Women’s Tango Retreat and the Pelvis
30 Wednesday Nov 2011
So many things have been happening as of late and I’m trying to catch up with my blogging. There was my father’s 70th surprise party (and he was surprised!) and Thanksgiving, came and went, grading papers (its the end of semester again) and now I’m off to Breitenbush Hot Spring Retreat Center in the mountains of Oregon to teach a workshop.
I was asked to teach a “playshop” for this women- in- tango retreat. After much thought as to what to share with a group of women who know both leading and following roles I decided upon an exploration of a center of driving force in our lives, our pelvis.
The pelvis and tango? Think about it – where do those legs that take you walking originate from? and what about that torso?
The bones of the pelvis.
Can you identify this as being a part of your body?
It has been my experience, both as a modern dancer and in my studies of Mindful Movement (SM), that even an awareness of some of the boney landmarks of the pelvis can improve posture and mobility. Much of my modern dance training was around an awareness of the connection of my sits bones (ischial tuberosities) to the floor and from my coccyx (tail bone) to my head.
My playshop this weekend will be centered around an awareness of the bones of the pelvis and how that awareness can help in our leading and our following.
I presume most of you are sitting down reading this. Let’s try a little exploration. First, uncross those legs. Place both feet on the floor (or change chairs so you can). Can you feel your sits bones on your chair? If you can feel them place one hand at your pubic bone and the other hand on the lower small of your back, at your sacrum. Now, just imagine breathing into both of your hands. Take about 5 deep breaths here or more.
Then get up and go for a little walk. Notice anything?
Sometimes just from feeling the sits bones on the chair the spine straightens out. With time and awareness the legs often find their place in their sockets which allow for greater mobility. The awareness of the dimensionality of the pelvis reminds me that I am not just the front of my body in 1 dimension and that I bring all of me when I move through life – front and back!
I tie this back to tango not just for posture and for walking but also because I have often heard teachers refer to “the hips”. Hmm – where are your hips? What are the hips? I just looked it up – it appears that the “hips” cover a lot of area – the butt, the top of the legs… to me, who loves details, I want more specificity. Some teachers refer to it meaning the leg joint – the iliofemoral joint and they ask us to walk or to turn with more flexion in this joint. What if you don’t have a lot of movement there in the first place? Could be a challenging movement to find.
I know that followers are also exploring their roles more through the use of their “hips”. This begins a whole new subject for me relating to the planes of movement of the pelvis. 1 is dropping the pelvis – which I believe throws the spine out of whack and influences the leaders connection to the legs and pelvis and has begun to change the embrace in many ways. And the other is the rotation of the legs in the pelvis – which sometimes causes more pelvic tilt anteriorly (which looks like sway back or sticking out the butt).
The body is a fascinating thing, isn’t it? These are just thoughts about the pelvis in dancing. Remember that we are all built differently and I think any dance form invites you to discover who you really are and to share that with the world.
Let me know if you have any discoveries and I’ll share mine when I return.
(Thanks to Gray’s Anatomy and Wikipedia for the image of the pelvis.)