Last week we talked about some common dancer mistakes, and how to correct them for safe and effective technique. Today we will continue!
1. Unnecessary tension
Tension pulls you off balance. It tightens the muscles and causes injury. Stiff muscles are injury-prone muscles, which make free and confident movement impossible.
Unwanted stiffness can also limit your versatility as a dancer. Modern dance is concerned with trying to go into space off centet and off balanve. If you spend too much time holding your body stiffly, it's hard to make the transition from working in-balance to working off-balance.
Rhythmic breathing helps dissipate tension. Think of the lungs as another limb and pace the breath with the dynamics of the music. Sustain a sense of motion in the body, even when you are still. Doing so will help reverse the muscle memory of using tension as a form of stability.
2. Pinchimg your shoulder blades
Although used as a strategy to open the chest in front, pinching your shoulder blades together immobilizes the back. The serratus anterior on the sides of your rib cage is so overstretched that it can't work. Pinched shoulder blades impede the freedom of the arms and the support of the upper spine. They cause your weight to fall behind your axis, and strain the trapezius and rhomboid muscles of the back.
Think about widening the tips of the shoulders to the side, to allow plenty of room for the chest. It helps to think about the chest—full of your lungs, your heart, all those organs—as a sphere. We need to have enough room for all those precious organs to breathe. To relax shoulder blades, you cam focus on the movement of the hands. “Is the hand really a lively part of my being?" Dowd has her students ask. “The shoulder blade should support that hand."
3. Getting stuck in a rut
While physical habits impede progress, the deadliest sin is losing the drive to improve technique at all. Good technique begins with a dancer's approach to class. Being present and focused enables the dancer to learn combinations quickly—and correctly. Not listening and changing the exercise is unacceptable.
The worst thing a dancer can do is to get fixed into doing something a certain way, being safe. Keeping an open mind means more than just trying a different preparation for a pirouette. Being open to new styles of dance and new ways of moving the body is vital to keeping the art relevant.