The Deadly Sins…of Dance

     Most people know the 7 deadly sins; pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, greed, and sloth. These 7 deadly sins, or habits, are said to prevent people from progressing in their life. Well, what I bet you don’t realize is that there are deadly sins in dance too. Much like the 7 deadly sins of everyday life, these deadly sins of dance are habits that most people probably do every time they dance. These habits do not help you progress as a dancer. Depending on how often and how bad you do them they can actually cause you to regress as a dancer. Meet the 5 deadly sins of dance…

     The first one is having sickled feet. What does this mean? Well, this is probably one of the ugliest things a dancer could possibly do. When somebody says that your feet are sickled, it means that your feet are turned in instead of turning them out. When you have both feet sickled your toes would be pointing toward each other. This is not what we want. We want our feet to turn out, so they would be pointing away from each other. This can be related to the sin sloth. Sloth means you are being lazy, and usually when dancers sickle their feet, it usually means they are being lazy. 

The girl in color is demonstrating a sickled foot, and the girls in black and white are demonstrating a turned out foot.

   

The next sin of dance is misalignment. Having misalignment can lead to a variety of problems. If you want to have longevity as a dancer you need to make sure you have proper alignment. You might have noticed that people stand with their butt sticking out, for various reasons. Being a dancer, this is not good for us. Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins, however when you dance you want to dance with pride. If you have misalignment it won’t make you look tall and proud. When dancers stand with their butt sticking out this does damage to their spine. It crunches the lower bones in the spine. This also leads to other techniques being off. When dances don’t have the proper alignment they don’t engage their core, they’re letting their ribs and shoulders go which leads to their balance being off. You also want to make sure your hips are always in line with one another. When I teach I tell my students to think of their hips as headlights on a car. You want them always the same level and you always want them facing the front. Have proper alignment, and have pride when you dance. 

This is an example of misalignment.

     Wrath means to be angry, and is one of the 7 deadly sins. Usually people who are angry tend to carry a lot of tension with them. Tension happens to be one of the 5 deadly dance sins. Carrying too much tension is never a good thing. However, in dance it is even worse. Dancers need to look graceful and elegant, even when they might not be feeling that way. If you are too stiff you won’t be able to jump as high or stay on your toes as long. Tension is never a good thing, so just breath, relax, and have fun. Along, with tension is the next deadly sin; clenching your toes. When people are first starting out they see pointed toes and think they know exactly what to do. So what do they do? They clench their toes. This is not, I repeat this is NOT pointing your toes. Pointing your toes comes from the ankles and not from your toes. Clenching your toes just creates more tension throughout your body because you are unable to do everything your body wants you to do.

     And the last deadly sin of dance is hyperextension. Hyperextension is when a joint can move more than it should be able to. Usually in dancers this happens with the knees. Although this is not something that can be controlled, as a dancer you should be aware of your body. This means knowing when you are hyperextending your knees. You should be able to tell the difference and know when to not do that to yourself. Do not lock your knees, this can cause serious damage to you one day. This is just something you need to be aware of. 

This image shows a hyperextended knee on the left and a non hyperextended knee on the right.

     These 5 sins are all habits that can be worked on and broken if we choose. Breaking these habits will help to make us become better dancers.