As cliché as it reads, “the body is the dancer’s instrument.” We use the body, rely on the body, and depend on the body to do our job. We must listen to it too. When we have a muscle spasm we have to consider drinking more water, when the body is fatigued we must calm our dancing, when we bruise we have to adjust our diet, and when our bones become fragile we may consider increasing our intake of calcium. To meet the demands of our work (rehearsing and performing, day-after-day, season-after-season), we must listen to our bodies. Beyond this listening act, dancers’ aren’t required to know the education behind the body, but for those who are interested; dancehealthier would be pleased to fill you in.
Today, dancehealthier, will continue the series, “An educational look inside the body,” with a special look at the Pelvis. Indeed, the pelvis is crucial to a dancer’s movement, flexibility, alignment and strength. So let’s study it!
The two coxal bones (hip bones) along with the sacrum and coccyx (tail bone) form the bony pelvis. These bones are heavy and massive in weight and size. The sockets for the heads of the femurs are deep and heavily attached by ligaments to ensure an extremely strong limb (leg) attachment. The pelvis is structured and anatomically responsible for bearing weight, even more so than its responsibility for mobility and flexibility (which may be surprising to some dancers). In fact, the combined weight of the upper body rests on the pelvis, putting into perspective its weight bearing responsibility.
To better understand the pelvis, dancehealthier would like to compare the male and female pelves. These differences have an impact on center of balance and anatomical alignment for the female and male dancer. The hope is to educate dancers, coaches and teachers to better know the body while correcting technique.
General Stucture: Tilted forward, broad, shallow and has a greater capacity. Adapted for childbearing. Wider.
Bone Thickness: Less, bones lighter, and smoother
Sacrum: Wider, shorter, sacrum less curved
Coccyx: More moveable.
General Structure: Tilted less foward, adapted for support of a male’s heavier build and stronger muscles; More narrow.
Bone Thickness: Greater; Bones heavier and thicker
Sacrum: Narrow, longer
Coccyx: Less moveable.
This explains why most men can turn better and longer, and jump higher and higher than the average female dancer. But, it doesn’t mean that females can’t turn better and longer too. Anatomically understanding these differences, may bring up some questions? Should we approach technique differently for males versus females due to anatomical differences? Or maybe we already do – naturally.