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WHY is moving from our core “Correct Posture”?

I’m a WHY person. I understand everything I’m taught a thousandfold better when WHY it’s done is also explained – maybe you do too. For all you WHY seekers out there, I’d like to talk a bit about moving from our core – and why that’s considered “correct posture” in ballroom dancing.

Your core, in case you didn’t know, is a fist-sized space in your body, near your belly button. One easy way to find it is to try shifting different parts of your body side to side: when you find the part of your body that throws you off balance by moving it even a little bit sideways, you’ve found your core.

When we walk normally, we tend to lean forward from our shoulders, before taking a step. In a way, you might say we are always “falling” into our steps. This is fine for walking, because we generally only travel forwards, and it doesn’t require much precision – at least, until that harried businessman cuts you off.

In ballroom dance however, correct posture requires we move from the core, because we can stay balanced at every point in the movement. The same way holding a heavy bag in front of you is easier than over your head, moving from the core keeps you from tipping over, while executing the tricky steps of a pattern.

Since we can’t lean into our movement, we must push off with our feet to maintain correct posture. The pressure into the floor helps connect your feet to your core, giving greater control to your movement. This in-turn, allows your upper body to “coast” on top of your moving core, which is crucial for connecting to your partner in a controlled way.

Put another way, the upper and lower halves of your body are like a lamp resting on a table: To move the whole thing, which should you push, the table, or the lamp? Correct posture is only possible by keeping your upper body upright and still, while maintaining strong movement from your base.

Moving from the core also creates a more full-body or “natural” look. If a leader pushed their follower with their arms for example, their arms would look out of sync with their body, like they were wrestling instead of dancing.

By beginning the movement through the core and letting it radiate outward to the legs and frame, you won’t just have correct posture, but a comfortable, flowing movement as well.

About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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