On the Mat: Locating Your “Core”
As dancers, we have heard teachers tell us for years to “move from your core” or “engage your core.” Your muscles may have memorized a series of actions that make you move more strongly or with greater movement potential, convincing your teachers that you are following their instructions. Perhaps you can even indicate where you imagine your core to be. But really, where is the “core”?
Conceptually, “moving from the core” implies that the dancer is moving with connectivity and an intention of integrating the movement of dynamic muscles, bones, and fascia in space and time. Taking into account infinite movement possibilities, it seems that having one singular core is unlikely. And wouldn’t it be more fun to imagine your core as a space in different locations within the body, or better yet, as a state of mind?
Here is an exercise I would like to share with you to create a core space using the breath. Set your core up before dance class or rehearsal and then you can take it for a spin to experience how it inspires you to move with power and control.
• Lie on your back with your feet on the ground in line with the sits bones, so knees are bent.
• Bring your hands on top of your belly or ribcage or heart center – wherever you feel inspired to manifest your core along the central trunk of the body.
• Imagine inhaling at the center point of your designated core.
• Exhale radiating the energy of the strong breath outwards in all directions from the center.
• Inhale to draw the focus inward, exhale to send the focus outward.
• Repeat this breath 5-10 times.
• When you are finished, roll to your left side before sitting up.
The fun part of creating a core space is that you can put your core anywhere. Try the belly one day and the heart another. Perhaps one day you are inspired to create a core space in your pinky finger! The point is that if you focus your intention in preparing body, mind, breath, and brain to work together you are sure to find an inner source of strength and connectivity. You will easily access that strength in movement, stillness, and even the most difficult choreography will be yours to explore. Your teachers will notice and, more importantly, you will dance with confidence!