Posts Tagged: posture

Scapula Affecting Posture and Embrace

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!

Shoulders Back

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!

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Alignment, Posture, and Tango

Alignment and Posture and your Tango

What is the difference between these 2 words? When I hear alignment I think of my car: when it is aligned it functions properly. Posture makes me think of someone “posturing” a presentation to the world that may or may not be alignment.

We talk about our tango posture – how we configure our body to be able to dance tango.

But what about alignment – can we be aligned and dance tango?

Thanks for the picture https://www.funnyjunk.com/Posture/funny-pictures/5597251/5

I bring these ideas up, yes, because of my Restorative Exercise Certification and current obsession but also because I have dancers who come to me in a lot of pain thinking that is the end of their tango careers or that they need new shoes (which maybe they do) or that they will only dance with certain followers/ leaders (which might be good, too) but with some suggestions regarding alignment versus posture they’ve been able to change their dancing for the better.

So how can we define alignment?

The online dictionary offers us this: arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions.
That’s the direction we are headed but still not how I want to contextualize Tango and Alignment.
In the Whole Body Alignment course I took for the certification we spoke about alignment in these terms:

Alignment is NOT for the purpose of aesthetics, conveying an emotion, or to identify culture. It is the required skeletal position to achieve the desired outcome of accessing your full potential energy. Alignment is for cellular regeneration. We want to use our skeletal position for cellular regeneration. In order to get cellular regeneration we use our alignment to maximize the potential energy into kinetic energy. The best geometry = the least amount of joint friction or compression (which would cause pain or injury.)
(Daniela’s notes from lecture Whole Body Alignment )

amanda standing barefoot

Thanks Amanda

Alignment from the Restorative Exercise standpoint is a necessity to obtain optimal health. If your cells are regenerating they are healthy, they are receiving oxygen and expelling toxins and are essentially happy. (That’s the very short form!) And in reality this is not a new idea. Think about what chiropractors do, Alexander technique, or other similar modalities. They try to line you back up! So the concept is not new… but the approach might be.

In Restorative Exercise we use alignment markers, which are essentially boney landmarks on the body, that we want to align in relation to each other and, in whatever position we might be in, we are looking to have the best possible alignment of these markers. For example: If I am sitting on a chair, on the floor, or standing, my pelvic markers can be aligned, my feet, my knees, my head, ribs, etc, can all join in.

Ashlee dumping

Thanks Ashlee and Erick

I believe that we need POSTURE to dance tango.

Posture as defined by Merriam-Webster:
the position or bearing of the body whether characteristic or assumed for a special purpose

But how much POSTURE is too much? Is there such a thing as too much posture for tango? And can you use alignment markers to help your posture? I SAY YES! If you are in a lot of pain at any point in your dancing, then I say, clearly something is wrong.

I think we all need a tango coach and we all most definitely need an alignment coach. Alignment is needed for our overall health and well being as much as tango is needed for our health in other ways. For me they work synergistically.

Get in touch and peruse online videos for Restorative Exercise Nutritious Movement(TM).

 

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