Posture in dancing

Whether dancing Latin or Ballroom, posture is one of the most important things for beginners to learn and maintain.

Good posture can change your look entirely and improve both your balance and partnering.

Dance posture starts with a stretched spine by engaging the core muscles. The ribcage should feel as though it is being lifted, which helps to lengthen the spine. One of the classic mistakes beginners make is to breathe in and hold their breath as they lift the ribcage and engage their core, but any lifting of the chest needs to allow for normal breathing – after all, we need to breathe.

Your head should be held erect with the chin parallel to the floor and shoulders straight and down. I can’t tell you how often beginners lift their shoulders to their ears when learning to have a good dance posture. Try to pull your shoulder blades back so that your shoulders are back and erect – Nick always used to remind us to pretend we were ‘cracking walnuts between our shoulder blades’.

Your pelvis needs to be comfortably under your body, not pushed forward so the spine is arched or sticking out backwards. Your knees are positioned between your hips and feet with your body weight remaining slightly forward of the middle of the feet, between the heel and the ball of the foot. And your knees should be soft and relaxed, not locked or totally straight.

Unfortunately, in today’s world of looking down at our mobile phones or slumped over computer screens, most people have poorer posture than ever, but by practicing good posture in dancing you will find that not only does your dancing look good, you will be able to dance together much more easily. And the added benefit is that it will help you in your everyday life, strengthening your back and core muscles.

Terri Bodell is a qualified CBT psychotherapist, FitSteps instructor and Principal of Nicks Dance School in Potters Bar. These days her focus is back to dancing as she is completely dedicated to continuing the legacy of her fiancé Nick Peacock with whom she set up Nicks Dance School and who sadly passed away.