Ballroom Dance > diaphragm breathing for latin dance

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by euchoreo, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. euchoreo

    euchoreo Member

    I'm just starting to focus on improving my breathing in latin dancing. In standard, it was different. Waltz breathing seems intuitive and I'm too much of a rookie in the other std dances to worry much about it.

    My latin dances, on the other hand, seem to be suffering from improper breathing. Up until now, I've been a chest breather. To make things worse, I have a bad habit of holding my breath or purely exhaling during any high energy part or line. Obviously, this leaves me out of breath in no time.

    A friend recommended I try breathing through my diagram, but after about 30 minutes of attempting rumba with it, it's not working out. I think I read somewhere on the forum about breathing into my back, but I'm not sure if there's more to it. Whenever I try to breath and move, my chest feels very congested and I get tired about as fast as if I had been holding my breath. Any ideas or suggestions on approach or exercises would be greatly appreciated.
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    hi euchoreo, do you mean breathing as a means of styling, or the steady supply with oxygen during physical exercise or through attention demanding choreos respectively?
  3. Janson

    Janson Active Member

    Diaphragm breathing - breathe low and into the stomach area. Putting a hand on your chest and belly you should feel your lower hand come out a whole lot before the chest moves. Filling as much as possible into the bottom, sides and back of your lungs/body.
    For breathing during dance I've been taught to A) Do it! and B) Breathe through the nose. Apparently it helps draw in more air so you can breathe deeper. This is also good for recovery immediately after a dance rather than panting like a dog.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Practically there are actually types like chest breather or stomach breather. But physiologically seen there arenĀ“t. Your physical constitution or your psychological specifics simply forces you to breath in this or that way.
  5. twothreefourone

    twothreefourone Active Member

    It takes time, especially if you're not used to breathing with your diaphragm already. Try breathing exercises for few minutes every day to condition yourself, it can take around 6-8 weeks. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, practice exhaling with different intensities and timings. And stop and take it easy if you get light-headed :D
  6. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

  7. millitiz

    millitiz Member

    I was also told to breathe with my back.

    I also had (probably still have) the problem of forgetting breathing so sometimes my dance looked way too stiff, and me running out of breath quickly. I was told to constantly thinking about exhaling - since we will naturally inhale when we keep exhale. And that will help me relax. Also, I think singing the music while dancing should help.
  8. Aurora Rose

    Aurora Rose New Member

    Thank you all for bringing this up and posting advice! I am having the exact same issue but I didn't understand what my coaches meant when they were trying to explain how to breathe when dancing. I am a classical singer... hopefully I can translate those skills into my ballroom life!
  9. euchoreo

    euchoreo Member

    Breathing for oxygen supply. Whenever I work on my form, I have a habit of either exhaling or holding my breath. When I dance, I do the same thing, which doesn't leave much time for inhaling.

    Thanks for everyone's feedback. I'll try out some ballet breathing drills and see how it works out.
  10. musicbrain

    musicbrain Member

    Something else you can try is incorporating the breaths into the dancing itself. I've just started experimenting with using breathing to enhance my body action in Latin (especially Rumba) - it's hard to explain but I actually have spots in my routine where I inhale while compressing the front of my rib cage/expanding the back, or exhale to stretch the front. (I find I look and feel stiff if I do the opposite.) This also helps me remember to breathe into my back and not my chest, and I don't get short of breath as quickly.

    I haven't figured out Jive yet though. I just pant like a dog (yuck!)
    twothreefourone and debmc like this.
  11. twothreefourone

    twothreefourone Active Member

    This! :) Exhaling can give you "groundedness" whilst inhaling can help with"height" or volume.

    And as for jive, pretty much! I inhale when I'm going "up" and exhale on the "downs", usually looking like this: :eek::oops::eek::oops::eek:... Still working on keeping enough oxygen getting to my legs!

    Good luck though, this is what I'm working on too, so I know how you feel! The breathing exercise that have been suggested will help with making the incorporation into the movement more natural.
    theAnnelis likes this.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    oddly, I have much more trouble breathing in rumba than in jive...
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  13. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    The jive seems to be my problem, especially now that my pro is throwing me some extremely athletic routines.

    Although we are practicing for a full 3-4 song rather than the typical 1-2 minute heat... It's something I'd like to nip in the bud. All the other dances breathing feels natural to me besides the jive.

    Must. Not. Hold. Breath. In. Jive. :confused:

    Had someone suggest that using the same breathing exercise while jumping rope is the key. Going to give it a shot this weekend.
  14. euchoreo

    euchoreo Member

    I've made good progress through the use of muscle stretching vs tension, improving my connection, and marking breathing at spots.
    I used to have a lot of muscle tension during certain lines, but have trained myself to think of them as stretching instead. Since doing so, breathing them is easier. I find that the even smallest of changes in partnership can have a big impact on conflict and breathing. If I'm not attentive, I can keep doing the same routines the same way week after week. But I've found that certain parts of my routine had me bracing (and holding my breath) because they had needless pressure with my partner. Working out the body mechanics (which took some time) resulted in less conflict and no points of bracing my muscles and holding my breath.

    The third has been just marking breathing at certain trouble spots in my routine.
    j_alexandra likes this.

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