|My shoulders are like this, just worse. Angel wings? Photo Credit|
My epiphany? If I pull down on your lats (latissimus dorsi), it will automatically pull my scapulae down into place, my shoulders will float back, my core will activate, and my ribs will drop down. Aka, your back is connected to your core. Best posture of my freaking life.
For a while now, people have been trying to tell me my core is too weak. I've been doing exercises to strengthen my core and back while mobilizing my ribs and stretching the muscles that have been tightening (I've got terrible rib/back pain on the left side. Hurts to breathe). What I realized is that I'm not too weak (although the problem started because I was), the problem is that I'm not activating the right muscles. I'm not too weak, or moving too much or too little, I'm not moving right. I realized that my back doesn't hurt when I activate these muscles the right way.
Now, obviously things don't change overnight. You can't change the habits of a lifetime in half a week, so I've still got back pain. But as I near the end of this year of college, it's comforting to know that college has taught me something that no doubt will carry me through the rest of my career. I may have to spend this entire summer repatterning the way I dance, but it will increase my longevity in the industry and decrease my injuries.
Parents, studio owners, teachers, young dancers, dancers of all ages: catch it early. Don't let your student/child/friends/self get away with inefficient movement. College has been a process of unlearning everything my studio failed to teach me or hammered into me and reshaping my dancing into something malleable and efficient. Do it now!
PS: I'm at 30,000+ views! SO EXCITED.