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  1. #1
    Junior Member hede's Avatar
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    Default posture - pelvis alignment

    Hello everyone,

    please bear with me if someone has asked this before (just give me the thread!) -

    I've been watching a lot of dvd's lately (instructional and performance) and there seem to be two distinct styles of 'posture', even if its a very subtle difference.

    One way is to lengthen the lower back and although not actually 'tuck', it does straighten out some of the natural lumbar curve. Like rachel brice, other tribal fusions, Ansuya (I think?). And I think this is how I dance.

    The other way is to maintain the natural curve in the lower back (like original ATS, Ava Flemming...can't think of others right now). Which to me looks quite different. It creates a small crease in the side of the stomach and the hips (to me) are noticeably tilted slightly so that vertical movements aren't truly vertical but slightly aimed forward (in the line of the angle of the pelvis).

    Is this something that other bellydancers notice? Is there a general preference or is one just a different look from the other?

    apologies if I'm completely mad(!)
    Hede

  2. #2
    Member Samira bint Aya's Avatar
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    Almost every instructor that I have come across teaches the “lengthened lower back” posture as correct for protecting your lower back, and necessary for better control while dancing.

    Perhaps the difference you are observing is due to some dancers wearing high heels? Could this be the case? Dancing on heels creates quite a different look to some of the pelvic movements..

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hede View Post
    Hello everyone,

    please bear with me if someone has asked this before (just give me the thread!) -

    I've been watching a lot of dvd's lately (instructional and performance) and there seem to be two distinct styles of 'posture', even if its a very subtle difference.

    One way is to lengthen the lower back and although not actually 'tuck', it does straighten out some of the natural lumbar curve. Like rachel brice, other tribal fusions, Ansuya (I think?). And I think this is how I dance.

    The other way is to maintain the natural curve in the lower back (like original ATS, Ava Flemming...can't think of others right now). Which to me looks quite different. It creates a small crease in the side of the stomach and the hips (to me) are noticeably tilted slightly so that vertical movements aren't truly vertical but slightly aimed forward (in the line of the angle of the pelvis).

    Is this something that other bellydancers notice? Is there a general preference or is one just a different look from the other?

    apologies if I'm completely mad(!)
    Hede
    I'm a great believer in dancing with a lifted ribcage. I rarely tuck or teach a tuck as I've found this produces some very odd postures. Certain moves require a bit of a tuck, but you can't tuck constantly when you dance. Raising the ribcage frees up the whole hip area, abdominal area and lengthens the spine. Watch all the top dancers and you'll see this rib cage posture...it's nearly always elevated. Ballet dancers do it too.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    I teach with a neutral pelvis (ie the position where the pelvis is neither tilted neither forward or back. This is the optimal position for movement - and safer on the lower back. In neutral the anterior hip bone is slightly lower than the posterior superior iliac spine)

    For some people that will be their natural posture - which is great. For those who naturally tilt their pelvis back they will need to learn to correctly align it - by lifting at the front - not tucking at the back. The look can end up similar but if you think "tuck" and use your glutes to do it you lose your ability to dance!

    Unfortunately, for those with lordosis (duck butt) - their lower abs tend to be very weak so they have great difficulty in lengthening their back by using them - so they often resort to tucking.

  5. #5
    Member RanyaRenee's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Kashmir;123444]For those who naturally tilt their pelvis back they will need to learn to correctly align it - by lifting at the front - not tucking at the back. [QUOTE]

    I agree with Kashmir that this instruction can help people a lot who have too much lower back curve (exaggerated lordosis)--by putting the focus on the lower abs and pelvic muscles, and then the glutes of course will still engage but not as much as if you "tuck".

    Lately I've been taking private sessions with a really great Pilates instructor, and discovering some other postural positions for the pelvis--subtle differences, like imagining the pubic bones moving away from the rib cage, which can create a little more lordosis than I had been doing lately. I'm kind of interested to see how it affects the rest of my muscles there. We all, I think, find patterns that work for us for certain things, but it's kind of cool to change it up, try something new, and see what it affects. Finding balance between all the muscles and joints is an endless process, worth re-examining again and again. There is not really one right way, I feel. Over time something that worked and has been comfortable may need to shift to the next concept that someone's body needs. I think this is one reason why people may resonate with different teachers more than others--the teacher may be working with a posture/pattern of muscle usage that "feels right" to the student... it may be what they need now in their physical journey.

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Instead of using the word "tuck" to verbalize posture, I ask my students to engage their ab muscles "to protect your back", and I ask them to think of their tailbone as really, really heavy, but keeping the glutes relaxed.

    That's what i teach as the "default" position, but of course there are many moves that require the abs to temporarily relax, and there are moves that require engaging the glutes. So the "default position" is just that, a default position. You vary away from it to create certain effects, then return to it.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    My only concern about considering using abs to 'protect the back' is that they actually don't have that role, and both abs and extensors need to work well to support and be flexible enough for the back to move normally.
    The role of abdominal strength/support in preventing back pain is over-stated and not supported by the literature on back pain - although you'll find physiotherapists and pilates instructors around the world will disagree with me! But if you're comfortable reviewing scientific literature and head to Cochrane reviews, you'll find it there...

  8. #8
    Member Samira bint Aya's Avatar
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    Personally, I “tuck” by using the psoas. I find that it also lifts the ribcage, and it helps me with balance. This is something I learned in yoga. (Being that my belly dance teacher lives in Athens and I live on an island, I am often left to my own devices).

    Since this thread has attracted the more experienced teachers and dancers, I thought I might ask your opinions on this method of “tucking”?

    (Hede, sorry for hijacking your thread here…)

    My teacher also commented that I tend to have a backwards tilt, which I am trying to correct, but the “tits over toes” posture of Egyptian style does not work for me at all!

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    The concept of using the psoas drives me crazy! I'm actually fairly sure that was the muscle I used during ballet to "lengthen the back" as directed, but when I get out my anatomy book and actually look at where the psoas attaches, I get confused all over again. Same when people say to use the low abs -- I don't think I do it right.

    I can put my pelvis in the "Duck Butt" position and alternately pull in and push out my low abs, and it isn't changing the orientation of my pelvis one bit. So am I not actually engaging the low abs? Or am I controlling the tilt of the pelvis by engaging the low back muscles or this mysterious psoas?

    What does it feel like to "pull" your psoas? If you're really exercising it hard, will you be sore the next day in the area where you would have a C-section, or right above and to the side of the pubic bone?

    Ava Fleming's "Hips" dvd from IAMED was the first time I actually heard an instructor say "don't pull in with your abs to align the pelvis." The way she described it, it sounded more like you were using the front of the thigh, or the movement generated from the place where your leg and torso meet. ???

  10. #10
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adiemus View Post
    My only concern about considering using abs to 'protect the back' is that they actually don't have that role, and both abs and extensors need to work well to support and be flexible enough for the back to move normally.
    The role of abdominal strength/support in preventing back pain is over-stated and not supported by the literature on back pain - although you'll find physiotherapists and pilates instructors around the world will disagree with me! But if you're comfortable reviewing scientific literature and head to Cochrane reviews, you'll find it there...
    Hmmm, I see your point, but in my experience in working with students, a lot of them have very weak abs, and therefore try to use their backs to do all the work of belly dancing. While I'd agree that the back muscles have an important role to play in producing belly dance moves, I find it necessary to bring students' focus to the front of their torsos to develop those muscles. When I say "protect the back", what I really mean is "build some strength in the front of your body to balance waht you already have in the back".

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