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 Post subject: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 11:22 am 
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Calgary
HI!<BR>I was wondering if there is an easy way to keep your "tail" tucked. If you know what that means. Because my dance teacher has told me many different ways, and none of them are working. And after completing my ballet 7 exam, one of the major comments was to work on keeping my tail tucked. So I was wondering if there was an easy way to doing it, with keeping your upper body forward at the same time. Because if my upper body is forward then my tail is no longer tucked but when my upper body isn't forward then I can tuck my tail a little bit easier but not by much. So if you could give me some pointers I would greatly appreciate it!!!<BR>Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 11:34 am 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
I know a lot of people who have this problem. it is not very helpful to think about your tail being tucked, because then a lot of people sway their pelvis underneath them and too far forward. think of creating a straight line. If your problem is sticking your tail out, it is safe to think of pushing your pelvis forward. If other people think of this though the result is usually just as bad. <BR> there are many reasons why people do this. the simplest one is that some people just develop a bad habit of sticking their tail out, and in result usually arching their back. If this is your reason, try to keep your back straight as well. Other people do this because of another habit that results in it. For instance, if you are overturning out, it is almost impossible to not roll in and keep your tail tucked. If this is your problem, try to maintain a turnout more natural for you. Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 11:45 am 
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Calgary
Thanks for your advice balletgirl! Except what you have explained I don't do. Because my teacher said that its not that I stick my tail out on purpose. Its that I have an extremely sway back, so I have to work extra hard to get that straight line. Then when I do get the straight line though my weight is too far back! So then if I bring my weight forward, I don't get that straight line anymore, because my tail won't be tucked. But if I'm just standing there waiting for an exercise I will have perfect posture. But as soon as I start to move, I either untuck my tail or my weight gets to far back. So in that way I don't know what to do! If that makes sense at all.<BR>And I know I'm not over turning out, because my feet don't roll inwards, so I know right away that can't be the problem. But next time at dance I will try to not turn out as much and see what will happen.<BR>Thanks for your advive though!


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 11:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Crazie4Dance....welcome to the board, it's great to have you join us.<P>It is always good advice not to turn out too much. Work with your natural turnout and learn where the weight placement is within your natural stance.<P>As for your sway back - much of it depends upon the amount you have. This is very individual. Pulling up forward doesn't mean sticking out your chest. It means to keep from rocking back on your heels, it means to be able to easily go up on demi-pointe without much of a weight shift, and it means pulling up through the top of your head. Think of lengthening. <P>As for the muscles of your back and under your derriere, think of engaging them rather than gripping with them. <P>You have to find the middle ground for yourself....where your true turnout is, where your weight is forward without distorting the rest of your body, and how to use and engage those back and derriere muscles.<P>What tips does your teacher give you? She is the one who can see you and the amount of sway back that you have.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 01, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Calgary
My teacher has told me to keep my shoulders over my hips, that way my weight is forward and not back. And then she told me to think of it like there are these arrows one pulling down towards the ground in my lower back and one going up to the roof in my pelvis. She told me that if I concentrate more on my lower back then clenching my butt and pulling my butt in, then it should eventually start to fix itself.<BR>That is the info that my teacher has told me. And I've been trying to do that, and it doesn't seem like its working. But thank you for the advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 1:41 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
In my opinion, your teacher is right telling you not to clench.<P>Whatever improvements are going to happen will take some time. Quite some time. Almost nothing happens quickly in the ballet. You have to give the body lots of time to adjust - and that takes a great deal of thought, work and patience. <P>If you can get a hold of Celia Sparger's book "Anatomy and Ballet" - there are some excellent pictures on page 27, showing the spine, lines of gravity both properly placed and with a swayed back. This might give you a good picture of what is happening.<P>Don't be discouraged...and have patience.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Mequon, Wisconsin, USA
At the beginnning of this year I had the same problem. I have since corrected it but now I am told that I am "over-tucking". Is this bad? I thought that you could never do such a thing--as your back is suppose to be in a straight line.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2001 1:19 am 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Singapore
i'm sorry, but i don't exactly understand. Basheva, when you say "think of a straight line", does that mean the outline of your back in profile should be straight? as in, when you lie down, should you have no space between the floor and your back at all?


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2001 3:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 56
Location: United Kingdom
Tucking under is also something that you don't want to do. Ideal alignment means that your pelvis should be neither tucked nor tilted and therefore reain in its correct natural position. If the pelvis is in the wrong position you will start to use muscles that you do not necessarily need to and eventually create muscle imbalances. The book Basheva recommended is very good and should help to see what the natural positioning of the pelvis is.<P>crazie4dance going back a few posts when you mentioned that your feet weren't rolling, it is possible to overturnout without rolling the feet and you will notice compensation for this in an over exagerated curve of the lower spine, so as ballet girl mentioned do check this. <P>I too have suffered from sway back posture and have found that my hip flexors were very tight and that my abdominals were weak so check this as well, as it could be a problem. I am sure your teacher will be able to give you some stretching and strengthening exercises for these areas. If not just let me know. <P>Born2dance the spine has natural curves which are there to act as shock absorbers and therefore reduce impact whilst moving. These curves should also be maintained whilst you are dancing. It is also important to keep these curves as if the spine is out of alignment it will start to affect the alignment of other parts of the body. Basheva mentioned earlier about lengthening and this is what you should think of doing to obtain the aesthetic of a straight line in the back but still maintaining those natural curves.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2001 4:26 am 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Singapore
whoops...i think my question is almost the same as born2dance's.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2001 5:25 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
There isn't anything that Jane has said that I disagree with. You need those natural curves in your spine.<P>It is true that ballet dancers appear to have straighter spines, but some of this is the musculature - and some of it is just good posture that a dancer develops with good training.<P>A good rule of thumb for almost any activity is that extremes should be avoided. This is true also in dance. Yes, even ballet - LOL. Extremes of tucking under, pushing out, over splits, stretching (yes, stretching). <P> More is not always better. If 8 grand battements are wonderful - 88 is not better. There comes a time when you begin to break things down instead of building them up.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2001 11:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I have had a student who stuck her tail out while her lower back arched. I showed her some of the pictures in the Sparger book and i think that helped her understand her posture better.<P>I try and get students the visualise the spine lengthening and I have found that does help them - they strive to pull upwards rather than tuck under which is a much better effect.<P>Interestingly this same student will quite often try to over-turnout and keeps having to be reminded to bring her feet back to a comfortable turnout. She is very keen to do well and I think is just eager to please and gets a bit carried away sometimes. This eagernesss to please however does mean that she takes all the postural corrections on board and works hard to correct her stance - but it takes a lot of reminders from me at every class to make a difference.<P>Any change like that will take time and lots of reminders to keep up the progress.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2001 12:36 pm 
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Location: Oregon USA
Basheva, well said. I learned the hard way that more isn't always better. 88 grand battements...even I wouldn't attempt that many. LOL


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2001 2:39 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
The Celia Sparger book is really useful because while it gives great information it is also simple to understand and therefore useful with students. And the picture and x-rays really do speak for themselves.<P><BR>Dancer 13 - you have never done 88 grand battements?? Shame!! Shame!! That would be en croix of course, so that is only 352.....<P>and then you repeat on relevé, and then again with plié - and that's only at the barre....then you go to the center and try some more.<P>Then you pick your leg up off the floor and go home. After you do the other leg, of course.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Tails Tucked
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2001 7:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
As an end-of-term activity, I allowed my students to make up their own barre exercises. The one in charge of grand battement did pretty much what Basheva described! And they think I'm a slave driver!<P>If I'd been around the past two days, I'd have made some of the same points which have already been expressed so well here.<P>One image I use for lengthening down in the lower back is to pretend you have a monkey tail hanging straight down from your tailbone. The weight of this image helps some students. Then for lengthening up, especially for students who have a swayback, I try to get their attention away from their spine and butt, and have them internalize a bit more. I have them visualize a line right through the center of their body, and running up through the center of the top of their head. <P>Sometimes when there is an area of particular concern (and we know how ruthless a dancer can be with her/himself when it comes to these areas!...), the tendency is to overwork in that area, which can cause more problems. Often the solution is found somewhere nearby, but not at that paricular spot. I don't know if this makes sense to anyone, but the center line image above is an example of this approach.


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