I have many memories from my dance training years in college, but there are certain experiences that stand out as dance life changing. I'll never forget what I heard my Ballet teacher say during our 8:15am class, or the extreme confusion I felt after I heard it.
We were at the barre, working our technique and control in balancing in coupe devant. At the time, I was managing a collection of dysfunctions and limitations in my abilities. Of course, I had no idea of any of that, then. So, as I struggled trying to maintain my balance on releve and release the death grip I had on the barre, my teacher shouted, "Think about the Y-ligament in your hip and stabilize it. Engage. Lift. Hold!"
Continuing to struggle to control my body, my mind became fuzzy, "My what now?" I had no idea what she was talking about and it was something inside MY OWN BODY. My mind started trailing with more curiosities, "What is that?" "Why do I need to engage it?" "Where is it?" "Why does it matter?!"
Although opposing the teacher's intent of helping me find my balance, this instruction left me with great interest in wanting to better understand my body and discover what was so important about this "Y-ligament" to my ability to balance.
**Side note: To avoid you hunting to discover your "Y-ligament" in the hopes of it being the secret to improving your balance, I feel I must share with you the information I was being offered wasn't even accurate. Your Iliofemoral ligament has nothing to do with balancing on releve. It prevents your hip from over extending. It is not a muscle you can engage and you have no conscious ability over its role in your hip.**
I hope this side note will just emphasize my point to this story… We can’t use what we don’t know. Even worse, we will try to use everything we learn and know from those who teach us, even if it isn't correct.
This is exactly why it is CRUCIAL for both dance teachers and dancers alike to have their own developed understanding of the body, and the roles the body plays in different movements. This is why anatomy, physiology, and understanding of the movement mechanics that make up our actions within dance technique is knowledge dancers should be gaining through their dance training.
Think about it. If you were going to bake a pie for Thanksgiving dinner, you would need to know the recipe that helps turn the eggs, butter, milk, etc. into a delicious pie! Your ability to dance follows the same concept. What we see and often focus on is the end result (the yummy pie to connect back to our analogy) but there are ingredients involved in the movement (our bones and muscles) that follow a recipe (Anatomy, Kinesiology & Physiology) to create a beautiful movement. There is so much more that goes into making a movement happen, and it all comes from within. If we don't have the recipe, we don't get the pie. On the same token, we don't have the correct recipe, we won't get the desired result.
The more we know about how the body works and what the recipes for movement are intended to be, the safer we can move and the better we can perform! This is what every dancer, dance teacher, and dance parent wants. Dance science and body awareness is where we start to help ensure that dancers have what they need to know and can use it to reach their dance goals!
Are you looking for more resources to help you understand your body and how it moves within dance technique? Check out the resources created and cultivated just for passionate dancers like you on the BCA Website - linkhttps://www.bcartistry.dance/bca-dancer-resources
A lover of all movement, Brittany received her Master's in Dance Education from Rutgers University and graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with her B.F.A. in Dance Performance. Brittany is also a Certified Human Movement Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and a Yoga Therapeutics Instructor, using her knowledge for research in the support of safe practices in the development of dance abilities. She has inspired and supported young dancers & their families as well as studio communities through her work with BC Artistry LLC, offering personalized and comprehensive coaching, training, and consultation. Brittany works with other local dance medicine and wellness specialists as the team leader for the Bridge Dance Project of New Jersey Chapter. You can learn more about Brittany and her work by visitingwww.bcartisry.dance, and share in her passion for dance on Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/bcartistry.dance/?view_public_for=337597600396109 and Instagram-https://www.instagram.com/bcartistry.dance/.
Brittany Cohen, CPT, HMS, EdM & BFA in Dance
BC Artistry LLC - Founder/Owner
"Dance with passion, succeed with science."
I teach busy dance moms and their passionate dancers, ages 7-14,
who feel like they don't have a voice or a plan when
addressing injuries & development in training
through1:1 sessions, giving your dancer
the tools to overcome & improve their technique,
and you the relief of knowing your dancer is safe & supported,
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