For the next 10 weeks, I’ll be talking about each of the “10 Steps to Competition Greatness”.
Here is the second one:
At the same time, you are grounded, the floor is there for you, let it support you.
This step is in natural opposition to the previous step: “Take a few moments in the ballroom and expand your attention to the entire space”. (Click here for the full blog).
Dancing, in particular Latin dancing, requires a conscious foot/leg/hip – to floor contact. With this, full hip action is possible. Without it there is little oppositional force and the muscles around your spine are less cooperative in moving the torso and pelvis to produce Cuban hip motion.
The same goes for the Smooth and Standard styles in producing the sweeping movement in Waltz and Fox Trot, and the quick changes of torso and head in Tango and Quick Step.
Grounding requires a willingness to trust in the support of the earth. And I have learned through Alexander’s discovery that it is equally important to think about the opposition of your torso (starting at your hip joints) going up towards your head, and at the same time your legs (starting at your hip joints) going down towards the floor.
Take a look at these dancing skeletons and at the same time notice the location of your hip joints attached to your pelvis.
Picture your torso as the distance between your hip joint and the top of your spine. Anatomically, this is often very different from what we imagine.
For good reason
We are visually conditioned to believe that our torso starts at the navel/belt line and ends at the top of our shoulders. See below left (minus the head).
But, functionally, it’s not.
To the right is our functional torso beginning way down by the hip joints (where we can bend). upwards toward our head.
The first two steps in “10 Steps…”, are oppositional AND integrating. In my experience, if I can pay attention to both of these concepts, I’m expanding my presence and taking care of my alignment. I’m enjoying myself and hopefully others are too!
Stay tuned for Step #3.