You've probably been told to keep your shoulders down more times than you care to remember. The Move Like a Champion exercise in this article will show you how to anchor your shoulder blades into your back for a beautiful top line when dancing!
How many times have you said to your students, "Put Your Shoulders Down"?
A sure fire way to recognize an accomplished dancer is by looking at their upper carriage. Even with their arms up in a frame, good dancers' shoulders are relaxed and down, their necks are long and their sternums are lifted.
You know a beautiful upper carriage when you see it. The question is: how can YOU get there, and how do you teach your students to do this in a way they will remember, understand and integrate so that they don't need constant reminders from you?
Unfortunately, one of the most frequent admonitions used by dance teachers, "Put your shoulders down", doesn't cut it. Students usually respond by pressing down at the tops of their shoulders which results in tension in their necks and a stiff, rigid look to their frames. There's got to be a better way!
Fortunately, there is. Kasia Kozak and I have created the perfect exercise to "cure" this common shoulder problem (exercise ##41 from Move Like a Champion®):
Purpose: To position the shoulder blades so as to improve frame, partner connection and top line, and to create width and stability.
Where Used: Everywhere.
Position: Standing with a partner.
In these photos, our model Marcin demonstrates shoulders UP, DOWN, IN and ANCHORED
Is there another lesson to be learned here besides knowing how to "keep your shoulders down"? Yes—it takes a deep understanding of the body to develop into a beautiful dancer.
In my experience, learning how the body moves has been a fascinating and pleasurable process, and has produced amazing changes in my dancing and teaching. In my dancing, it has allowed me to have greater control over my body and to dance actions easily and effortlessly. And it has given me better ways to teach that are easy for my students to understand.
Check out Diane's blog here
About the Author:Diane Jarmolow is a pioneer in the field of ballroom dancing. She founded the first vocational training for ballroom dance teachers, the Ballroom Dance Teachers College (BDTC). Based in Oakland, California, BDTC has trained hundreds of people to become successful dance instructors, and Diane's BDTC-in-a-Box is being used to train teachers in studios throughout North America and abroad.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.
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