Stretching Your Psoas

When you find yourself admiring the smooth elegance of a naturally talented dancer, you’re looking at someone whose psoas muscles are functioning at their fullest potential. This muscle wraps from the lower back around to the front of the hips (think hip flexors). It’s one of the largest muscles of the body and is the major walking muscle. If not cared for properly, psoas muscles can cause many problems, including lower back pain, disc problems, scoliosis, hip degeneration, knee pain, menstruation pain and digestive problems, none of which are good news for dancers. To release tightness and tension in your hips, start with these stretches and you’ll notice the freedom and ease it can bring to your dancing.

Exercise #1: Pigeon


Start with left leg curled in front of you, right leg stretched back. Keep your pelvis square; this stretches the front and back of your hip.







To deepen your stretch, relax your torso down over your front leg. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times on each side.


1. Keep belly engaged.
2. Keep back knee pointed down.

Exercise #2: Kneeling Lunge


Kneel on both knees. Swing your left leg front so the foot is flat on the floor pointing directly ahead. Lean slightly forward until you feel a stretch in your hip. Draw your belly to your spine and keep tail tucked.








You can add a side cambré to stretch your sides or bring your foot toward your back to stretch your quad. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times on each side.


1. Keep front thigh parallel to ground.
2. Keep focus straight ahead.
3. Keep back knee pointed down.

Excercise #3: Stretch With A Physio Ball


Using a physio ball (45 to 55cm), place one foot on the ball, maintaining a neutral, square pelvis.











Engage your abs and roll the ball back by extending your leg backward. You can do this parallel or turned out, or roll the hip from parallel to turned out while in the extended position.

You can add a side cambré or a demi-plié to deepen your stretch. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times on each side.


1. Keep abs engaged.
2. Keep bottom foot flat.
3. Keep pelvis neutral.




Photos by Erin Baiano

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search