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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Is that a grapefruit under your arm?

Hello beautiful dancers!

Lately I've been unhappy with my students' armpits. 

It's not that they're smelly or gross - they're empty! 

Caveat: this is NOT my original imagery. A teacher friend of mine likes to tell her class to hold something under their arms when they are standing at the barre, to feel as if there is an object they are keeping pressed between their arm and their torso.

This week, I'm asking all of my students, regardless of their level or experience, to imagine they have grapefruits under their arms. This imagery serves several purposes:

1. It keeps space between the arm and torso.

2. It adds shape to the arms.

3. It activates the back muscles.

Beginning at the barre, try to picture the space under your arm as filled with an object like a grapefruit. As you move the arms through port de bras, continue to hold that object, even when the arms are above your head. However, be very careful that you don't squish the fruit under your arm. You must shape the armpit around the fruit and hold it in place.

HINT: When you do cambre, lifting your spine up and back, turn your head gently to the side and take a sniff of that grapefruit. That is where your head should be, rather than facing the ceiling.

When you come to the center, hold that grapefruit when you are doing pirouettes and that will help you engage your back muscles and keep your abdominal muscles active, which in turn will help you stay lifted. If you're really concentrating, think about this image when you do big jumps; keep those grapefruits under your arms even as you fly across the stage.

Take a look at Misty Copeland in this photo. Notice how there is shape to her underarms even as she holds her hands high above her head. The grapefruits are still in place!

Misty Copeland, courtesy American Masters
Don't lose your grapefruit! Or as the French say, Ne perdez pas votre pamplemousse!

Happy dancing~

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