizontal plane and pulling up on a vertical one only, I felt much more sensation in my obturator internus muscle. My legs felt a lot lighter and more independent, which I know is that "magic" feeling so sought after by ballerina's. Also, I think my lower half may have sweat about a gallon more working this way!


My front extension has gone down about 10 degrees, understandably, as I'll have to build different muscles to correctly lift my legs. My balance also feels much more stable; before, I constantly felt like I was going to fall backward, and was leaning my torso forward to stabilize myself.


I only wonder if I've been cheating against this for years, through my professional ballet days, or if this is a relatively new phenomenon to compensate for some feeling of weakness in my core muscles and perhaps my pelvic floor as well. It's so hard to know, because at 17-18, I was dancing so often and was so nimble that this little "cheat" might have gone right under the radar of my artistic director and teachers!


Regardless, I won't dwell on it, and at least I am trying to correct it now. Thanks again for everyone's responses; pictures to follow tonight.

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Sadly, I'm unfamiliar with more traditional posting of photos on the message boards; I'll have to try and find a guide on how to do this.


Okay, here goes








I hope this the appropriate way to post photos. Please let me know if anything needs deleting/changing.

Edited by bluebillie
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If you're comfortable with it, billie, we're comfortable with it. Members can't attach photos to posts and Administrators don't want to.


Having said that, I think I see part of your problem. You show a nearly-classic sway back, and you can alleviate the problems caused by it by doing the aforesaid lifting out of the hips, and at the same time, don't "tuck", but feel your spine as long and straight as it can get. The first few times, you'll be able to feel the difference, then as you become accustomed to doing it all the time, you'll notice an improvement in how your hips and legs work in relation to one another. In time, your body will probably change some, too. Working that way is an automatic stretch-out for the glutes, so even more benefit!


And nice-looking, workable feet, BTW! :wink:

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Thanks for the compliment; I'm still rather new to the "nice" feet, because they became absolute noodles after I stopped dancing. All the strength seeped right out in my first (non-dancing) year of college, but a lot of arch flexibility returned in its place. I'll try not to piggyback on this post, but I'll be slightly brash and ask: anything going on in my feet that needs stretching, tweaking?


BTW, after googling "swayback" and lordosis, I came across another Ballet Talk forum post from march 2007 that addresses a very similar issue, with the exception of the daughter desiring hyper-extended knees. You and the other moderators made some very good suggestions for that 13-year old, involving Pilates (link below for refreshment).




Do any of you have any other suggestions for correcting this in fully grown adult? I'm amazed that no one at Joffrey bothered to mention this; I must have been really flashy to hide all of that :wink:


Currently, when sitting, I use a back role to give me correct spinal placement, and I have been working on stretching my tight hip flexors and psoas muscles. I'm wondering if there are any exercises that I could do at home; I work from home and so have a good amount of time to devote to stretching in between computer sessions! I think I may also see a physical therapist. I've known him for years, but we've mainly worked on neck and shoulder placement for work, not lower lumbar complaints. I really should get back into Pilates again; it was my second love as a teenager.


Again, I want to thank you all for taking the time to look into this ang giving me excellent advice; I really do appreciate it and can't wait to start working towards a well-aligned spine and pelvis!


UPDATE: I had conversations with both my mother and one of my old ballet teachers (still a dear friend), and looked at some ballet pictures form about 5 years ago, and the interesting thing is that I, in fact, did not have a sway back at that time. I'm wondering if my "noodle" feet situation could apply to other parts of my body. In a dancer-sense I really let myself go. I didn't gain weight in a typical "letting go" ritual, but I certainly lost a LOT of muscle tone. I really feel as though I'm having to relearn how to dance with a new body! Well, at least I know all of the theory behind what I am trying to accomplish again, anyway!

Edited by bluebillie
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I'm tired tonight, but I will reply tomorrow. :yawn:

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Hi bluebillie,


I have a swayback as well as hyperextended (and totally shredded) knees. I've pretty much had to stop dancing because of the knee problems, but I really struggled finding my alignment with the back/knee combo. I tried as hard as I possibly could to pull up and get my butt under control while trying not to tuck.


Anyway, the point is.....when I had to stop dancing I started doing yoga and pilates (about a year and a half now). That's how I found my alignment! What particularly helped me were the floor exercises that focused on the core...imprinting your spine on the floor, pulling your belly button to your back (not like sucking your abs in but I guess "engaging" them would be more appropriate), relaxing through the neck and shoulders. All of this was done with knees bent. Then the challenge is to lower your legs and mimic a "posture" or standing position (even down to flexed feet) and not letting go of the core. Once I proceed on to the standing work there are plenty of other checks for alignment...one of which involves slowly rising to releve and seeing if you are stable, if you wobble, which way you wobble, if you correct it and achieve stable, and from there you know where you need to focus more attention. After every workout I feel taller, stand straighter (for a while at least), and actually have less lower back pain.


I haven't read the thread you posted, put I know that with my body pilates and yoga have really helped. If you are interested or have further questions about yoga/pilates I would suggest talking to jimpickles and Garyhect (hope that's right!). I'm pretty sure both of them have very extensive knowledge on the subjects.



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WM is spot on! Might be a good idea to take some yoga/Pilates for awhile.


I'm so glad you found that old thread- Check out my post- #6.


What actually surprised me when you posted the pictures was that I was expecting to see pictures of a tucked pelvis, based upon what you were describing, instead, I saw pictures of a tilted pelvis. Start thinking of your pelvis from the bottom- the sitz bones- not the top. Now picture headlights attached to the sitz bones. What I see from your photos is that your headlights would be shining back on the ground behind you.


Where I would want the lights to be directed is straight down at your feet- neither behind nor in front of your body.


To make that work, you also have to have an understanding of the rest of the body's proper alignment, and the muscles that must be engaged. Be especially sure that you are lifting and supporting your ribcage equally around, and that you're engaging your abs. You'll find your rotation improving from this as well.

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