How to feel whether the spine straight?

February, 2014

Question:

Dear Franziska, I try to work on my spine and have a question: how do I actually feel whether my spine is straight & long? - thank you.

 

Answer:

Dear Ange, I understand that it can be difficult to feel or be aware of the shape of one's spine. Try to get a sense of your spine by standing with slightly bent knees against a wall. Your sacrum, mid and upper part of your spine should touch the wall. The lower part of your spine will not touch the wall because of its natural curve.

In ballet training, we do not want to eradicate this natural curve but lessen it to attain a more erect posture. We do so by engaging the lower abdominal muscles/ drawing them towards the lower part of the spine.

 

After some practice, you should be able to transfer this awareness or sensation away from the wall into the ballet studio.  Another tool is the mirror. It is there for a reason. If you cannot feel your spine, look at you from the side and adjust. Does this help?
 

picture from Dance Magazine, January 2008

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