Lengthen, pull up, increase the
Developing ELONGATION in the movement is the art of extending throughout the body along specific lines, planes and alignments during every dance movement as well as in seemingly static poses.
How and where we place and load our spine, hands and feet, our elbows and knees etc. deeply affects the quality, sustainability and range of movement.
As a dancer you know the feeling of lengthening (not stretching), whether originating from the back and breathing out along the arm and out through the fingers in a ports de bras or the simple extension of the leg in a tendu is a feeling of beauty, growing, freedom and greater control.
How does elongation happens? The following
multiple lines and supports of extension can give you as a performer greater control and balance and will facilitate the next movement:
• Through axial elongation up through the entire spine and out of the top of the head -> opens space between the joints and creates space for movement.
• Through the supporting foot (under the big and little toe joint and centre of heel), rooting down through the floor and up along the same supporting leg and the external rotation muscles toward the waistline.
• Through and along the lifted leg extending out through the stretched foot into infinity.
• From the back through both arms and out of the fingers in a graceful extended breath.
• The eye line should extend out beyond the line of the arm and fingers.
• Through core control to get a balance of stability and mobility and ensuring the appropriate amount of stiffness for the anticipated load (elongation) Note: “Core” means more than just your abs, it refers to the entire musculature of the trunk.
• Resistance bands, straps and springs can create traction and support elongation in arms and legs.
• Breath into the movement - for example: breath in the preparatory arm(s) of an exercise to extend the movement and arm "length".
• Imagery to facilitate the use of good extension: "extend past your fingertips or toes", "lines never ends", "like a spotlight shining forward/up"