Latin & Ballroom Dance Frame

In August we posted an article on Latin & Ballroom Dance Hold, however your holds can mean nothing if you do not have a good posture and frame while dancing.

Starting off many beginner dancers are either too flexible/”floppy” or too stiff and rigid but finding that equilibrium is essential. There are some tools that have been created or improvised to help dancers with their frames; one seen available overseas is the Dance Frame Teaching Tool (featured image), not having used this before I can not comment on the use of this tool, however it is ideal that dancers be able to create and establish their frame by themselves (don’t think we will ever be allowed to dance competitions with such tools 😉 ). Another we recently heard of is my absolute favourite, using a neck brace 😀 I can imagine how the extension of the brace helps to keep the head and posture up but I’m very sure I would be giggling through the whole dance.

The question is how do you get the posture right by yourself, well basically practice, practice practice practice. But of course we need to ensure you practice the right things, so here are a few pointers to practice to improve your posture and frame.

Firstly your stance/posture:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly apart.
  2. Ensure you are well balanced and centred.
  3. Have slightly toned muscles.
  4. Pull your lats down. I usually tell students, imagine you have the small hooks attached round your shoulder blades and on these hooks strings are attached. Imagine me pulling all these strings together and tying them in the middle of your back. With this activity your shoulders should be pulled downwards and almost feel as if you are pushing out your chest.
  5. Push your neck against your shirt’s collar (if you have one, if not imagination is key). Another imagination game; you are tightening your tie…
  6. Rise your chin but not so that your head is tilting back.
  7. With this tilt your should be able to keep your eye line towards the edge of the ceiling and wall.

Secondly your frame:

  1. Now that your posture is correct lets move on to your frame. You should be able to be standing very comfortably with a lifted and light posture
  2. Keeping your shoulders down, lift up your arms into circular frame position.
  3. Ensure your elbows are placed in front of your shoulders, do not break your frame by having your elbows behind your body. This usually gets broken as soon as the couple starts dancing.
  4. Let your body and frame move as one, do not allow your arms to extend out allowing the lady to move further away.
  5. To follow that make sure that your feet remain underneath your body with each step.

Exercises:

  1. Just using the basic elements of dance ie. forward, backward and side steps to left and right get into frame position with your partner. Take turns to take the lead by using your frame as effectively as possible. Communication is key so be sure to tell your partner where they are lacking or over emphasising.
  2. Now do this exercise again but practice the extreme opposites, first with no frame at all and then very stiff. Take note of how your partner struggles to follow.
  3. Finish off with going back to reach your equilibrium lead and follow.
  4. Daily life exercise, while you are doing your grocery shopping, look at how you push the trolley around the store and what is required to move the trolley around. Refrain from pulling and yanking the trolley around but using the resistance in your hands to elegantly move around (that is if you have the space and the patience between the other shoppers 😉 )

Happy Dancing!