Nifty Tip of the Day: Smile! You’ll Turn Better

They're all gonna be great turners someday. Well, except that munchkin on the left. (photo Heather Donlan Photography)

They’re all gonna be great turners someday. Well, except that munchkin on the left. (photo Heather Donlan Photography)

Not all of us are born with Gillian Murphy’s innate turning ability. But if you’re having trouble with your pirouettes, try this neat trick: Smile while you’re turning.

Easy peasy, right? Here’s why it works:

First, many dancers frown in concentration as they turn, especially if they’re struggling. But that stiffens the muscles in your neck and jaw, which makes spotting nearly impossible—and, in turn (hah! see what I did there?), clean pirouettes difficult. Smiling will relax your face, allowing you to spot more naturally.

But there’s another advantage to putting on a happy face. A recent study showed that tension in the jaw was often connected to tension in the hips and pelvis. So relaxing your jaw will also loosen up your hip joints, creating more space for rotation and making for a cleaner, better-balanced passé.

Cool, right?

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