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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Question (possibly 2) about alignment


JayBird

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I have been working on correcting my upper back since the day I entered into the studio. What is happening is that my shoulder blades stick out in back somewhat, which seems to be somewhat common. Bringing them "down and back" doesn't fix it though. They just stick out anyways but my muscles look nice and flexed. :wink: I am also placing my neck forward which is an indication of compensation. (Maybe I should add that I have noticed that I have a slight sway back-type posture as far as how I hold my pelvis, which could contribute but it doesn't seem to help by neck or back problems when corrected. Could be contributing to some kind of compensation or muscle weakness though..?)

 

Yesterday I took clsss with a new, but very good teacher who of course pounced on my alignment problems. He told me to be "over my center,"- enough to feel that my psoas are working with the abdominal so support the weight. ( :huh: I have thought that the psosas are lengthened when you are pulling up of the knees properly!)

I think this is kind of an imagry problem I have been told not to "collapse into my mid back," and also to keep my weight forward. I just don't get it though. How can I be "over my center" without leaning forward??? And what about those psoas -I 've looked over this sight and some others and am pretty confused. They are supposed to be active in develope but released in arabesque..what about just standing center?

I have talked to several people who claim to have had similar problems, and each had tried to help by using some type of image- like a pole going through the center of your body. My spine isn't straight though- this doesn't work for me. Does anyone have any other type of image that they use? Maybe I just haven't found the one that works for me yet :wink:

Edited by Momof3darlings
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  • 10 months later...

Dredging up an old thread so I don't have to make a new one. Yes, I've read Clara's sticky as well.

 

I've secretly started training at a second studio so that I can get more of my basics developed further.

 

One of the things I've been told is about alignment. The new teacher is wanting me to align so that I almost feel angled forward (or to the side if the position, like retire, requires you to balance on one leg). It's about making a plane to him...up and over your toes. The problem is, I feel like I'm about to fall over (I don't) and I feel like my toes are doing a lot more work with more weight/pressure on them. I feel (and sometimes look like) that I'm leaning.

 

Thoughts?

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Having one's weight forward has nothing to do with leaning anywhere! One MOVES the weight forward, not tilt forward or lean forward. You MOVE over your supporting leg to stand on one leg, as there is no third leg in the middle to keep you on balance if you don't move your weight to the supporting leg. Your center of gravity changes for different positions. Exercise: Stand parallel on two feet, put your weight in your heels, hang a plumb line from the center of your chest. Note where the line would fall. Move your weight more towards the front of the feet, heels on the floor and having some weight but not the majority. See where the plumb line falls. In that position you are lifted and ready to move. Your body weight is what moves if you want to go somewhere. The legs respond. If you stand in your heels, your body has to follow. Not good. Getting up to positions, to relevé, piqué, or jump will be very inefficient if your weight is not in the place where you are ready to move. The feet and the knees push from the floor, but the body leads the movement.

 

Think about getting up to your pirouette position from a 4th position. If your weight is more towards the back leg, or even dead center, you have a lot further to move to get yourself up on top of the front leg. Pushing the weight more into the front leg is more efficient and certainly quicker in terms of getting up where you need to go. :) None of this involves any leaning or tilting anywhere!

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Yesterday I took clsss with a new, but very good teacher who of course pounced on my alignment problems. He told me to be "over my center,"- enough to feel that my psoas are working with the abdominal so support the weight. ( :) I have thought that the psosas are lengthened when you are pulling up of the knees properly!)

I think this is kind of an imagry problem I have been told not to "collapse into my mid back," and also to keep my weight forward. I just don't get it though. How can I be "over my center" without leaning forward??? And what about those psoas -I 've looked over this sight and some others and am pretty confused. They are supposed to be active in develope but released in arabesque..what about just standing center?

 

If the psoas is properly engaged when standing vertical, there will be no crease at the front of the leg where the femur and hip meet. One wants to keep this area lengthened/stretched. By utilizing the transverse abdominal muscle and lengthening up through the front of the leg/top of thigh, the pelvis will remain upright which will assist in keeping the lower spine correctly supported. An image I like to use with my older students(because young students are less capable of visual imagery and rely more on "seeing" what you want) is to think of a zipper- the one on the front of the body pulls upward from bottom to top and if one had one on the back, it would zip downward from the top of the neck down the back without bunching up, though following the natural curve of the lumbar spine.

 

The head should never protrude forward. This pulls the cervical spine out of alignment. The muscles that support the head and neck must be strengthened. An image to use to get the head in the right place(and the whole body for that matter) is the number "one" or the lower case letter "l" when viewing the body from the side. One wants to maintain the ears over the shoulder, the shoulder directly above the hip, the hip in line with the knee and the knee over the ankle. Thus, all the joints that unite the extremities with the torso and the pieces of the lower appendage are all vertically stacked on top of each other. No "Leaning Tower of Pisa"- even if standing on one leg and viewing the body from the front, there should be a 90 degree angle if a line was drawn from the nose to the floor.

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Is it possible that if your weight has been on your heels, then being moved into proper alignment might feel a bit tilted forward - even when it's not? I found this when one of my teachers corrected me.

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First may I say how wonderful Ms Leigh's and tangerinetwist's descriptions are of how to stand up "straight" balletically. As often as I may describe the hows and whys of good balletic posture, it is so wonderful to re-read it so very clearly stated. :wink:

 

Yes, making changes in ballet mechanics may change the way one understands just about everything one does in ballet. All good teacher's descriptions are relative to the correct understand of alignment, direction, rotation, etc. Students do need to re-define quite a few misunderstandings they have. I often tell my students they must re-define what is meant by straight up, keeping the body straight, what is meant by down, hold does not mean HOLD as in stop breathing, etc, etc. :3dnod:

 

Also remember teachers are not mind readers, they do not know how a student defines anything they do. There are a million ways to say the same thing. We change our words around to try to jog the mind of students. When correcting a student, teachers see what a student does and goes from there. Students like their comfort zones, what may feel good or right to them. Unfortunately, their feelings are not always based upon correctness nor logic of body mechanics to create the best balletic image.

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  • 1 month later...
.......................One wants to maintain the ears over the shoulder, the shoulder directly above the hip, the hip in line with the knee and the knee over the ankle. Thus, all the joints that unite the extremities with the torso and the pieces of the lower appendage are all vertically stacked on top of each other. No "Leaning Tower of Pisa"- even if standing on one leg and viewing the body from the front, there should be a 90 degree angle if a line was drawn from the nose to the floor.

 

 

Hello! I read this a few weeks ago and thought- well, she has not mentioned the toes! NOW I understand :thumbsup: Thank you :)

 

One thing- if on flat with a less than ideal turnout, the body will have to lean, right? Or the weight will be on the heels- my weight was on my heels for a long time & I think that's why.

 

Anyway, thank you so much TangerineTwist for helping me in the other thread, it is beginning to make sense.

 

 

 

 

 

ps:

.......................even if standing on one leg and viewing the body from the front, there should be a 90 degree angle if a line was drawn from the nose to the floor.

 

we have been taught "belly button over toes", I think you are saying the same thing.

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