Posts Tagged: about the body

Are you Dumping?

Are you dumping?

Are you dumping your pelvis? You have probably heard me say this in class. What am I talking about? Why your pelvic tip, of course!

One of 2 things happens with the pelvis when you come to tango class – you are either tipping it or tucking it!

Rommel Sitting

The Pelvic Tuck

If you are like most of the population who has been sitting at a desk all day, you are probably tucking your pelvis, so then your posture for tango is a little confused. As a leader you might be hitting your partner’s knees or as a follow you might feel that you are not getting your legs out of the way fast enough or that you are dropping the weight into your heels when you are moving backwards.

Tucking is the opposite of tipping for me. So then a teacher who might not know much about biomechanics comes along and says, stick your butt out, for both the lead and follow, get your crotches / genitalia out of the way of your partner! (I actually heard this in a class once!) The teacher is asking you to stick the butt out to create more room for the legs.

I most recently read an article written by a newer Argentine student studying in Argentina who began to focus on walking and the embrace and he described his proper body position as having “el pubis levemente mirando al piso”, which literally translates as having your pubic bone staring slightly at the floor.

And those who know me can imagine my reaction!! So let’s look at this.

If your pubic bone, as a lead or follow, is looking for the floor, it means that you are tilting /tipping/dumping the pelvis. Imagine, that your pelvis is like a bowl and you are now attempting to dump the contents onto the floor in front of you or as he said, place your pelvis so that the pubic bone is looking for the floor.

Ashlee dumping

A pelvis dumping and ribs thrusting

I know the idea is to give the illusion of creating more space for the legs. Unfortunately, what it does is create damaging effects to the vertebrae of the spine and to the integrity of the torso. It also limits the capability of the extension of the legs. What I mean by the integrity of the torso is that now, the abdominal muscles are lax and lengthened, with no real supporting structure for you and in turn the organs in the trunk are adjusting to this new position. And what does that mean? Well, imagine now that your organs are now displaced and putting pressure where they probably shouldn’t. I propose that this affects digestion and elimination at this level. And with all this weight out in front of you it pulls on the discs / vertebrae of the back, mostly the lower back causing shearing. Shearing is when vertebrae are not stacked on top of each other but more sliding across each other. Ouch! And with all this weight out in front of you, your knees, feet, and neck will probably hurt after a time, if not other body parts!

But sometimes dumping has nothing to do with you actively tipping your pelvis but actually, actively sticking out your ribs!

So are you dumping?

I think you can dance like this for a long time or a short time depending on your body type and the partners you have been dancing with. But eventually, I promise that something will give.

ahslee and eric no dump

Same Happy Couple

I view the pelvis as a body stabilizer. It is a bridge between the legs and the torso. It connects your heart and your intension of this dance to your movement, your legs.

If you look at some of the really strong, lovely followers, look at the stability in their pelvis. It is often harder to see the male pelvis in action due to their clothes, so I suggest Corina Herrera and Ariadna Naveira as 2 examples of amazing female followers who also are amazing leaders. They are so stable and solid in their pelvis – all their power comes from here. And I think you can see it.

My point, it’s unhealthy. Regardless of style, this exaggeration of the pelvis will offer you some health issues in the long run. Just hoping to raise some awareness – happy body, happy mind, happy dancer!

*pictures thanks to my students at ASU and taken from and for The Tango Workbook

Read more

Chin Jutting to Sternum Hanging

I have been heavily immersed in a weekly seminar with my former Kinesiology professor and now Mindful Movement (TM) coach, Pam Matt. The goal is to add Mindful Movement to my alignment offering. Mindful Movement is a branch of Ideokinesis which is defined as the use of images as a means to improve muscle patterns. All that being said, this week in my studies I came across another great image for our chin jutters! Remember those are the dancers that lead into their embrace with their chins, thus smushing their cervicle (neck) vertebrae.

Sternocleidomastoid MuscleThe this “new” idea stems from the premise that our bodies are like a building, an architectural structure with similar principles. Weights can either sit upon structures or hang from them and in this case of the body, we are talking bony structures. In terms of chin jutting I am speaking about the Sternocleidomastoid muscle! Are you impressed? The greatest part of this name is that all the points of connection are in the name: sternum, clavicle, and mastoid process. So basically this muscle connects the sternum and the clavicle to the head, behind the ear.

I think it’s much nicer to imagine having a weight hanging from the bones then to imagine them sitting on top. So here’s an opportunity for a hanging weight image. Imagine that when you lift the back 1/2 of your head properly the sternum can hang from here. What this does for me is to create a lengthening in the cervical spine and a looseness or release of tension in my chest.
sternumYou don’t have to add or do anything extra just imagine your sternum dangling from the back of your head. Close your eyes and see what happens… If that doesn’t work for you just drop your chin and elongate the back of your neck!

More images to come and see how it changes your dancing!

 

Read more