Lines are important in dance. We create shapes with our bodies and the quality of a line can either make or break the intention, message and aesthetics of a movement.
Many dancers struggle to refine this technique on the pole, especially in the leg and foot area and it’s no wonder given the enormous feat we are requiring our bodies to perform while at the same time ensuring that we are protecting ourselves from a fall or injury – pointing our toes can sometimes be the last thing we’re thinking about.
So what do we need to know in order to create beautiful leg lines in our dancing?
For me, creating consistent, aesthetically pleasing leg and toe lines begins from the thigh.
Lie down on your back, legs open into a “V” like position and imagine a spiral extending from the inside of your thigh (hip flexor area), out around your thigh, spiraling around your knees and calf muscles and finally in around your ankle and extending out your big toe.
Stick with that thought and just streeeaaatch into it – curl those pinky toes in toward each other with super strong thighs and legs while pressing the arches of your feet up toward the ceiling. Think of exposing or presenting the instep of your foot (for a visual and verbal description, view my POLE DANCE TUTORIAL : LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN UNIQUE WALK STYLE @2:01 for a more detailed description on externally rotating the legs).
Become familiar with that feeling that runs from your thighs to your pinky toes.
Now take it to the pole:
The more you relax, the easier it is to manage your lines. When you are over gripping due to lack of strength, skill or confidence, your lines reflect that strain. Practice, record yourself and watch your footage! (If you are not recording and reviewing your movements each time you train, please take a minute to read the following article on recording yourself so that I may try to gently persuade you to change that practice). This will help you to become aware of the ‘feeling’ of your body’s alignment in comparison with your actual visual positioning and will help dial in precision body memory.
Another exercise you can try is to dance a freestyle ‘leading’ with your toes – every thought in mind being on your toes and let them lead the dance. This exercise will make you more aware of your feet and lines within your usual movements and yields a new strength and purpose to your movement as well.
With consistency and diligence you can train your body to reflect your desired movements.
Lastly, teach yourself to be aware of lines outside of your dance from architecture and nature to shadows and the movement of water. Be mindful of them in your dance and present them in your movements.
Dancing is all in the details – the energy, the intent of a line and where you direct the gaze of your audience.
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