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February 1


Thought of the day: Even when you’re moving backwards you need to move forward.

This is what my dance instructor was trying to drill into my brain at ballroom practice yesterday. Apparently my butt has a natural proclivity to stick out. I believe the technical term is “downward tipped pelvis”, usually the result of things like tight hip flexor muscles (yup, sounds like designer-at-her-desk-all-day me).

So apparently this is bad. And more importantly for ballroom dancing, noticeable.

I try stepping to the side: “Engage your glutes, pull your pelvis in and up!”

I step to the front: “ENGAGE!! Keep your body in line! And straighten your legs!”

Finally I have a move where I get to step backwards, and I promptly relax my Superwoman-esque flexing on those pelvic and butt muscles. Ahhh.

“Non non non!” (my instructor is Quebecois). “NON, don’t you see? Even when you are moving backwards you must be going forwards.” Silence, interrupted only by the baffled look on my face.

At which point he gracefully and quickly demonstrates the aforementioned fact. He steps backwards with one foot (keeping his glutes firmly engaged and pelvis in line with his body), and his head doesn’t move in space at all. AT ALL. Even more amazing, that backwards step doesn’t send him back: totally contrary to what you might at first think, that backwards step only serves to engage his glutes, causing the necessary physics to actually propel him forwards.

I feel like there’s a life lesson in here. Even when we have to go back to the drawing board (daily) and start things over again (constantly), and deal with setbacks or unexpected problems (which are so common that I don’t know we call them “unexpected” problems) – even through all these things, it’s more than worth remembering that these very “setbacks” are going to be what propels us forwards.

Just give it time, and engage those glutes.


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