Dance Anatomy: Locating Neutral

I have Dance Anatomy book by Jacqui Greene Haas and it is a wonderful resource for your dance students to learn more about their muscles and bones, and how they can focus on becoming more flexible or having better technical posture when dancing.

In my anatomy book Chapter one: The Dancer in Motion shows you how to locate your neutral in dance.  This is very important to teach students because it will help them in their dance technique.  The book says that there are five steps to begin learning where your neutral is:

  1. Get your students to stand in ballet first position.  Tell them to lift through their spine imagining there is a string attached to their spine and someone is pulling on the string, as they visualize their spine lifting up to make their back flat.
  2. Next instruct your students to take a deep breath while they lift their ribs, release their abdominal and tell them to rock the front of their pelvis forward, arching the lower back and moving into an anterior tilt.  At this point make sure your students stomach is tucked in and that they don’t have a banana back.
  3. While your students release their breath reverse the tilt and tighten through the abdomen.  Tell them to think of their lower back flattening and engage the gluteus maximus (the bum muscles).  Ask your students what they feel.  They should notice that front of the hips tighten and how the front of your chest drops.
  4. After that ask your students to return to a neutral position (how they naturally stand).  Again tell your students to imagine their spine is attached to a string and someone is pulling on the string which causes their back to lengthen.  Check to make sure that your students’ backs are flat.
  5. Again instruct your students to take a deep breath, tell them to move into their forward pelvic tilt.  While your students are breathing out get them to return to a neutral position.  After the release of breath make sure the students focus on abdominal contraction and the external obliques(the muscles that are connected to the front of your ribs).  Get your students to repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times so that they become a custom to the technical stance.

NOTE: you never want to see your students stomach cave in with their spine and shoulders hunched that will cause horrible breathing while doing exercises that require a technical dance stances.

I hope you try this exercise with your dance students  at schools and/or studios to help them improve their technique and to teach them to stand in a neutral dance position.

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