Monday, March 26, 2018

Spiral action!

A consistent problem I see in my classes, among all levels of students, is a gripping of muscles and shortening of the line, whether it's legs or arms that are being "stunted."

A great visual image is to imagine your limbs spiraling away from the center of your body (from your shoulders if it's the arms and from your hips if it's the legs) all the way to your fingers and toes.

Try a developpe devant at the barre first before you come to the center. Bring the leg from 5th to coup de pied devant up to passe and extend the leg in front of you; feel the femur in the hip socket rotating as you develop the leg out and imagine the muscles rotating outward like stripes on an old-fashioned barber shop pole. Your leg should feel like it's lengthening and your muscles should not feel like they are gripping to hold the leg off the floor.

Now try the same thing when you come to the center. Really hold onto your center as you bring the leg up and out and away from you.

Your arms too can be spirals; it's a great image to keep in your mind especially when you are holding them in second position. Too often people simply open their arms to the sides of their bodies, not noticing that they are drooping at the elbows. Sometimes when I ask people to engage their backs, instead they merely lift with their shoulders. If you think of your arms twisting en dehors as they reach away from your body, you can keep all the muscles engaged, out to the very tips of your fingers.

Once you get the visuals of spirals in your mind, it's easy to see them in other parts of your body:
--the connection between opposing shoulder and hip
--attitude devant and derriere
--your head and neck connection as you tilt it in ecarte
--your knees as you jump in changement
--your back foot as you push off the floor for a pirouette

And so many others! Don't think lines. Think spirals! Happy dancing~

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