CriticalDance Forum

Small tip for people with swayback...
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Author:  BadlyDrawnGirl [ Wed Sep 14, 2005 6:55 am ]
Post subject:  Small tip for people with swayback...

I just wanted to share this because it's been surprisingly helpful in correcting my swayback...I have a huge amount of hyperflexibility in my lower back (partially from gymnastics, partially just anatomy) so of course I get HAMMERED in any dance class I take. It sometimes seems really unfair because I see other students with terrible posture, who slouch, who have hyperextended knees, who are over turned-out, and yet the teacher ignores them and just keeps griping about my arched back as if that were the only thing that mattered. :roll:

ANYWAY! heh...well, we got a new jazz teacher the other day and one of the first things she told me was to concentrate on pushing my ribcage back, in addition to just tucking my pelvis under. Normally all I ever get is "Tuck your pelvis, tuck your pelvis," so I tried the ribcage thing - and wow, I really noticed a difference. It really helped to be able to see the correction coming from two distinct parts of the body - I think a lot of times people with swayback are also centered a little forward, so bringing the ribcage back helps correct that as well.

Anyway I'm babbling, just thought that was interesting. :)

Author:  Gina Ness [ Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:32 am ]
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Hello, BadlyDrawnGirl...I'm glad that you are exploring correct posture for ballet and dance and thank you for sharing your experience. It is different than the gymnastics stance. The following is some advice from Gretchen Ward Warren's "Classical Ballet Technique" on correct stance: "Using the central muscles at the base of the ribcage, the dancer correctly holds the ribs "in and flat". Thus she is able to control the lower back and stabilize the vertical placement of the torso directly on top of the supporting leg(s). When the ribs are inflated and thrust forward, the result is a swayed back. This artificial placement of the torso is anatomically unhealthy and will prohibit freedom of movement." I worry a bit about your statement of a "tucked" pelvis...This will cause pressure into the thighs and distorts the alignment of the spine throwing the the weight and placement of the body backward. Just feel your tailbone "dropped" toward the floor, not "tucked" under, and your your lower back "lengthened"...Hope this helps...By the way, my background is in ballet, not jazz. Good luck!

Author:  BadlyDrawnGirl [ Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:37 am ]
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Honestly, I probably couldn't even tuck my pelvis if I tried. My back is just too "tucking" to me is just aligning it vertically with the floor.

It is SO hard to try and correct posture - I'm constantly thinking about it, fixing it, even when I'm just standing around not even in a dance class. I get so frustrated sometimes because I see all the other girls who just naturally have perfectly straight backs and it seems like I have to work so much harder just to get where they already are. But then again I guess I have my own strengths where I'm better at something than they are so it all balances out...sigh.

Author:  Gina Ness [ Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:31 pm ]
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Hey, there...Well, my back is naturally a bit swayed and was on the stiff side, too. But that didn't stop me from becoming a dancer. We all learn to work with what we have been given. As you say, we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. I always had to work hard at extension, but could turn like a top... Don't be discouraged! And try not to compare yourself negatively to other dancers in class. It's a waste of your precious time. I ended up really enjoying working on the aspects of ballet that were the most difficult for me. To make improvements in THESE difficult areas is what you can be the most proud of in your dancing! :D

P.S. If you have a seriously swayed back, you might want to check out Pilates. Maybe someone here can tell you a bit more about it as I have limited experience in this area. Many major dance studios are now offering Pilates training to supplement ballet training. They must be seeing good results or it wouldn't be so popular! A person trained in Pilates may be able to address some of your posture issues and give you some good results...

Author:  spangles [ Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:00 pm ]
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hi there.
A good physiotherapist can also give you exercises to help with a sway back. I totally recomend that anyone returning to dance after a pregnancy also goes to see a physio for re-alignment of the hips (carrying a baby bump around for 9 months can also get one into the habit of arching the back) just a thought :)

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:21 am ]
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Amazing that strengtening the abs has not been mentioned here. In my experience, that is a major major requirement for straightening an arched lower back. Use the abs to lift up the front hip bones. (Don't hold your breath!) Re-establish that position with every move.

Works for me.

Author:  ksneds [ Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:31 am ]
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Gina Ness has mentioned Pilates, which strengthens the abs...

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:36 am ]
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In my experience, Pilates strengthens the abs while lying flat on one's back. It is another matter when standing up, and that area has to be worked consciously with direct relation to the position you're standing in to be effective. In other words, mere ab strengthening is not enough, it is necessary to practice coordinating the ab strength with the rest of the body.

Author:  jetty [ Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Pilates on the back?

Hi Beth,
I don't know your pilates teacher (since you wrote about experience) but Pilates is not only lying on the back at all! Perhaps you should read up on it or take some classes before you give misinformation. I got a lot of wrong corrections in jazz dance class and pilates has given me a lot of good corrections which are based on how my body works and not just superficial general information. A good jazz dance teacher can of course give good corrections too, but there are not so many of them around alas.

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:26 pm ]
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Jetty, I took Pilates mat lessons for a few years at the Pilates Center here in New York. I think they were extremely helpful, and I don't have any quarrel with the system at all. I just think that something more is needed for dancers who have to spend a lot of time balancing on one leg.

Many jazz teachers are extremely knowledgeable and can give wonderful corrections -- and they are usually very generous. Actually, most of them have some ballet training. One of my best teachers of technique was a musical theater teacher. There's lots of good information out there, and if you can find it, no matter where, then more power to you!

Author:  Lucy [ Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:31 pm ]
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Hello Jetty, welcome to CD. I like Pilates and Gyrotonics classes for core strength for my students as well. I have a student right now that is helped very much by Pilates classes. She needed lots of understanding of engaging her stomach and back to make it easier to use her legs and rely less on her quads. Her last teacher had her using her tush for everything. Pilates is doing a good job for her. Yoga is a good thing to take as well.

Author:  Guest [ Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:44 am ]
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Hi all, thanks for the new insight/replies. :)

I would agree that ab strength has been probably THE deciding factor in improving my posture. I have always had very weak abdominals (going back to elementary school, when I routinely failed the President's Physical Fitness Test due to lack of curl-ups, lol) and I've only really begun to develop them now, after months of taking 5+ dance classes a week, with instructors who place a particular emphasis on core strength.

I have taken Pilates before (the IM=X kind, with the bar and the ring and whatnot) and I found the classes to be good for all-over body strengthening, but I really noticed no difference whatsoever in my posture. However, after putting a lot of effort into ab work, I'm finally able to align myself properly while standing. Now, keeping that alignment while MOVING is a whole different issue of course, but I'm working on it, lol.

Author:  BadlyDrawnGirl [ Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:46 am ]
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Sorry, forgot to log in before!

Author:  Gina Ness [ Sat Nov 26, 2005 11:31 pm ]
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Another thought that hasn't been mentioned regarding swayback posture... The front of the hip needs to be stretched, also, to help to correct this tendency...

Author:  BadlyDrawnGirl [ Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:36 am ]
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How exactly does one go about stretching the front of the hip?

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