What I’ve noticed with working with many dancers over the years is at times, ankle mobility, hip mobility or lumboplevic stability can negatively affect alignment during dance movement.
The plie is a fundamental movement not only in ballet but in all dance forms. It is the preparation for jumps, turns, acoustic sounds and all propulsion.
This is why regardless of the dancer’s main discipline, I assess plie.
Another common misconception is that turnout (external “outward” rotation of the hip joint) is generated equally by both hips.
This is not the case. The favoured gesture leg and vs supporting leg can present with contrasting mobility.
In this dancer, the right ilium has an anterior tilt due to tightness in the deep hip flexor (iliopsoas). What most forget is that the deep hip flexor is also an INTERNAL rotator of the hip. In other words, it opposes turnout.
During her dance conditioning session, we focused on the engagement of turnout from the deep external rotators of the hip joint using bands and tactile cues in addition to focusing on foot, spinal and pelvic alignment.
The result was level heels at the bottom of grand plie which improved a balanced turnout generation from not hips as well as stability from the lumboplevic area.
The awareness gained from this can continue to dance training in class and can prevent any injury from developing in the ankle, knee, hip or spine in the future.
Here is another example of dancer demonstrating similar alignment issues on the opposite side.
Being aware of these alignment issues can be overlooked in a class setting when the dance educator is responsible for a general overview of the movement. This is why private dance assessments and conditioning in conjunction with manual therapy by a knowledgeable practitioner is key to the success of a dancer with serious goals.
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