Let’s talk about posture for a hot minute. If you’ve ever taken a dance class, your teacher might have started with how to stand or align your body. This shows that your teacher cares about you. How wonderful!
Posture is universally important, but styles of dance and movement access posture in different ways with subtle shifts in focus. For example, your ballet teacher might discuss a forward weight in the feet and a tighter core or “knit” ribcage, whereas your belly dance teacher might discuss an equal weight in the feet and engaged low abs.
Your posture keeps bones and joints aligned so muscles are used properly, which decreases wear and tear on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together, which helps:
- reduce fatigue
- prevent injury and strain
- increase range of motion
- promote full diaphragm breathing
- increase comfort in the body
- strengthens balance and proprioception
Tania Huddart writes, “Practicing a movement with incorrect alignment only strengthens the incorrect alignment, resulting in wasted time and energy. It is possible to dance well with these relationships placed incorrectly, but over time it will result in injury. You may also find that complex movements can be done well only at times and not every time you try and do the movement.”
Bonus? A strong posture integrates thought, emotion, and mental fortitude in your movement AND helps you look and feel more confident, which boosts serotonin and dopamine levels. Let’s be honest – we could all use the feel-good-feelings.
We aren’t used to standing in the good posture, so an aligned stance & engaged body sometimes feels like effort. Over time, posture becomes home base, a cushioned landing pad you can return to over and over again.
Some articles for your afternoon reading break:
“The Use of Imagery for Posture and Alignment Control in Dance” by Tania Huddart
“The Importance of Posture in Dance” by Dr Shelly A. Severns
“Why Posture Matters and How to Improve Yours: 5 Tips from Dancers” by Jindalae Suh