What Does Having Scoliosis Mean for Dancers?

Scoliosis: “bent not broken”

Many people are told throughout their life that they have been diagnosed with scoliosis. It doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world, but it sure can be an inconvenience. What exactly is scoliosis anyway? Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in your spine. A few of the signs of scoliosis are; uneven shoulders, one shoulder more prominent than the other, or an uneven waistline. I know because I have it. As a dancer I wasn’t sure what this was going to mean for me. I was diagnosed with it when I was young, I was still in Elementary School. I still had so much life ahead of me, and there was no way I was going to give up dancing. I was afraid though that I wasn’t going to have a choice. I wasn’t sure what this meant. It freaked me out. Which is why I want to make sure if you get told you have scoliosis, please don’t worry! It is going to be okay.
Actually, 80% of people have mild scoliosis. So your spine isn’t symmetrical, who cares? Every night I had to do these back exercises that would help better align my spine. Since I wasn’t done growing yet these exercises would help to make sure it wouldn’t get worse as I got older. I was so afraid I was going to have to wear a brace, but I made sure to do those exercises every night, and luckily I never had to. I was lucky, I ended up with 2 curves in my spine, one at the top and one at the bottom, and they curve in opposite directions so they end up balancing each other out.
Dance is actually a good way to help people with scoliosis. Since dance encourages you to have proper body alignment. Almost all styles of dance require you to stand up straight, dancing will help your spine and the muscles surrounding your spine to become aligned. Ballet or other types of technique classes are probably the most beneficial classes to take, since they focus more on body alignment and body posture than other dance classes do.

an X-Ray of someone with mild scoliosis

Scoliosis is just a curve in your spine, sure some people have it more extreme than others but that should never stop you from dancing. Sometimes my instructors have to remind me to stand up a little straighter and have to help me with getting my body in the correct position. Although it is frustrating at times, over the years I have become in tuned with my body and I have learned to make the correct adjustments for myself while I dance. Nobody has the same body. As long as you figure out what works for you and how to have the correct posture while you dance. Don’t let scoliosis stop you from dancing and doing what you love.