OVERVIEW & PURPOSE
The words we choose to use when giving corrections to dancers hold an incredible amount of power. Corrections can transform a dancer by giving them the tools to improve their technique, movement quality, or artistry. However, corrections can also inadvertently trigger body shame. In addition, some common corrections that dance professionals give dancers aren’t anatomically correct. In this document, we will provide suggestions for corrections that dance professionals can give dancers that are both anatomically correct AND reduce the potential for body shame.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Experiencing body shame is one of the sociocultural risk factors for developing either an eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, or both. A 2014 study by Longborough University in the UK showed that dancers are at a 3x higher risk for developing an eating disorder than the general population. In addition, a study by Phillips and Menard showed that artists were at a higher risk for developing body dysmorphic disorder than the general population. Also, by giving dancers of all ages anatomically correct corrections, we are allowing them to become even smarter as dancers and in life in general. Knowledge is power, and when we know better we can do better!
- Instead of telling a dancer to pull in their stomach, try telling them the following:
- Make sure your lower back is shooting down toward the floor!
- Engage your center.
- Think of deep inside your core and engage your transverse abdominis!
- Think of touching your belly button to your spine.
- Instead of telling a dancer that they are sticking out their bottom, try telling them the following:
- Make sure your pelvis isn’t tilting back or forward!
- Engage your gluteus maximus.
- Is your sacrum in line with the rest of your spine?
- Instead of telling a dancer to lift their chest, try telling them the following:
- Lift your sternum to the sky.
- Instead of telling a dancer to tighten their thighs, try telling them the following:
- Engage your hamstrings
- Engage your quadriceps
- Squeeze the muscles in the back of your leg
- Squeeze the muscles in the front of your leg
- Instead of just telling a dancer to “turn out”, try telling them the following:
- Rotate your femur in the hip socket
- Imagine the backs of your legs coming closer together as you rotate your leg.
- Instead of telling a dancer that they have weak or lazy arms, try telling them the following:
- When you are using your arms, make sure you are thinking of engaging your back, too!
- Your arms come from your back, and engaging your back is what will give your arms energy.
- Engage your triceps by lifting from the underside of your arm.
- Instead of telling a dancer that their landing from a jump is “heavy”, try telling them the following:
- Be sure to roll through your feet and use your plie when landing from a jump so that you protect your feet, ankles, knees, and hips!
Tendu Anatomy Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/549157748296559733/
Abdominal Anatomy Photo: https://gouletballet.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/coremuscles.jpg
Longborough University Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24277724
Phillips and Menard Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1613834/