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  1. #1
    Member Ravenhairedbellydancer's Avatar
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    Lower back position question

    Hi, I am new to bellydance and so far I am studying from a DVD and online,, I have learned a great deal and I'll be starting classes at Serena Stuidos in a month or so,, anyway I have a little problem and its making me afraid to even practice anymore, I have a pronounced swayback( my lower back swoops way in b4 my butt) and i know this is the opposite of proper posture for bellydance. My swayback is something racial( im of mixed race including african), and not a "condition". I was wondering , is it even a good idea to attempt bellydance with a swayback?( it can damage the sciatic nerve) or is it ok so long as i "tuck" my pelvis. For me "tucking" feels so unnatural becuz its so natural to me to have my butt erect? should i just wait till class and see what the instructor thinks or am i being overcautious? any advice will be appreciated ,, THanX

  2. #2
    Member gwinity's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I'm certainly not a teacher or pro, but I do know what you mean. I also have a swayback from years of trying to compensate for the weight of my "assets", and while I find tucking the lower back/butt in and under feels uncomfortable and unnatural, it doesn't hinder my dancing. One of the girls I dance with has scoliosis, and has never had any injury from BD. Talk to your doctor first, but as long as you're careful and warm up your spine before class, you should be OK.

    (My teacher's warm-up routine includes lower back flexing, rocking the pelvis forward and back and holding it in a tucked position. You may also find that yoga or pilates increases your spinal flexibility.)

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Hi Ravenhairedbellydancer, Has anyone in the medical profession tell you if you were swayback? Swayback or lordosis is the severe inward curvature
    ofthe spine in the lower back region. It has nothing to do with your racial background, I repeat it has Nothing To Do With Your Racial Background Here is proof, place your dominant hand on the base of your spine,where it meets the pelvic girdle. Is there a DEEP curve in this area, and if so, does your abdominal muscles protrude forward. It is likely you have swayback" This a problem with spinal alignment and not about the "junk in your trunk" It may feel natural for your butt to "stand erect", but it doesn;t help you engage you core muscle groups.
    You are on the right track regarding tucking your pelvis, this will also help pull in and engage the muscle in your lower abs. Understanding your body is the first step in loving yourself.
    Yasmine

  4. #4
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Default Rampant Rumps

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenhairedbellydancer View Post
    Hi, I am new to bellydance and so far I am studying from a DVD and online,, I have learned a great deal and I'll be starting classes at Serena Stuidos in a month or so,, anyway I have a little problem and its making me afraid to even practice anymore, I have a pronounced swayback( my lower back swoops way in b4 my butt) and i know this is the opposite of proper posture for bellydance. My swayback is something racial( im of mixed race including african), and not a "condition". I was wondering , is it even a good idea to attempt bellydance with a swayback?( it can damage the sciatic nerve) or is it ok so long as i "tuck" my pelvis. For me "tucking" feels so unnatural becuz its so natural to me to have my butt erect? should i just wait till class and see what the instructor thinks or am i being overcautious? any advice will be appreciated ,, THanX
    It is also very natural for me to "release" my butt back in real life. My hips are usually quite "mobile" when I walk because of how my hips and legs are put together. Some girls can't move their hips very far at all when they begin dancing. I started out with a full range of motion, but my big challenge is moving my hips precisely.

    You will probably need to practice moving while "tucked" - don't overdo it at first, because you don't want to strain your muscles. It is easier to do certain moves with your butt "dropped down", instead of released to the back. Umis (teeny hip circles) are much easier and prettier when dropped.

    After dancing for a while, I discovered that I had lost some of the strength in my lower back :eek: (because I wasn't always supporting my butt with those muscles anymore), but I had more strength in my lower abs and those muscles right in front of my hip bones . To regain/maintain my lower back strength, I lie face-down on the floor and raise my torso and/or legs off the floor, and hold.

    I don't think you can hurt yourself by dancing "tucked"; it is far easier to hurt your back by dancing "released". Go ahead and learn to tuck; you can modify the amount of tuck according to how the muscles in your front feel on any given day. Maybe your butt will not go flat against the wall like the other girls!!! And that's OK. It is more of a feeling, than a look - you should feel your back get longer at the bottom, and a little more tension in your front (at the hips, and way below your belly button).

    FYI, popular Egyptian dancers sometimes do little "butt perks" in their dancing as accents. You probably won't see this much locally, but watch Dina on YouTube. You can do the "perk" easily if you keep your lower back strong - lots of American dancers have a hard time with it.

    Oh yes, and my teacher doesn't want me to fully release my butt at the end of my undulations...she says I'm sticking my butt out, but that's my natural release. So I learned to finish my undulations with a "half-release" to modify for my natural posture/rumpitude.

    I hope this is not too much babbling. Try the tuck, stay strong, and enjoy dancing!

  5. #5
    Junior Member Selkie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Hello fellow swaybacker! Yes, I have a moderate lumbar lordosis and its always been a bugbear in dance class. In ballet and jazz, they want you tucked all the time, but even when I am tucked, I don't look it *lol* Used to get into arguments with my teachers and have to bring doctor's notes

    Definitely try to tuck as much as you can. That will stretch the lumbar ligaments and help keep your back from cramping up. There are some moves that I just can't stay tucked for, like hip figure-8s, the motion of angling back, I have to tilt my butt back and arch in the lumbar - that can aggravate the low back and cause some aching later. Watch out for it and don't overdo any movements that give you some back pain. Definitely get with a teacher who can correct your technique right away, as you are learning, that will save you a lot of backache.

    Do stretttttch your back after dancing. Do hug your knees to your chest, bend forward and hang, lie on your back with your feet up on a chair, all the things that stretch the curve out of your low back and loosen up the ligaments. This will help keep your back flexible and keep your lordosis under control. It'll never go away, of course, but as long as good simple stretches relieve the aching, it won't need intervention. If your lumbar lordosis is very pronounced, you may want to check in with your doctor while you get going in dance, to keep tabs on your spine and nerve health. My lordosis is visible but not aggressive, so my doctor is not worried about my dancing, as it improves my lumbar strength and the mild aches still respond to stretching.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mouse's Avatar
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    one of the girls that takes classes where I do has a sway back and she's been dancing for years, so in her case at least it isn't a problem.

  7. #7
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    As people have mentioned, it would be a great idea for you to consult your doctor. I am guessing it will probably be all right for you to take your classes and to use the correct technique. But better safe than sorry.

    At one point I was often corrected by both my dance teacher and my pilates teacher to keep a tuck in my pelvis. I may have overcompensated and tucked as much as I could until my back was completely flat. I started having back pain as a result. I thought that was good posture and tried to do it all the time--not just dancing or pilates class. My chiropractor pointed out that the spines are meant to have a bit of a curve and I was probably using a lot of extra tension to keep that posture. I found the moves less painful when I focussed less on whether I look tucked (my tush and belly are both rounded) and instead fucussed on keeping my spine long and pelvis in neutral position. For many moves I do use a more tucked position, but not in the same tense, compulsive way as before. I later moved and had new pilated and dance techers (I am not criticising them by the way), neither of these corrected my posture as much with my new focuss.

    There are good reasons why most belly/Oriental dance teachers encourage a tucked posture--the main reason is to protect your back. You may need to work on finding the right/safe posture and it may not look the same on you as someone with a flatter or smaller booty. Just don't overdo it! If anything is painful--ask your new teacher for advice and if that doesn't work seek professional advice/treatment! Have fun!

  8. #8
    Member Ravenhairedbellydancer's Avatar
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    wow thanx all of you,, im gonna reread all of your replies,, i feel much more optomistic about this now ,, im just gonna have to tuck in such a way that i dont feel like im straining ,, Yasmine, Typically, lordosis is not racial BUT it has been found to be something much more common in Africans and I do get it from the African side of my family, African men and women both have lordosis and also have large buttocks and the lordosis only accentuates the large glutes. I am not unhappy about it, it adds an extra curve to my body in the profile, but I am unhappy if its something that hinders my dancing . I feel like when i stand up straight, shoulders back, as straight as i can,, my lower spine pulls up and gets very tight, and im sort of like a duck lol,, and my abdomen is thrust somewhat forward,and thats how I've always been, but Im gonna continue to practice my tucking so i can feel a flexibility and looseness back there...

  9. #9
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    Hello Raven,

    Just thought to add my two cents to your issue. I would like to begin by stressing the importance in seeking medical advice before undertaking dancing, specifically if you feel there may be a problem. Only you know your limitations and areas of discomfort but sometimes one needs to understand the effect of even the simplest things on the week points of our body. So do consult one.

    Now to add my personal side, I am egyptian so North African, and although most Egyptians are pear shaped with wide, long butt, massively curvy hips, and small waists, I tend to have a more lean, no waist line, no bust but MAJOR BOOTY, and with it have a very deep arch. I have had problems with my lower back from since I can remember but never allowed it to stop my desires to learn dance. The interesting thing is that when Ii went to my doctor he told me to stand straight against the wall and try to 'tuck my bum under me" which was very awkward, painful and quite draining. He also told me that it was important that I attempt to fix this even a small amount as when I become pregnant the weight can and will cause me many problems.

    Now the funny thing is that I was so young when I had this appointment, and I of course ignored it to some degree, then I started dancing and guess what the first thing was that wewere taught, tucking the pelvis. LOL

    The only thing I can tell you if you are starting off, is that it will be more difficult for you to feel comfortable and not mechanical but do not despair, you have two things you are working on at once, realigning your spinal cord (to some degree) and learning foreign movements. So persists and trust me it will feel better... BUT REMEMEBR ALWAYS STRETCH YOUR LOWER BACK.... to this day i probably spend as much time on my lower back warm ups than all the rest because of the arch. I also do A LOT (between 160 - 220) ab exercises a day (still not flat but I like it!) because stong abs will reduce the straing on the lower back.

    Enjoy!

    Assal

  10. #10
    Member Ravenhairedbellydancer's Avatar
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    Ya Asal said:"Now to add my personal side, I am egyptian so North African, and although most Egyptians are pear shaped with wide, long butt, massively curvy hips, and small waists"

    LOL thats amazing that is my shape exactly,, its funny no one ever refers to a long butt but i've got one, long and wide , moderatley protrusive, and my upper body is totally disproportionate becuz its skinny, and Ive got this swayback and it makes me self conscious, but it helps me to know that others have purused bellydance with this type of back,, so do u mean that i can actually somewhat straighten my spine to some degree thru exercise??, i think im gonna schedule and appt with a chiropractor soon....
    Last edited by Ravenhairedbellydancer; 07-31-2006 at 01:40 AM. Reason: quote

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