Posture pelvis is neutral, knee is neutral and the

  Posture is the way the human body is positioned and how it is
held. The body’s posture can be different depending on how it is held: intentionally
or unintentionally. The body’s posture is held intentionally when it is
achieved through extra effort and unintentionally when being natural without
any effort put into it. The term posture also describes the relationships between
different body parts, their anatomical arrangement and how well
they do or do not fit together.

  The correct postural alignment is very important in
dance because first of all, correct posture lessens the risk of any injury.

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Secondly, having a good posture allows the dancer to move easier without extra
effort put into specific movements/elements. From the lateral view, correct
posture is determined when the cervical spine has a normal lordotic curvature,
head is positioned over thorax, thoracic spine has a normal kyphotic curve and chest
is comfortably upright. Both shoulders should be neutral and lumbar spine should
have a normal lordotic curve. In addition, with correct posture, pelvis is
neutral, knee is neutral and the ankle has normal dorsi-flexion. Having a
correct posture is one of the key things in being a great dancer. It guarantees
a dancer better balance and stronger technique.

  As mentioned
above, without a good posture injuries are more likely to happen because
different muscles and bones are connected to each other and have an affect on
each other as well. This means that when, for example, a dancer has protracted
shoulders, it also causes hyperkyphosis and anterior head carriage. These
conditions can later lead to more serious injuries such as chronic back and
neck pain, thoracic outlet syndrome and also lack of shoulder mobility. With
all of these conditions and injuries, it would be very difficult to achieve
goals as a professional dancer. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep in
mind to work on the posture to ensure the body is working correctly and no
further injuries can happen because of that. There are many different ways to
improve the posture, which include doing different exercises depending on the
postural problem, strengthening and stretching muscles and visiting
physiotherapist for consultations. Putting effort into improving posture
definitely help avoid serious injuries. What is more, the correct postural
alignment is the key to having a strong dance technique. A dancer with the
correct posture is able to do certain movements, elements and the overall
technique better than a dancer whose posture is not so good. When there are
problems with a dancer’s posture, they have to use extra effort to do some of
the technical elements or in worse cases they are not able to do them at all
due to the bad posture. For example, when a dancer’s feet are adducted, it is
more difficult for her/him to stand in different ballet positions and do pliés
because naturally the dancer’s feet are more inwards. What is more, when a
dancer has neutral pelvis, she/he also has better balance because pelvis has a
huge role in helping keep the balance and balance is extremely important for a
dancer to do different technical elements such as turns, pliés, relevé etc.

  For
analyzing postural tendencies of a dancer, I have chosen model number four. I
have assessed the model’s posture to be flat-back posture with a slight forward
carriage. Based on F.P Kendall’s theory, flat-back posture is when the head is
forward, the cervical spine is slightly extended and thoracic spine is flexed.

In addition, the lumber spine is flattened, pelvis tilted posteriorly, hips are
extended and the knees are slightly hyperextended with plantar-flexed ankles or
slightly extended with dorsi-flexed ankles. The model’s posture looks a little
bit different when viewed from different sides. From the left lateral view, it
can be clearly seen that the model has flat-back posture with slight forward
weight carriage. From the right lateral view, the model’s posture is close to the
ideal posture but still has some signs of flat-back posture. To fully analyze
the dancer’s postural alignment, different views have to be considered. I am
going to analyze the model’s posture using left and right lateral views,
anterior view and posterior view.

 The first
thing to notice from the left lateral view is the model’s pelvis. She has a
posterior pelvic tilt, which means that the front of her pelvis rises and the
back of the pelvis drops. A dancer with posterior pelvic tilt can easily injure
their knee, foot and ankle because of the excess muscle tension during
training. They are also more likely to develop other injuries such as disc
bulges and nerve issues. The model’s both hamstrings are tight because of the
posterior pelvic tilt but according to the dynamic test, from the posterior
view (roll down), the right side is tighter due to having a rotation of the
body to the right. What is more, her knee is slightly hyperextended, which
means the knee joint is forced to extend beyond its normal range of motion.

This also explains why her upper body is leaned forward a bit (can be seen in
the picture) and why she pushes her pelvis back when rolling down (can be seen
in the video). She also has slightly plantar-flexed ankle. This means she is
more likely to injure her foot/ankle because most of the ankle injuries happen
in plantar-flexion. So, if her ankle is already in plantar-flexed position, she
is more likely to injure it as well.

  Her lumbar
spine is flat, thoracic spine is flat and cervical spine is slightly extended.

This clearly shows that from the left lateral view, the model has flat-back
posture. From the picture it is not possible to determine her head position,
although considering the fact that she has flat-back posture, it can be assumed
that her head is positioned slightly forward. With a flat back, dancer can find
it difficult to stand for a long period, which also makes it more difficult for
a dancer to train because a lot of dancing is done standing on feet and doing
it through back pain is extremely uncomfortable and not good for the overall
health of a dancer. Problems with back can later spread to other parts of the
body as well, making it even more difficult to treat the problems and
recover.   

  From the
right lateral view, her posture looks similar to the one from the left lateral
view, although there are a few things to add. Firstly, from the shadow on her
shoulder blade, a slightly retracted scapula can be seen. Also, the shadow from
the elbow shows a lateral rotation. This means her arm is rotated away from the
center of the body. However, this does not have such a huge affect on her
dancing abilities.

  In addition
to both of the lateral views, anterior and posterior views help notice and
determine postural imbalances that cannot be seen from the lateral view. When
the lateral views are good to know the positions of, for example, back, neck
and knees, anterior and posterior views are better to understand and determine
the positions of shoulders, feet and hips.

  From the
anterior view, it can be clearly seen that the model’s left shoulder is
elevated and protracted while the right shoulder is depressed. The depressed
shoulder can also be seen from the dynamic test in posterior view. This can be
caused for example because she carries a bag on her favourite side, which in
this case is the right side. Also, as seen from the right lateral view,
retracted right shoulder can be seen from the anterior view as well thanks to
the shadow on the arm. What is more, due to the fact that her right shoulder is
retracted and the left shoulder is protracted, her body is slightly rotated to
the right. There is a shadow on her right side of the upper body, which help
see that the model’s body is rotated. This can also be confirmed by the dynamic
test from the anterior view when the model does the roll down exercise. From
the anterior view, the lateral pelvic tilt can be seen, which also affects the
position of the right shoulder. From the dynamic test, it can be clearly seen
that her right hand touches the floor before her left hand. This also confirms
that her right shoulder is depressed. The fact that she has a slight lateral
pelvic tilt and her right shoulder is depressed, also have an affect on her health
and dancing. Lateral pelvic tilt can cause back and hip pain, which obviously
can make dancing more difficult. It can also cause muscle tension and poor
spine alignment. Having lateral pelvic tilt means that her body weight is
mostly on her right side, which also means that she has better balance on her
right leg and probably struggles more finding balance on her left leg, for
example when doing turns or other technical exercises. From the dynamic test,
it can be seen that when the model is doing pliés in the first position, she
carries more weight to her right leg, therefore her gastrocnemius muscle on the
right side is bigger and stronger than the one on the left. Also, from the
dynamic test when the model is doing relevé, it can be seen that she has better
balance on her right leg. From the pictures and the videos it can also be seen
that her right foot is slightly abducted, which means that it is a little bit
turned out and it helps keep the balance on the right side and when doing pliés
in the first position, her right knee is pointing more outwards.

 

  From the
posterior view, the back of her neck can be seen and also that the
sternocleidomastoid on the left side is shorter than the right side of her neck,
which also means it is probably more tight. That could be because the model’s
left shoulder is elevated and therefore the right side of the neck seems
longer. In addition, the posterior view shows that the model has her left arm
more forward than the right one and this helps understand the fact that her
body is rotated to the right.

  There are different ways to improve the
posture and therefore also the dance ability. Firstly, as mentioned before, the
model has lateral pelvic tilt to the right, which means her quadratus lumborum
muscle on the right side is weak and lengthened. In contrast, gluteus medius
muscle on the same side is tight.

It can cause serious
problems, but it is also possible to improve it by stretching and having
massage done to relax the tense muscles. Daily exercises are also important to strengthen
the weak muscles. The model also has a depressed and retracted right shoulder,
which means the trapezius muscle needs to be strengthened in order to improve
the position of the shoulder. Since the upper body of the model is rotated to
the right, she should stretch the left side chest and shoulder muscles
including pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, the serratus anterior and
latissimus dorsi. Also, do exercises, which help strengthen the weak muscles
such as the middle trapezius, the rhomboids and the rear deltoids.

 

  To find and maintain a neutral pelvis, a
dancer with a posterior pelvic tilt should stretch and massage the tight
muscles, which include hamstrings, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and
abdominals. They should also activate the inhibited muscles such as hip flexor
and lower back muscles. In addition, it is important to strengthen the weak
muscles including hip flexor group and lumbar spine erector group. It can also
help if the dancer trains not only the muscles but also brain to keep the
pelvis in the neutral position. The model also has slightly hyperextended
knees, so she has to keep in mind to do more strengthening exercises, which do
not take the knee joint beyond normal. This can also help the dancer improve
the body weight carriage bringing it back towards neutral position. What is
more, yoga can be beneficial for people with hyperextended knees. ”Muscles are
responsible for the movement of bones” (Todd, 1997:62) and yoga helps
stabilize loose tendons and ligaments by strengthening the muscles.

 

  To
improve the flat-back posture the dancer should firstly stretch her abdominals
to lengthen tight muscles. It is also very important to stretch hamstring
muscles because this will allow the muscles to return their normal length as
tension releases. What is more, strengthening the hip flexor muscles such as
the psoas muscle, iliac muscle, sartorius muscle and rectus femoris could help
improve the position of the back.

 

  In conclusion, the model I had chosen for my
essay does have some postural imbalances that can have an affect on her dancing
abilities, although there were no huge imbalances and the postural problems she
has can be treated. There are different ways to improve the posture and treat
different body parts and their positions. One of the most important things to
do when having postural problems is visiting physiotherapist for consultation to
get to know the problem and how to correctly treat it. Doing different
exercises and stretching also has a huge role in improving the posture.

Finally, it is extremely important to put time and effort into taking care of
the body because without a healthy body, dancers cannot use their full
potential.

 

 

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