#5 Your neck is free, your head moves effortlessly because your neck is not muscularly engaged.
I’m redefining necking as contracting your neck muscles in any activity!
And, what does the standard definition of necking have to do with the one that I have taken the liberty to alternatively define?
Answer: Only the neck part!
Necks are often the first muscles that emit strain. Getting that beautiful tango/waltz frame, or quick crossover break in cha cha, or even something as simple as beginning that first movement in your much rehearsed showcase can cause neck muscles to contract
How can both partners feed back to each other an ease that is unmistakably light and beautiful?
By using your brain
Hey, we’re using our brain anyway to remember steps, physically represent the correct style of dance, and be aware of the other dancers in the ballroom. We might as well use our thinking to tell our neck to be free.
You may ask “how do I do that, it feels tight” Answer: Trust that the same thinking that enables you to inhibit tensing your shoulders upwards in your ‘frame’ can also be used to inhibit neck tightening. (BTW, if you are tensing your shoulders you probably know that you are tightening your neck). Without being aware of it, we send messages from our motor cortex through our spinal column to our muscles. The mechanism that we use each and every day to move around and get things done is organic and automatic.
So the difference is that our muscles have memory and often that memory is directly linked to habits. And habits – well known by us humans, are often difficult to break
Wow – did I have habits when I first started Rhythm 12 years ago. My spine was more braced than liquid and hip action, well, I really spent years figuring that one out, and still am with International style now.
And every time a problem arises, it most definitely helps to give myself permission to ease in my neck. Movement is freer when the neck brake is not depressed. Brake =STOP. Take the foot off the brake = GO.
Try this: For the next week, during the day, notice when your neck muscles are tightening. Although initially this might be challenging (our habits make things feel right) becoming aware in the moment will help you to stop the thing that makes freedom in movement more difficult. Be aware when you are brushing your teeth and when you are taking that first waltz/rumba/tango step with your partner.
AND STOP NECKING!
Happy Dancing! If you know other dancers who may benefit from these tips, please forward. If you would like to receive my weekly blog in your Inbox, click here.