As dance teachers, we are always trying to get dancers to understand the importance of the core, spine and pelvis. Without proper fundamental association of anatomy, dancers at some point will become limited in terms of their progression and visceral body connection and awareness. The earlier we can engage dancers in recognizing the importance of anatomy in relation to how their bodies move, the better equipped they will be in terms of being kinesthetically and internally aware.
Below are some wonderful introductory exercises you can incorporate within your warm-ups to get your dancers on the path to discovering core strength and spine-pelvis alignment.
See you in the dance studio!
STANDING DEEP BREATHS: Deep breaths connecting the diaphragm to the back of the spine. Concentrate on the inhale/ exhale, rise and fall. Activate the deep abdominal muscles moving on the exhale.
ROLL UP’S & ROLL DOWN’S:
½ Roll-down & Roll- up of cervical spine- Standing. Dancers will activate the cervical spine and connect abdomen and breath. Cervical spine activates while rolling down ½ way for 4 counts and up for (4 counts of 8). Activates head-shoulders-upper spine.
Double time ½ Roll-ups-(2 counts of 8)
Full (floor) Roll-Up- Laying on back. Arms up over head. Roll up through the spine, engaging in the contraction and initiating from the abdomen and core. Shoulders down. Come up to sitting. Contract pelvis and roll back down to floor to repeat. Up for 4 counts, down for 4. (2 counts of 8)
HEEL ROCKS: Laying on back with legs extended. Heels are grounded. Ankles engaged in flexion. Reiterate difference of point and flex and where the initiation is supposed to come from. Vary tempo. Dancers should feel sacrum-heel connection. (4 counts of 8)
½ Tilt- Tailbone up for 4 counts down for 4 counts. Keep lumbar region on the floor. Emphasize breathing and exhale on the release. Slight contraction of the core and pelvis. (4 counts of 8.) Increase to double time (2 counts of 8)
Full Pelvic Tilt- Increase range of motion and fill out counts to lift lumbar and sacrum off the floor. Roll back down to neutral traveling through each vertebra until tailbone is last on the floor. Up for 4 counts of 8, down for 4. (2 counts of 8) Make sure breath is engaged. Release on the exhale.