Second position

Before we dive into the question of the week I want to share a link that was given to me by a past student of mine. It is a very thought provoking article about shoes and how they influence our gait. Very interesting! Click here to read it – and thanks, Laina, for sending it!

Secondly I want to acknowledge Hiroyuki Nagaki, a dance medicine specialist in Japan. He is teaching a course for physical therapists on working with dancers and is using my Essential Anatomy: A Multimedia Course as the textbook! I’m so delighted that this information on how to dance smart and teach smart is literally being shared around the world!  (Picture on right is being shared with permission by all participants)

That leads nicely into my third announcement which is you have a chance to win a free copy of Essential Anatomy: A Multimedia Course for Dancers by going to the Dance Advantage website (click here) There are free giveaways all week long – my offer goes live this Friday and the way you are entered into the drawing for this product is by answering telling me what you want me to answer in my Dance Myth-busters (working title).  I keep hearing things like ‘lift your leg from underneath’ and I thought for once and for all – let’s de-myth and explore some of these corrections we’ve all heard.  Let me know what you want included in this next product by leaving a comment at the Dance Advantage give away page! Wait until Friday, and then enter this exciting contest.  Check out the other free gifts when you’re there!

Okay….. onto the question

I was wondering if you could offer some advice. I am a contemporary dancer. I spend a lot of time doing floor work. My sitting second position isn’t that great, although I spend lots of time trying to better it. I would like to achieve a wider leg spread and be able to lie with my chest on the floor. What do you think I should I do?

p.s. Love your website.

Kind regards, Miki

Good question, Miki!  My answer is going to take several steps.  My first question would be about hamstring flexibility.  Are you able to sit upright with your legs extended in front of you without slumping or rolling back on your pelvis?  If you can’t sit easily upright, then you’ll want to first focus on gaining more flexibility there.

Next check to see how easy it is to stand on one leg and place the other on the arm of a sofa, for example.  I almost always encourage dancers to stretch the adductor muscles one at a time, rather than being in second position on the floor.  With your leg on the arm of the sofa, knee facing up to the ceiling, press gently down with your heel as you slowly lean forward with a flat back.  It will feel as if you are sticking your pelvis out in back.  Come back up, then press your heel gently down again into the sofa as you tilt sideways over your leg.  Think of dropping your sits bone as you bend sideways.

You’ll feel those 2 variations in different places.  Then of course, do the same thing on the other side.

Third question would be to see how easy it is to lie on your back with your pelvis close to the wall and your legs open in the straddle, second position.  In this position the back is at rest and elongated, and the focus is on passively stretching the adductor or inner thigh muscles.  If you can do that fairly easily and have a good second position in that position, but can’t sit in second position and lean forward, the issue might be in the hip structure.

Leaning forward while sitting in second position requires the hips to easily rotate and turn out.  A dancer who has anteverted (the ones who can W sit) will have more problems with this position.  They will have a hard time keeping the knees facing the ceiling in this stretch and may or may not be able to do what you are proposing which is placing your chest on the floor while sitting in second.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions will help you improve your second position – and/or help you understand what the elements are that may be holding you back:)

Here’s a quote – author unknown that I will end with …” Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another”

Have a great week!

“Education is the key to injury prevention”