A Dancer’s To-Do List

A Dancer’s To-Do List

In honor of the workshop that I had the pleasure of teaching this past Saturday to the Lindyhoppers of Big Kick Pamplona, and a couple lovely infiltrators from Flamenco, I’d like to present a list of the things that a dancer must have on his or her mind constantly while dancing. Actually, they pass through your mind like flashes because your body already knows these things, or should, and they are simply a conscious flash of an ingrained lesson. Somewhere in every dancer’s past, at some time in every dancer’s life, there was a teacher who, in tones at times gentle, at times harsh, made a point of repeating the following instructions on a near incessant basis.

I found a pin on Pinterest the other day that I printed out and hung in the window at Poise. It is what reminded me of the million small details that a dancer must process in any given moment and how wonderful a preparation for life a good dance background can provide. I’ve modified the list that I found and have added a few of my own. I’m sure I’m leaving some out. Feel free to add your own in the comments section. Also, I’ve translated the instructions into Spanish so that my students here at Poise can start to learn some of the vocabulary that I use most frequently in class.


Shoulders back and down – Hombros hacia atrás y abajo

Long neck – cuello largo

Stomach in – Abdomen hacia dentro

Ribs in – Costillas hacia dentro (en linea con los hombros y la pelvis)

Don’t stick out your chest, lift it – No saques el pecho, levantalo

Use your center – Usa tu centro

Use your “zipper muscles” – Usa tus musculos “cremallera”

Head high – Cabeza alta, levantada

Elbows up, supported – Codos hacia arriba, soportados

Arms out, supported – Brazos extendidos, soportados

Energy in your fingers – energía en los dedos

Relax your thumbs – Relaja los dedos pulgares

Strong arms – Brazos fuertes

Legs long and straight – Piernas largas y estiradas

Use your plié – Usa tu plié

Neutral pelvis – Pelvis neutral

Point your toes – Estira los dedos (de tus pies), realmente tu pie entero

Stretch your thighs – Estira los muslos

Lift from under your leg, don’t pull up from above – Llevanta la pierna desde abajo, no tires desde arriba

Push down into the floor – Empuja hacia el suelo

Lift up – llevanta el cuerpo hacia arriba

Don’t roll in (your feet or knees) – No los (pies o rodillas) gires hacia dentro

Don’t sickle – No pongas en forma de medialuna el pie

Butt firm – culo firme

Turn out (from your hips) – Girar las piernas hacia fuera desde la cadera

Relevé – Pues, lo mismo, como es francés….relevé

Square hips – la cadera nivelada (no tener un lado más alto que otro)

Count – contar

5, 6, 7, 8 – los 4 números que decimos en el baile justo antes de empezar la coreografía para que sepas que empiezas en 1

Ready And…. – Otra introducción a prepararte para bailar, significa, “listo y” y empiezas justo despúes de la “y”

One more time (means at least 3 more) – Una vez más (significa al menos 3 veces más)

Don’t forget to spot – No olvides a hacer el “spotting” (elegir tu punto de enfoque durante los giros y siempre volver a este punto para no marearte)

Extend – extender

Reach – Estirar/Alcanzar algo hasta los limites del la sala o el edificio

Breathe (through your nose and expand your ribs sideways, not forward) – Respira (por tu nariz y expande las costillas hacia los lados, no hacia delante para evitar sacar el pecho demasiado)

and SMILE (Remember, this is fun!) – y SONREIR (esto es divertido!)




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