I had a total “duh” moment in salsa practice tonight.

There’s a move in the choreography where you drop down in a wide stance (grand plie in 2nd position), drop your head and torso over the left knee while straightening the right leg, and the shift your weight, lunging over to the other side. Think Pussycat Dolls. However, I had been feeling decidedly un-sexy when trying to execute this move.

When I asked the director what was going on, it turns out I was staying too tucked in. SALSA POSTUREIn translation, with my knees bent, I needed to be sticking out my butt out and arching my back. As soon as I realized this was the problem, I was able to revert back and the whole choreography felt more fluid. This is correct salsa posture. It’s something that felt very natural to me when I first started dancing, and it’s something I taught my students when I was teaching. Yet in the year that I have been devoting myself to the study of modern dance, I have lost the instinctive placement of my body into a posture that used to come so naturally to me.

correct ballet postureA year ago, it was so hard for me to get that tucked-in, tight core, straight spine posture required in my modern dance class. Now it seems that I have re-molded my body to instinctively put itself into the opposite of what had come naturally. On the upside, it means the modern training has been working. It also explains all the comments I’ve been getting while social dancing salsa about how I must do ballroom (I don’t. Never have.).

I hadn’t been to a formal salsa class/practice in about two years. As of last week I’m doing modern Sunday/Tuesday and Salsa Monday/Wednesday. I have to figure out how to “flip the switch” each day. I actually view this as an excellent opportunity.

My director likened it to switching between dancing salsa on 1 and on 2. In the beginning it’s very challenging and you need to focus on one, but with time you are able to easily switch between the two (as I do).

In September, I wrote a post about how I was able to devote myself to my two “dance addictions.” Everything I wrote still holds true, but I must add to the list this more specific point about differences in posture between the two styles. At the time, I wrote “I am not sure if I am sacrificing one technique for another by doing both salsa and modern simultaneously.” I think that up until this point, the answer has been “yes,” but from here on out, I believe that I’ve reached a moment in my development where that can change.

My “duh” moment gives me the knowledge I need to be intentional in the placement of my body. I don’t think it’s at all an insurmountable challenge, and I look forward to applying my new intention to my dancing.

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