Error processing SSI file

Instep Dance Magazine Articles

Reprints of monthly column as first appearing in Instep Dance Magazine.

March 2000

Back Pain - Part 5: Dance Tips for Better Posture

By Rick Allen, DC

"Better health leads to better dancing."

As promised, here are some suggestions for improving dance posture from my instructor, Michelle Uttke.

  1. Ground yourself - imagine your feet are suction cups sticking to the floor.
  2. Center yourself over the balls of your feet.
  3. Stand with good dancing posture:
    • Imagine a balloon lifting your head,
    • Keep your chin level,
    • Torso/chest up - Imagine upper back at T4 pulled up and back (T4 is the fourth thoracic vertebra, located about _ the way down your back, between your shoulder blades.),
    • Shoulders down, with shoulder blades back,
    • Lift your abdominal wall,
    • Put your hip joints forward, and
    • Drop your tailbone toward the floor, rather than tucking your tail.
  4. Remember to push from the standing leg.
  5. Position the woman's elbows parallel to the floor.
  6. Position the man's right wrist at the back of the woman's armpit, palm cupping the shoulder blade. The man's right hand should point slightly downward, which will help keep his right elbow up.
  7. The man's left and woman's right hands interlock at the heel of the hand. In Latin dance, the woman's arm is at a right angle and the man will meet her also at a right angle. In Smooth dance, the arms are more stretched out to the left, forming an obtuse angle.
  8. In Latin, the man and woman's pelvis are squared up evenly. In Smooth, the man and woman are offset slightly, with the man's right hip even with the woman's belly button, allowing them to travel in line of dance without tripping over each other.
  9. The man keeps his shape like a statue with isometric resistance; the woman actively pushes against him. (Note that dance posture is more upright and exaggerated than everyday posture. You should stand tall everyday, but not be a statue!) The man leads the woman from his bone structure; the woman follows the man from the man's muscle structure.
  10. The man and woman move through space from the center of mass in the pelvis at the level of the belly button.

Request for my readers

Try positioning yourself as Michelle suggests. Let me know how you are doing. Send or e-mail me some before and after photos. If it is OK with you, I'd like to show the changes in a future issue. I'm willing to show you before and after photos of myself, too!

Beside the articles in this series, other articles directly about posture are:

You are invited to watch a half-hour video of good and bad posture on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by Paul St. John, LMT. It is a real eye-opener. Please call if you would like to watch it at my clinic.

Next article: Let's check the correction of my own posture - I'll be about half done re-positioning my head on right!

Error processing SSI file
Error processing SSI file
Error processing SSI file