Are your scapula affecting your posture and your embrace?
I am convinced that the form of our bodies, our auto-body-graphy, really shapes how we dance and also how we teach dance. If I am tall or short or wide or whatever will greatly impact how I move. It will also have an affect on how I embrace. We know that there could be other factors influencing embrace but what I want to talk about today is a phenomenon that I see and experience in Tango, which is a posture with scapula close together.
Where / what are your scapula?
They are the lovely triangular shaped bones on your back that are your “wings”! They connect your upper arm (humerus) to your clavicle.
The shoulder girdle is very dynamic and complex. Just take a moment to imagine all the different things you can do with this part of your body. Attaching to the arms and sliding along the ribcage (at your back) they assist in so many different actions: pushing, pulling, lifting, throwing, carrying, holding. Yes, those actions are done with your arms but try them and see if you can feel your scapula moving too. They move when you shrug, possibly deeply sigh, if you’re cold and your shoulders move to your ears … you get the picture!
So for the sake of “good posture” people have lifted their chest – thrusting their ribs forward and forcing the shoulders back, pinching the scapulae. There are about 17 different muscles that attach to the scapula allowing for the movement in your shoulder girdle: allowing you to “stand up straight”, “stop slouching”, “pull your shoulders back”. Yes, culture helps to shape us too! So how does this affect our dancing? Happy you asked!
What I have been feeling with some leaders and followers is that with the scapula pinching or moving towards each other, the arms pull me into them or the arms are not being used at all, which leaves me trying to find my place in this embrace that is not a circle and leaves me being pushed. I guess one way to counteract would be to assume the same position and push back into my leader but this would, as I say in the video below, would put me in a position to greatly damage my spine and other muscles as well as put extra pressure into my other joints, as in my knees. Not to mention being off axis.
Again, the most efficient use of the body is one that doesn’t stress it and uses it dynamically. I’m not advocating dancing one way but if the one way is 1) causing you pain or your partner pain 2) is not allowing you to execute figures dynamically and efficiently, well, maybe there’s a better way!
Here’s my video blog. Let me know your thoughts! Leave me your comments and discoveries!