7.3 On Balance And Your Head Position

The human head has significant mass, as well as being at the very top of the body and very easy to throw around. If you're trying to control your balance to within a centimeter or less, as top dancers do, then throwing a heavy weight (head) around, out of sync with what you're trying to do with the entire step is quite detrimental.

Most of the head's mass is in front of the axis of the neck. If you leave your head looking straight forward, then most of the head's weight will be forward of your body's center of gravity. That leads to counter balancing the head weight by sticking out one's butt or leaning on one's partner, neither of which is considered good dance form. If you put your head slightly to one side, then the head weight will be more over on foot and therefore less likely to require body or frame distortions to counter-balance the head weight.

Try the following exercise with your partner: You and your partner must each take closed dance position, bodies against each other, with the arms out and somewhat forward to maintain a convex back (keeping the spine as the most posterior portion of the anatomy). Then try to lead her. By holding the arms out and slightly forward and up but not touching each other, it is possible to practice movement w/o relying on the arms AND maintain proper frame. It should work for a waltz, if you are *really* good, you can lead a Viennese waltz. You'll immediately feel how important the balance of the couple is. Yes, you will feel, when your partner moves her head! (Note: For proper movement and frame, you must maintain a 'forward poise'.)


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This file is part of the lead/follow FAQ list. These are articles compiled from the newsgroup rec.arts.dance by Mark Balzer. Html-isation by Victor Eijkhout, victor at eijkhout dot net. See also the Rec Arts Dance FAQ list Copyright 1996/7/8/9 lies with the compiler, the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

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