In dance, the term ‘ideal alignment’ refers to the body at the state of which allows the dancer to execute movement most efficiently and safely. Correct alignment can relieve muscle tension and stress, which can be greatly assisted through imagery. Eric Franklin stated that "Posture reveals our genetic and social heritage as well as the sum of our accumulated mental and physical habits." Posture constantly fluctuates due to one’s psychological state (Franklin, E 1996). As a result, dancers must be able to recognise these postural changes and adapt their movement accordingly.
Alignment is divided into two categories: static and dynamic. Static alignment refers to the dancer when stationary; dynamic alignment is the continuous correction of relative alignment when the dancer is in motion. The static alignment should be almost effortlessly poised. If one grips their muscles to force their turnout, it cannot be maintained when they work into dynamic alignment, as they rely on the friction against the floor to maintain their alignment. However, a dancer with perfect static alignment may find it difficult to achieve satisfactory dynamic alignment and vice versa.
Posture is assessed to detect the possibility of any weaknesses, muscle imbalances, dysfunctional movement and neuromuscular control and coordination that could potentially lead to injury. A well-balanced, ideal alignment provides one with greater energy levels, a slenderised figure, correct joint positioning, greater range of joint mobility, optimal flexibility, strength, coordination, body cirulation and most importantly, prevention of technique-related injuries. To test ones dynamic alignment, main areas to be examined are the feet and ankles, pelvis girdle and the thoracic spine and scapula.
When one transitions from parallel to turnout, they experience more difficulty in maintaining their posture and alignment. Overturning-out causes pronation of the feet and makes the hip of the supporting leg rotate internally when the working leg is lifted. A dancer must grip with their muscles to maintain this position and will find it difficult to remain stable without gripping the barre. On an inferior level, overturning-out results in the tibia externally rotating further than the femur, causing stress to the patella (Howse, J 2009). Depending on strength and control, turnout typically shouldn't be much more than 140〫 (Howse, J 2009). If one attempted to dance with more turnout than this, it would make it almost physically impossible to control. Factors affecting efficiency of turnout include bone structure, capsule, ligaments and muscles (Howse, J 2009). Although a deep hip joint provides better stability, it is more restricted than a shallow hip joint (Howse, J 2009). Activation of adductors is beneficial in holding a strong, balanced turnout and helps to control hyperextension of the knee (Howse, J 2009).
When assessing someone laterally, a plumb line should pass through their ear lobe,...