When Mandy and I first talked about this topic of balance and sway, the first thing that popped into my head was the song by Michael Bublé. I can’t help it, my mind just always jumps to songs or movies or books (you may have noticed this in most of my Pilates in Holland blogs or playlists :)). But little did I know just how accurate I was!
In dancing, sway is an incline of the body away from the standing foot and the direction of movement. Sway improves balance as dancers travel across the floor by controlling momentum, like a sprinter leaning back after they cross the finish line to create a counter-balance that slows them down. This means that on every step, the dancer should be able to stop and balance. The bigger the step, the more sway is needed to improve balance. A strong core is needed to make sure the body moves evenly.
But in addition to that, just to put one foot in front of the other, we need support from our glutes. Most people immediately think gluteus maximus, but the stars here are the deeper gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. The glute min and glute med cause rotation of the hip while walking and the glute med also stabilizes the pelvis so you can balance on one leg while swinging the other leg forward. Not having strong glute muscles can result in the “uni-butt shuffle” and no one wants that.
We want to avoid being like those guards outside Buckingham palace who stand stock still and don’t react to anyone around them. Balance isn’t static, or shouldn’t be. It’s dynamic to help us move with grace and ease in every situation. (Fun fact, even the Beefeaters can’t stay still and “balanced” forever. In fact, they are allowed to move and walk every 10 minutes so they don’t pass out.)
This short side-lying series is the perfect way to keep those glutes strong so you can sway and stay active. As Mandy says, use it or lose it!
And now that I’ve said sway about 100 times, perhaps you’d like to listen to a little Michael Bublé 🙂