Exercise 3: Finding Your Axis

One way dancers keep their balance, even as they are doing series of complicated steps and turns, is by being aware of the vertical center of their bodies, otherwise known as their axis. As they dance, they focus on keeping their axis vertically straight and not allowing it to fall sideways. The above exercise will help you find and feel your axis.

Keep your feet together, but put weight on the ball of only one foot. Rotate your shoulders in one direction, keeping your hips facing forward. Continue rotating your shoulders 180 degrees, and notice how your hips follow the turning motion of your shoulders.

As you do this exercise, think of your body as the capital letter "I." Your spine is the vertical line of the "I," and your shoulders and hips are the horizontal lines at the ends of the vertical line. As you pivot, try to maintain the vertical and horizontal lines of the "I." Keep the spine straight and your shoulders and hips horizontal. If you maintain the "I" shape, your turn will be balanced.

When you are comfortable with pivoting in place, try stepping into the turn. When you step into the turn, rotate the shoulders first and let the hips follow. Focus on maintaining the "I" shape as you step into the turn.

Try these turns in both directions.

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