Balance is something that we dancers seek out on a daily basis.
Some days we are on, some days we are off.
The science of standing up
Our bodies are complex systems and while we largely submit to the laws of physics, many aspects of how we work are not yet fully understood.
Balance (a.k.a. postural orientation or postural equilibrium) is controlled by structures in the inner ear, eyesight, and automatic postural adjustments brought about by sensory reflexes (more on this below). If any one of these functions is impaired–for example, someone who has lost his/her sight or hearing–the other two work harder to compensate for the loss of function. Research has shown us that muscles help us to maintain posture and balance by generating automatic responses that preserve the vertical orientation of the trunk.
In other words, it’s easier to balance standing up straight than bending at the waist. In the case of trying to balance in a off-axis position (which happens frequently in modern dance), the position of the head is more important since the trunk cannot be placed in a stacked, vertical position. This concept applies to both maintaining a static position, and also keeping balance when initiating a movement of the arms and legs. Our everyday movements, like walking, require this ability to balance as well. We are making constant adjustments, using our senses and our muscles, as we stand, shift, change, and move our bodies through space.
This is balancing, something we’ve been gradually learning to master since we were babies. Just a little Dance 101 ;)
Love, Sweeta. XOXO