Why is dancing so much more natural with a stretched spine?

#1
I feel like I'm able to lift my ribcage from the sternum and spine and pelvis are just hanging underneath. Now when I'm doing rhythm I feel like my body just effortlessly goes where I want it. Can anyone explain the reasoning for this in more detail? Obviously a big part of it is just having the body lined up properly but there's got to be more. I realize a contraction is taking place in the spine when it stretches.
 

vit

Active Member
#2
It would be nice if some doctor answers this question. I'm quite sure that what actually happens is considerably different than what we feel or were taught to feel ...
 
#3
I realize a contraction is taking place in the spine when it stretches.
Where abouts in the spine do you feel that? It sounds a bit contradictory...

I think a big part of why lifting your ribcage makes your movement easier is that your head and shoulders make up a significant portion of your total weight, so by using your muscles in your upper body to support them properly you will reduce the work your lower body has to do in order to move.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#4
I realize a contraction is taking place in the spine when it stretches.
Where abouts in the spine do you feel that? It sounds a bit contradictory...
It is the physiological truth. The only thing our muscles can actively do is contract. For one body part to lengthen or stretch there must be an active contraction somewhere opposite.

Like bending your arm up at the elbow. You are actively contracting the bicep to make that happen. The tricep is passively stretched in the process.
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#5
true...

because, while being in a natural anatomical state doesn't (shouldn't) take any of that (our spine is supposed to be in alignment without any muscular flexion or extension), but if we have been negligent in maintaining good posture for whatever reason throughout or lifetime, then we will have to activate various muscle groups to regain that alignment...and if we are in motion and doing things in the frontal plane like having our head out and knees forward while moving, then there will have to be flexion and extension mostly in the back and core to assist the skeleton in staying aligned
 
#6
Where abouts in the spine do you feel that? It sounds a bit contradictory...

I think a big part of why lifting your ribcage makes your movement easier is that your head and shoulders make up a significant portion of your total weight, so by using your muscles in your upper body to support them properly you will reduce the work your lower body has to do in order to move.
I can't tell for sure. I feel myself using muscles in my core as I stretch my head toward the ceiling and my rib cage up. When I do that the pelvis pretty much feels like it's hanging underneath it all. I just naturally lines up where it should. It almost feels like everything is just hanging under the shoulders.
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#7
I'm doing rhythm I feel like my body just effortlessly goes where I want it. Can anyone explain the reasoning for this in more detail?
any time a portion of your body is out of vertical alignment it will take extra work ( force over time) to move it back into alignment, then if you move with it out of alignment the moment of inertia is greater as you go to move ... again more work needed we perceive this effort... and its absence when we are well aligned

dance like a pencil

and if we are in motion and doing things in the frontal plane like having our head out and knees forward while moving, then there will have to be flexion and extension mostly in the back and core to assist the skeleton in staying aligned
correctamundo that fasc is smarrttttt;)
 

vit

Active Member
#11
any time a portion of your body is out of vertical alignment it will take extra work ( force over time) to move it back into alignment, then if you move with it out of alignment the moment of inertia is greater as you go to move ... again more work needed we perceive this effort... and its absence when we are well aligned
dance like a pencil
I'm not sure that I frequently see vertically aligned bodies in standard or latin.
In latin when doing cuban movement one part of the body is always left and another part right of the vertical line. Or forward / backward. Or diagonal.
In standard ladies are trying to achieve a big shape and they are very far from vertical. Even men are not in vertical alignment. Not to mention sways
So where is that vertical alignment ?
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#12
I think it best to have led with the question at the end of your post...vertical alignment doesn't have to mean being perfectly vertical...but it does have to do with being aligned, meaning no unnatural. un-gradual, broken change of direction ...there can be degrees of rotation, etc...the issue, as I see it, is more about whether or not the line is unnaturally broken...even when the head is out in standard or there is a diagonal stretch across the midline in latin...ideally (generally), that is still a gradual, natural logical progression, not a sharp dysfunctional change in direction that dangerously compresses vertebrae or places a part of the body in an unsupported state
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#14
I was speaking from an ideal physics/engineering standpoint not a practical one

and it proves my point as dancing takes work ( force over time) to achieve and maintain these non vertical postures

and you can have twist and be vertically aligned btw twist is in a different axis
 

vit

Active Member
#15
Yes, I can understand that
However, moving of a human body is quite complex 3D thing. There is nothing vertical in human body, there is natural curvature of the spine etc.
So this oversimplification doesn't say much. Your muscles work all the time anyway, not only in dancing, just some of them more and some of them less ...
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#16
I feel like my body just effortlessly goes where I want it. Can anyone explain the reasoning for this in more detail?
so I started with the theoretical reasoning


It would be nice if some doctor answers this question.
:D

There is nothing vertical in human body
yes there is but that is off topic
an applied answer would go more like this
"what I said earlier....then any effort to maintain alignment will result in a decreased perception of work and dancing seems easier that is what was happening to you (OP)"
 

vit

Active Member
#17
So why then all people are not walking around with upright dancer-like postures, because it would result in decreased perception of work for the body, which tends to use minimum amount of energy needed, to conserve energy consumption ?
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#18
well...for one, most of us are no longer spending the majority of our day standing...we are spending it in our cars or hunched over a computer...so our bodies have begun to compensate for that in ways which show up unfavorably while we are standing....but if you look at people who spend the majority of their day standing, provided that they know anything at all about how to fix what ails them, you will find that most of them are using pretty good posture
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#19
So why then all people are not walking around with upright dancer-like postures, because it would result in decreased perception of work for the body, which tends to use minimum amount of energy needed, to conserve energy consumption ?
because we haven't evolved to that position yet

we really are homo pseudoerectus...:eek:
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#20
well...for one, most of us are no longer spending the majority of our day standing...we are spending it in our cars or hunched over a computer...so our bodies have begun to compensate for that in ways which show up unfavorably while we are standing....but if you look at people who spend the majority of their day standing, provided that they know anything at all about how to fix what ails them, you will find that most of them are using pretty good posture
oh and that!!!

pretty sure we didn't need chiropractors as much back in the ancient days:D
 

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