Posture Can Make or Break a Dancer
A dancer can have the greatest technique, but if they have poor posture, it will distract the audience and the viewers will not connect to the dancer. As a dancer, good posture is key to communicating self-assurance, confidence, and grace both to the audience and through your movements. Proper body alignment is also essential for a belly dancer’s longevity. It allows the body to move with ease and balance without putting undue stress on tendons, muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones.
What is good posture? In general, you want to feel like an elastic band stretching in both directions. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling upwards and your head is elongating out of your neck. Your chin should not be forward like a chicken. You want to draw your chin back into space. Your shoulders should be rolled back into their sockets, opening your collar bones. Often when dancers do this, they flare out their chest, in an attempt to “present”, which puts their ribs out of alignment. You want your ribs to draw back into your spine, stacked on top of each other. Hyper-extended knees, knees locked straight, lead to many knee injuries. Bellydancers need to stand straight while softening their knees drawing up the surrounding muscles to support them. Finally, the feet are essential for good posture. Luckily, the movement vocabulary of belly dancing does not call for turned out feet, like ballet dancers. This can also cause an assortment of injuries. Feet should be in a parallel position.
I strongly encourage all dancers to incorporate regular pilates classes with a reputable teacher. Pilates only allows for movement from good posture. You cannot initiate movement until you are properly aligned and you must maintain this proper alignment while you are moving. Pilates also strengthens your deep tissue muscles which supports good posture and internal strength.