A MOVEMENT MOMENT #11: The Foundation of Standing Upright

| August 3, 2010 | 1 Comment

Hello everyone!

Did you all miss me and my incessant ramblings about movement and shoes choreography? 

I have enjoyed my personally prescribed break from toe point and am back to talk at you about movement, marching and maneuvering skills [Hey, remember M & M judges?]  On a personal note, I formulated the idea for this article because I realized just about mid-season my girls were marching ATROCIOUSLY.  Trust me, that may sound harsh, but it was absolutely true. 

Years ago, we had incorporated a traditional marching block into our basics routine. Somewhere along the last decade, all thoughts had gravitated more towards dance/choreography and in the excitement, [why, yes, I do find a ronde de jambe quite exciting, thankyouverymuch] basic marching skills had been forgotten overlooked. 

As such, let’s talk marching, shall we?  After all, field season is approaching and that pesky field judge is going to be right on top of your students, peering at their initiations and completions of sets, monitoring how the sternum manipulates in relation to the hip sockets and the use of breath as it relates not only to ombrashure [does that sound like a fancy piece of luggage, or is it just me?  Yes, I know… it’s just me] but also to the fluidity of movement around the field. [Oh my goodness, that darn movement judge…she’s making marching sound like dancing choreography again…]

BINGO!! My point exactly!

Sidebar: If your area of the country does not put the visual judges ON the field, you are by no means exempt.  Proper marching technique carries all the way up to the box.

So, let’s begin with postural control.  When training your students, there are two techniques which are fairly simple to master, and for the students to comprehend, even as they are flirting with the percussion line diligently memorizing music, equipment work and drill spots.

They are: The five points of alignment and the Foundation of Standing Upright (FOSU).

Okay, fine, I did just make that title up. 

But the science is legitimate, I promise!  Today, let’s start with FOSU: Consider the body a building, which, to be solid, must have a firm foundation.  Starting with the feet – the majority of body weight should be carried on the platform, or ball of the foot. This tilts the body ever so slightly forward, forcing the center muscles to engage in order to maintain balance.  The knees should be “pulled up,” as should the quadriceps…encourage your students to use visualization when engaging the muscles in the lower limbs.

Placing the majority of body weight on the balls of the foot also initiates a slight forward tilt within the pelvis, in turn engaging the “gluteus maximus.” The resultant chain reaction, if you will, continues up the body as we continue to develop a firm foundation.  Engaging the abdominal muscles comes next, then “closing the rib cage” [this is a term I use to help student “feel” their oblique muscles and engage all parts of center.  

Next [No, we’re not done yet, silly] elongate [streeeeetch] the lower vertebrae. 

Take a moment and try it, I’ll wait….

Oh good, you’re back. There’s a difference between concentrating on the lower back than merely standing up straight, yes?  [Yes, mom, I still stand up straight, I promise] Resisting the urge to compress those bones helps continue the strength radiating from the spine through the limbs.   Stay with me, we’re almost there.  Rotate the shoulder blades back, but don’t make earrings out of your shoulders, please!  [Constricted rib cage anyone?]  Slightly engage the biceps – this helps oxygen to flow, I kid you not.  Elongate your neck, and finally, tilt that chin up at approximately a 10 degree angle. This helps, [guess what?] the AIR to flow!! Hooray!  Take a deep breath and imagine the oxygen as a stream of water, and PICTURE it flowing to your limbs.  Muscles need oxygen to function at peak performance, and engaging them keeps them working.  It’s a win/win, I tell ya.

So. Now that you’ve taken your entire marching block to build the postural foundation, I shall return to badger you talk about the five points of alignment ~

I know! I can’t wait either!  


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Category: Movement

About the Author (Author Profile)

Cheryl Myers (aka “The (self-proclaimed) Movement Chick”) is a movement instructor, adjudicator and would-be rockette, living in the Fingerlakes area of New York State. Primary affiliations include the New York Federation of Contest Judges, and the Atlantic Indoor Association. She has most recently worked with Trumansburg High School, and is continually blessed by the opportunity to consult and adjudicate for circuits around the country. In addition to her pageantry career, Ms. Myers works in the accounting and insurance fields, and yes, is great fun at parties, thankyouverymuch. Her primary job, and that which she is most proud of, is raising her two beautiful children, a future dancer and drummer.

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