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alignment issues


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Please tell me I'm not the only one....


I seem to be fighting an eternal battle between the need to keep my ribs down and in and my shoulders back and down. I always get called on the ribs thing :)


What tends to happen is that I get my ribs under control and then my shoulders slowly creep forward. So I get shoulders and back realigned and then my ribs start go poke out (just as the teacher glances my way...:mad: ) I sort of end up doing this little snake shimmy/dance - ribs shoulders ribs shoulders ribs shoulders... you get the picture.


I have been improving. I learned this trick - sort of do a little cough - the muscles that contract when you cough are the same ones you need to use to connect the line between ribs and pelvis and keep that area properly aligned. I also do some floor bar exercises to work on lengthening the lower back and getting my shoulders down, and I use an image that someone on this board recommended a while back (Beckster? Xena?) whereby you pretend to be trying to look over a fence and use that to sort of lengthen your spine and keep your body weight forward.


Anyway, as I was saying, I think I've been improving. Lately I've really started to feel a more natural sense of alignment - that my ribs were placed, my lower back was lengthening and my shoulders were under control. And my teachers even commented that my alignment has been looking good. But today one of my modern teachers told me that I looked "permanently contracted" because my ribs are sucked in too far (can I not win?!)


How do you all deal with this particular issue?:confused:

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It sounds as though you were getting there. Now are your ballet teachers happy with your progession alignment-wise or is it just your modern teacher?

Also when you say 'ribs sucked in' this rings alarm bells with me. Can you describe how your ribcage looks when you do this? can you see your rib bones?

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I've had the exact same problem. What seems to help me is: instead of thinking specifically of my ribs or shoulders or back, I think of just lengthening through the spine, all the way up through the top of my head--that seems to pull everything else in line.

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First, very sad to already see "Sept. 11" on the date of these posts... (I'm in New York currently, where it won't be 9/11 for two more hours.)


I have this terrible alignment problem -- when I try to pull up and hold everything in, my shoulders rise and my (very patient) teacher constantly has to correct me: "Shoulders!" Some of it is overcompensation -- I'm a little, uh, top-heavy and when I try to pull up, I pull back. And the rest is sheer tension, particularly when a pirouette is coming up. :eek:


One thing that's helped me, oddly enough, is something I read in a book that I have some disagreements with -- Suki Schorer's Balanchine Technique. (Some very weird stuff in there -- tendus that don't work through the foot but somehow get to their destination, some demi plies where the heel leaves the floor...)

There was something in there, though, about how to place the head of all things, forward a bit from where it normally would be. Somehow, thinking of that gets my alignment forward rather than backward. Whatever works, I guess!:)

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I actually never think of the ribs :)


What I think of is really lengthening the back of the neck (that takes care of the shoulders) and underneath my rib cage (engage). The stomach part (sternum)... I imagine each side of the stomach folds nicely, one side on top of the other, meeting in the middle (from a line that goes from the sternum to the groin) Everything else is relaxed (or rather: not contracted) and it seems to work that way...

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Thanks for all the suggestions - I don't feel so alone now. :o I think it's just that this is something one of my teachers was not letting up on for a LONG time and I was beginning to feel super frustrated. And when I thought I finally was making progress (and was feeling progress in the form of better turns, solid balance in arabesque on releve, etc.) I got that other comment.


As for the comment Xena, "sucked in" was my term. I don't remember exactly how he said it, but he definitely said that I looked contracted though. I can't see my ribs when I'm "sucked in", but I see them when they're not - and that's when I get told do keep my ribs down. So I thought I was doing things right until he said that. :) Part of the problem for a while was that I was so focused on lenthening my back that I was almost tucking my pelvis a bit, but I also thought that I had figured that out.


I like the image of lenthening the back of the neck. I'll work on that one! :)

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