THE BODY MATTERS.
Yes, because we live in them!
Apart from body types or individual characteristics, if you enjoy dancing, you probably want to (or should) take good care of your body, learn about it, and improve its potential. It's simple: whatever activity will have more quality with good tools. Ain't that right?
It doesn't matter if dancing is just a hobby, there will be only benefits from giving special attention to your main tool - your beloved, sweet and ever resilient body.
Whoever learned some sort of physical activity or sport at a young age has advantage, it's true. The correct use of muscles, the functional good posture, a set of skills and the familiarity with learning new ones... all this is more automatic for them rather than for those who start later (put your kids to learn stuff early!). But I witnessed over and over that it is never too late. Our bodies are magical, organic, alive, and they will respond to our intention and efforts. Tune in with the right mindset and go after your goals.
I started writing this post because I bumped into these images that show details we many times mention in classes, with an ideal direction for the muscles and a correct posture. This is based on Ballet principles, which was my first base. There's a lot to talk about it. First being, this is not the only way - different practices (for example yoga, swimming, martial arts, bodybuilding, circus etc. will bring different results in your body and demand different arrangements). Secondly, don't try to force yourself into this radically, it might cause you problems. Make sure you have professional advice/support. Pay attention to yourself and look for exercises that gradually build the strength and realignment you need (you might even need a chiropractor at some point). As a Pilates passionate, I particularly loooove slow exercises involving breathing - they facilitate the modification of the deepest tissues.
For your day-to-day life, this alignment makes you strong in a healthy and aesthetic structure. Many even say functioning in a correct posture makes you burn fat and build muscles in the 'desired 'spots, plus avoiding all sorts of problems like in the joints, headaches etc etc. For our swing dances, we don't seek a super straight and rigid posture, but you can still apply these principles, especially seen in L.A. Style. Take a look at the dancers in 'Groovy movie'. Shoulders back and down, supported by abs, core and back muscles. That doesn't mean the spine doesn't have mobility. Many times you'll see them curving their backs, but that's a conscious movement rather then a posture default or undeveloped supportive muscles.