How can anatomy provide help in the training process to become a successful dance performer?

by Anonymous
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How can knowledge of the circulatory, respiratory, and the nervous system provide help in the training process to become a successful performer?

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Nov 07, 2013
Maria's reply
by: Maria

Dear dancer,

Moving is a complex process that each person executes in a unique way. As you can see in professional dancers, some achieve great moving skills thanks to a learning process.

Learning to move in specific ways has been experienced by teachers and students for a long while now in our cultural history.

Thanks to that, we know that some people learn to do particular movements just by imitating others. That is, in fact, one of the most popular teaching-learning methods used throughout the dancing field.

However, experience has shown that the imitative method is not always effective or appropriate. Some approaches in the study of human kinetics have shown that there are other types of knowledge that may guide people to a better understanding of how to move and its achievement. That's one of the reasons why dancers are usually given anatomy classes nowadays.

Learning about the body and the way it functions may provide the dancer with a tool to enrich her/his 'movement image'. The 'image of movement' is what we imagine and believe that we are doing while moving. For example, the fact of knowing the real size of the lungs may cause that someone achieves a deeper breath. Another example is that knowing that your psoas muscle is attached to your spine may cause that you achieve a greater extension of it.

The examples of this are infinite, as are the infinite images of movement that each person creates while moving and to move. Therefore, anatomy is not the only complementary knowledge that may help a dancer to become a better performer. Nowadays, there are enough approaches that help and sometimes even completely replace the traditional dance learning methods. Contemporary dancers in particular love the somatic trend of techniques, in which all kinds of information, from emotional, to intellectual are used to find new possibilities to move.

But, as with every tool, the benefit of learning anatomy depends on the way in which we use it. Sticking rigidly to anatomical ideas may also cause difficulties. Anatomical information may also be simply ineffective for some people. So, dancers use anatomic knowledge as far as it proves to be useful for individuals in their specific search for enhancing dancing skills and life in general. Otherwise it's not useful at all.

Another benefit of studying anatomy is off course that it may help you prevent injuries. For example, if you know the physiological range of movement of your knee, you will avoid going further, where you could get hurt...

I believe you may like our page about dance techniques, because there you'll find information about practices that use other methods than the imitative one:

Contemporary dance techniques

And we also have a very basic page for anatomy in our health section:

Dance Anatomy

Warm regards,


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