Scrolling your feeds endlessly can have a serious impact on your posture and alignment. "Since 2008 or so, I've seen a lot of heads and shoulders hunched forward," says Kim Fielding, a former dancer who created a Pilates class specifically to counteract the effects of technology. "Some dancers will overcompensate for this, leading to splayed rib cages and too much curvature in the lower spine."
Medical pros are now calling this set of symptoms "tech neck" or "text neck," and they can ultimately lead to neck herniations, rotator cuff injuries, and even foot and ankle problems. Here's how to keep your tech from hurting your technique.
Your Own Devices
Fielding suggests thinking of your collar bone as a dowel rolling up and backwards to avoid a slumped, downward posture, without letting your rib cage splay open. "You can also hold your phone a foot in front of your face and use the opposite hand to text," Fielding says, "though sometimes people feel awkward doing that." If that's you, hold your phone in one hand instead, with your upper arm pulled in to your side to support the arm holding the phone. "This shifts the effort to your bicep, instead of your shoulders and neck," Fielding says.
When you're using a laptop at a desk or table, stack larger books underneath the computer until it's up closer to your eye level. This hack also works if you're spending computer time at a standing desk, though Fielding recommends a balance of standing and sitting time for maximum body benefits.
On the Mat
Foam rollers are a smartphone user's best friend. Spend some QT carefully rolling out your neck, upper and mid-back, and sides (the area under your armpits) to soothe tech-related aches and tightness. "Notice where there's tension and think about how particular tech habits might be contributing to that discomfort," Fielding says. Classic cross-training, like Pilates and yoga, will also help open your chest and release your tensed-up shoulders and neck. Fielding notes that while rolling out and stretching can help, it's also vital to work on proper alignment and strengthen these areas.
Mindfulness is key when it comes to technology. It can be tempting to scroll through Instagram while stretching, but, according to Fielding, you're much better off simply focusing on the splits: "It's comfortable to distract yourself with your phone, but you need your hands free so you can properly support and align your neck and spine in the stretch." That goes for any stretch or exercise—you should focus completely on what you're doing.
And don't forget to take plenty of breaks from your screens! "It definitely helps to fix your phone posture, but also consider limiting your screen time," Fielding says.
A version of this story appeared in the November 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Technological Difficulties."
School of American Ballet students (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)
Do you have a "Strictly Ballet"–sized hole in your heart? Good news: The upcoming docuseries "On Pointe" just might fill it.
The School of American Ballet is teaming up with Imagine Documentaries and DCTV for the project. Though it's not yet clear where "On Pointe" will air, we do know that it'll follow talented SAB students preparing for professional ballet careers—much as Teen Vogue's popular "Strictly Ballet" web series did back in the day. But "On Pointe" marks the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed access to the school, and it sounds like it'll paint an even more complete picture of the dancers' lives inside and outside the studio.
Choreographer Bob Fosse's signature style—with its jazz hands, inverted knees, and slouched shoulders—is still a huge influence in the dance world (and, thanks to the gloriously dancyFX series "Fosse/Verdon," the TV world). But while you know to expect plenty of Fosse-isms during a stage performance of Chicago or Sweet Charity, Fosse's legacy has also seeped into pop music culture, inspiring the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Here are just six of the many music videos that reference Fosse's iconic works.
Gabrielle Hamilton in John Heginbotham's dream ballet from Oklahoma! Photo by Little Fang Photo, courtesy DKC/O&M
Last night, longtime theater legends (including Chita Rivera herself!) as well as rising stars gathered to celebrate one of Broadway's danciest events: the third annual Chita Rivera Awards.
The evening paid tribute to this season's dancer standouts, extraordinary ensembles, and jaw-dropping choreography—on- and off-Broadway and on film.
As usual, several Dance Spirit faves made it into the mix. (With such a fabulous talent pool of nominees to choose from, we're glad that ties were allowed.) Here are the highlights from the winner's list: