I’m very excited for today’s activity not just because of how it will serve you as a flamenco dancer but for how it can benefit your life and health far beyond the studio.
But before we get to that, let's reflect.
I don’t know about you, but during the past several days I’ve had greater awareness of all of the skills we’ve covered thus far in the Dance Like You’re In Class With Mercedes Home Challenge in all of my dancing (both within and outside of the activities). In class I hear Mercedes in my head giving me little reminders . . .
'Brazos redondos,' I heard her saying during my kids’ class yesterday. 'Mantener el mismo plié,' she called during Sevillanas class last weekend. In practice it’s the same, 'Todos los deditos, Laura,' I heard her saying today.
I can’t seem to get away from the challenge, nor do I want to because receiving these little reminders without my trying is one of my desired outcomes of this experience. Woo-hoo!
So, let’s get on with today’s challenge.
Today’s challenge is all about engagement of the core.
Pompi dentro ... cuerpo derecho,
We hear Mercedes say over and over again.
Bottom in and Body Straight.
Ready to get started?
We’ll do today’s exercise in two parts, we’ll start with the mirror then take it away so that we can focus on feeling the core muscles engage.
An Activity for Flamenco Posture & Your Core
- Stand profile in front of a mirror.
- Notice your bottom (or as Mercedes likes to call it, your pompi.) Engage your core muscles (this includes your abs, glutes, all those in your trunk) and to bring your bottom in. (It doesn’t matter how big or small your bottom is, engaging the core will make it stick out less. And we’re not doing this to make it look smaller, we’re doing this to use the body correctly and efficiently.)
- Now notice your upper body. You want your back upright and rib cage in. Once again, engage in the core to make this happen and look in the mirror to see that it’s happening.
- Hold for a moment just to feel which muscles you’re engaging. Let that go then engage again. You might even want to close your eyes here to better tune into the physical sensation. Once you have a good idea of what it feels like to correctly engage, move on to Part Two
For this second section, you'll want to move away from the mirror.
- Choose a move or combination to work with. (The one you’ve been using all week or another move that you know well. You want this to be something that you know well so that you can easily tune into your body and not get distracted by your brain.)
- Dance your move or combination as you normally would.
- Now, engage in your core the way you did in Part One, and execute your move again concentrating on the sensations in your body. How does this affect the move?
- To further explore, dance it again disengaging then reengaging to feel the difference between the two.
Pay Attention! If you notice any pain in your lower back while dancing, you’re most likely not engaging well in the core.
Take The Challenge on The Road
As you’re going about your daily activities today, tune into your core. Are you engaging? Build the habit of engaging the core in everything you do, walking, typing on the computer, sitting in the car, etc. You'll see it spill over into your flamenco dancing and vice versa.
A Note About Cuerpo Derecho
This is a default position. But there are definitely times when you bend your upper body or step away from that position, but this is what you come back to. It is a default position, similar to how keeping your elbows up is.
By the way,
This is a huge part of good flamenco posture, engaging the core, but there is more. We won't get into it today, so start here, ok?
Something I Noticed During Today's Activity
I had been struggling with the weight in one part of a remate that I’ve been working with this week. Upon doing today’s activity, I realized that I wasn’t engaging well during that part causing my upper body to lead me astray! So glad I figured that out. (figure it out link)
Tell me, What Did You Notice?
How did it feel to focus on engaging the core while dancing? What did you notice when you danced it without engaging as opposed to engaging? Was it easier to execute when you engaged well? Let me know in the comments below.