Our body is so cleverly structured! And through dance and other movement practices we get to explore it and create a more clear map of it. Going through my personal practice I started questioning some of the most common cues we hear about posture and walking not just in Tango but in every day life.
Building on posture and walking
One thing I have come to realize is that the model of “one size fits all” instruction, actually fits no one in the end.
We are all unique makes of the same “grand plan” so we are not the same.
We might all have a head, a torso, a pelvis and a spine but all of these are somehow slightly different in each of us. And so it takes some time and effort to understand how you are different from me while following a similar high-level design.
So, I invite you here, just for now, to leave all the things that all ready know to the side and try something different.
This doesn’t mean that all you know is wrong, only that we need the space and the liberty to try something new.
As you will see in our video we are starting by taking a look at Skelli. Yes, yes the skeleton has a name..! haha
So Skelli is a very good imitation of a human skeleton, of that “grand plan” so he will be our map for this video. Remember last week by the way that we were talking about comfort? Well today you have another map as a safety net, to explore in depth posture and walking, that will be the image of Skelli in our video.
A few things to notice
- Nothing in the body is a straight line and also nothing is set on a 90 degree angle
- We are made of curves and irregular shapes
- Everything is somehow related and dissociation is voluntary
- Especially side reach and rotation are coupled, meaning they always happen together
- It is a good idea to allow rotation to show up in your side reaches and vice versa for a healthy spine and more efficient movement
- We have more flection that extension in the spine. That is actually true for all joints.
- Posture is not arbitrarily good or bad. So it is better to reframe that as helpful or unhelpful or healthy or unhealthy
- Following the muscle fibres as we move, that are also curving, is less stressful and has more flow compared to following straight pathways of movement
- Sitting to standing has a lot to teach us about walking
- Walking is automatic, therefore trying to understand how it works is surely not an easy task.
- At the end of the day, the more chaotic your walk the better. We have movement along all three axes when we walk so it is bound to be a complete chaos!
Questions to help you in your explorations
If you tried the exercises in the video, then maybe you are already asking some of the questions below. On the other hand if you are still unsure and haven’t gotten to it, maybe you should ask the questions below.. 😉
Do I need to use so much muscle to simply keep my body up? Why squeeze the shoulder blades together if it is opposing the curve of my thoracic spine? Or why pull my tummy in if it is opposing the lumbar curve of my spine? How come good posture seems to be working against the body structure? And what would it mean to follow the body structure? If my hips and shoulders are not square while walking then what are they doing? And how does that affect my connection with my partner when dancing?
Now I know that these might be putting a big question mark to many things that hold a certain importance for you. So to avoid any frustration, think of it as something you can try just for now. It doesn’t have to replace anything you do.
Personally, when I want to try something new, I say to myself “Give it go just for now, just once!”
So what do you say… are you gonna give it a go?