June 2018: Primal Posture
Samba for summer!
As we head towards the summer festival and street party season it’s timely to take a look at Samba, a particularly popular, fun and infectious Brazilian dance form. In Gokhale Method postural health classes we often tap into its ability to promote healthy posture. Why is that?
• It involves a lot of lateral motion and hip mobility, something especially needed in our culture. Many of us tend to ‘hold’ our pelvis in a somewhat fixed position, limiting our hip movement.
• It engages the gluteal muscles, which, though vital for healthy walking balance and propulsion, remain under-developed given a poor, tucked-under pelvic position.
• It can model other aspects of healthy gait, including stretching of the calves and psoas muscle, and straightening of the back leg while bending the front knee.
In the neighbourhoods of Brazil you can still find celebratory Samba de Roda, or ‘Samba in the round’, which features solo dancers surrounded by musicians and other dancers, singing and clapping and sequentially inviting others to take their turn. Sometimes Samba dancers wear elaborate headdresses or carry things on their heads while they show off their dancing skill. This and a strong emphasis on percussive beat harks back to the African ancestry of Brazil.
Like most indigenous and folk dance, Samba reflects body movements that are harmonious with healthy posture and function. Dances are usually intimately bound with regional culture and physical skills. This is an interesting contrast to some modern dance forms which can demand injurious movement, and, being performance rather than participation orientated, relentless innovation and rehearsal.
You can see authentic Samba de Roda on our Gokhale Method YouTube Channel - just search ‘Learn How to Dance Samba Lesson Original Classes’.
The video shows furiously fast footwork… in our posture classes we take a more elementary approach! But I happily recall two students who came to study the Gokhale Method at the suggestion of their Latin Dance teacher, who despaired of their ‘English’ stance! They rediscovered the length in their spine - and enjoyed finding their hips!
If you would like to hear more about natural posture and movement – and perhaps even dance a basic Samba – you are welcome to book a Free Workshop place directly at: www.gokhalemethod.com
• Sunday 27th May, 3pm, Spicer+Cole, Gloucester Rd
• Sunday 10th June, 6pm, Online
•Sunday 8th July, 6pm, Online
• Sunday 15th July, 3pm, Spicer+Cole, Gloucester Rd