SPIRALS AND ROTATIONS - ARMS, LEGS, FEET

“Confidently ignorant as to what goes on under our skin, we go about our daily doings absolutely dependent upon what lies within but with no more interest in it than the dog has in his anatomy.” Mabel E. Todd.

Like Mabel E. Todd so wisely put it, ignoring what goes on under our skin we ignore that every move we make, every step we take, has a spiral at its source.  That running to catch a bus our articulation undertake a lot of spiralling to assume elasticity and strength. Bones grow in spirals, the DNA molecule, the building block of life, is a double spiral! Spiral! To spiral or to rotate? I will leave the academic discussion about what a spiral is, and what a rotation is aside to state that what we, the dancers, consider as spirals in reality are rotations. But tradition carries its burden, BalletBodyLogic being my field I grew up with the spirals Martha Graham gave us so, when we rotate a part of our body around a center (rotation axis), like the twisting of the torso around the spine, I call it a spiral. In this session we will explore the functional anatomy of the joints in legs and arms, how much each joint spirals, and some of the muscles involved. Exploring how, when we bend our legs, the iliac bones spiral inward, the femurs outward, the tibia inward and the feet… We will complete the picture by discussing the ankle joint inability to spiral; how balance signals run in the middle of the articulation; and observe how spiraling one part of the body influences all the other parts of the body…when you kiss a flower the universe shivers…

 

SPIRALS AND ROTATIONS - SPINE

“…which show that the spine is as deep as it is wide. At all levels the column is deep set and occupies about one-half the diameter of the body from back to front.”
Mabel E. Todd, The Thinking Body

Like Mabel E. Todd so wisely put it, we tend to ignore the size of our spine, not to mention the spirals it performs with every step we take. Spiral! To spiral or not to spiral, would rotation be a more correct term? Nevertheless, I will leave the academic discussion about what a spiral is and what a rotation is aside to state that what we, the dancers, consider as spirals in reality are rotations. But tradition carries its burden and spirals were given to us by Martha Graham so, when we twist/rotate the torso around the spine, we call it a spiral. In this session we will explore the functional anatomy of the spine, how much spiraling capacity the spine has, and become aware of the balance signals running in the middle of the vertebrae bodies. Basic movement patterns of the spine are: bend (extension and flexion), spiral and glide. All worthwhile exploring yet, following my conviction that a healthy spine spirals as much to the left as to the right we will take a shortcut to the internal picture show which allows us to visualize the bony parts, explore and feel how each and every vertebra spirals. Maybe not in a spectacular way, but anyway, we will even feel spiraling in the sacral bone and the coccyx after its individual parts have fused! I believe the increasing amount of back pains and scoliosis are due to lack of movement and/ or over-exercising the superficial muscles, which leaves the deeper lying muscles (red muscle fibers) week, sometimes without space to work. This time consuming exercise has shown to be very efficient in strengthening and stretching the spines’ deeper lying muscles, providing space in the joints and support for the bony structure aches and pains become history. The good news is that it is no longer needed when the deeper lying muscles are strong.  Once strong, contrary to the superficial ones, they remain strong.