Art/ Dance Academy

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Posted by [email protected] on June 6, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Using Your Upper Body in Dance


Epaulement should be a natural part of your dancing. This term epaulement actually means shouldering in French. This is in fact a fallacy as it has nothing to do with the shoulders per se. Using epaulement can elevate your technical proficiency. It can be a be subtle dynamic and exciting. It is the punctuation at the end of a sentence. The head and eyes are the exclamation point.


Epaulement gives gives a third dimension to the dance. It shades what you are doing and gives it depth and color. It creates energy from the inside out. Yes, the shoulders move. But it is movement that involves the rib cage upwards. The whole upper body is utilized – ribs, shoulders, neck, head, arms, hands and even the eyes. Look a beautiful statue (say Venus) and flatten out the front, remove the angling of the torso and shoulders. Now it is just plain uninteresting!


Tricks of the Trade:

1. Do a combination with a fan. This will give you the feeling of having to lift chest, shoulders and head in opposition. The pretend you have a fan and do the same combination.

2. Do not overturn your body to the corner. It makes you look like a washing machine, throwing yourself from side to side. Why? Because there is no opposition.

3. Do not let your movement end at the neck. Energy needs to run through your complete torso, lengthened waist, lifted chest, swan neck, and eyes that look and see.

4. Do not forget epaulement in fast work. This makes your work even more exciting.

5. Do not sacrifice epaulement for height in extensions. See where the head and arms should be. Put these in your muscle memory. Now extend!

6. Do not let your collarbone be parallel to the floor. Strive for it to be on a diagonal. This comes from having life in the waist, back and chest.

7. Do not overturn your chin to your downstage shoulder when on a diagonal/croise. Turn your face ahead, then tilt the head allowing the jaw to move in space as the chest lifts simultaneously.


Categories: Dance History, Dance , Ethnic Dance

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