Alignment for Dancers—Part One: The Inside-Out Principle



In dance, we have a constant companion—our reflection. Many of us are taught (both implicitly and explicitly) to evaluate our performance in class by what we see in the mirror. Over time, this visually oriented process instills an outside-in model for evaluating alignment—or placement—as it is more commonly referred to in dance class. In order to be effective, this model relies on informed seeing. Informed seeing requires knowledge of human anatomy and the ability to identify skeletal landmarks on the body, which help to determine if the body is aligned properly.So, what do we mean by “proper” alignment. (This was a word that virtually every one of my dance teachers used when referring to issues of placement.) I found the following definition in my Encarta® World English Dictionary (© Microsoft Corp.):prop·er adj 1. Appropriate or correct. 2. Fulfilling all expectations or criteria. 3. Behaving in a respectable or socially acceptable way. 4. Characteristic of or belonging exclusively to somebody or somet