Aligning your pelvis correctly eases pain and turns on your turnout. How to tame the tilt.

A few weeks ago I wrote about “tucking”, a habit many dancers fall into. I say many, not all because I’ve seen a trend going in the opposite direction, where dancers stand/move/etc with their pelvises rotated forward (anteriorly) , hyper extending their lower backs and tipping their hips.

Dancing with an anterior pelvic tilt is a big no-no. It can cause back pain, is bad for your spine, tightens and shortens the muscles that flex your legs at the hip, and (most importantly for dancers) makes it impossible to turn your legs out correctly. We need to tame the tilt!

Tyra Banks and the anterior pelvic tilt

You see a lot of non-dancer folks walking around with a forward pelvic tilt, a sad state of affairs for the lower backs of America.  Tyra Banks, on top of the trend, has enthusiastically adopted this posture as her very own by dubbing it “the tooch” (sometimes calling it a “booty tooch”).

Tyra tooching late at night

On the past season of her so-bad-it’s-good show she forced contestants on her show to perform a song about it. It’s  kind of sad that I actually know this (and am willing to admit it).  My only excuse is that I don’t have cable and this is why I watch the show.

I sincerely hope that “tooch” will not be widely adopted within popular culture or everyday speech, but either way we can’t blame Tyra for our postural mis-deeds.  We need to take responsibility for how we stand-all the time!  Time out of class is important if you want to (re) form your stance-most of us spend a lot more time walking around in the real world than we do dancing (sad but true). So let’s talk about how we can tame the tilt.

Strengthening the lower abdominal muscles

Many of us have a hard time engaging the lower part of our “core” abdominal muscles (from your belly button to the top of your pubic bone).  Because most of the world’s population wants to have a flat stomach (a happy side effect of strong lower abs) you can find endless instruction on line to help strengthen your lower abdominals.  Here’s a link to a simple series of exercises from (who else) Real Simple magazine:

And a great video illustrating a way to strengthen your lower back by engaging the lower abdominals to move out of a forward pelvic tilt (ignore the fun Swedish subtitles).  Notice how he goes to a neutral position (not tucked):

Bonus points: tuning up your turnout

Getting out of a forward pelvic tilt and moving towards a more neutral (and correct) position will also allow you to use your turn out.  An anteriorly rotated pelvis prevents your hip rotators from engaging.  Once you correct the tilt in your hips you may find you can better access (and improve) your turnout.  You’ll stand taller and move better. Time to tame the tilt!