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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 04-09-2004
Title : "Posture, Poise and Presentation" by Katherine Schaffe
Article: Dancing Tid-bits Issue #177, Thursday, April 8, 2004.

Today's Topic: "Posture, Poise and Presentation" by Katherine Schaffer

3 Ps. What more suitable time to mention this important subject of Posture, Poise and Presentation. Today starts, the Michigan dance Challenge Competition arranged by Mr. Mark Brock. So we spent an hour with Kathryn Schaffer who is the US Open Standard Champion from her days with Victor Verasset. As every other coach will say, even if you get one pointer from one lesson and continue to dwell on it and put it to work in your daily dancing, you have accomplished a lot. So, for this session it was the three Ps.

1. Posture: The dictionary definition of Posture is "the way of holding the Body". To a dancer, that does not tell much. So for dancing purposes, the Body can be divided into 4 parts. The Head, the Upper Torso including the Shoulders and Chest, the Lower Torso or the Hips and then the Legs and Feet or you might call it the Base. So Posture then is how we stack up these four elements one above the other. If you stand against a wall and line up the back of your head, the back of your shoulders, the back of your hips and the back of your heels against the wall, you have attained a good posture.

2. Poise:I could not find a good definition for the 'Poise'. One dictionary defined it as "mental composure and good balance". Therefore I will try my own. Poise, in dancing, can be defined as follows. "It is the distribution of weight consistent with the dance position at a particular time maintaining proper balance and shape". So Lady has her own poise and usually she is poised back from waist up and Man his own, more or less neutral. Some times we have more weight in our heels and then sometimes more in the toes. So Poise is constantly changing according to the situation. For example the poise is different in Promenade Position (PP) as compared to what it is in Closed Position. Poise cannot be isolated from Posture and it is therefore important that Posture, Poise and Balance should be maintained in proper relationship to execute good Presentation.

3. Presentation: So in addition to the above, there is more to "Presentation". Of course here comes the Personality, the Dress and Costume, Grooming and the interpersonal relationship of the dancing couple. These are only a few of the attributes that I can think of. One thing I specifically recall how some ladies tend to gaze in the sky as if they are somewhere in the universe than the dance floor. With the same token some men tend to simulate the breathing and mouth expressions of champions which is above their level. I think being natural and presenting your own best seems to be the answer.

Walking on to the Deck area: Many judges including Katherine will tell you that you can almost tell who is the winner by the way you walk on to the dance floor. Actually then it may be said "how the couple present themselves". To be more precise how the Man presents her "Lady" to the audience.

So much for today. At the end I like to say, forget about the competition, think about this in your everyday dancing. Besides, you can put it to work in your daily life when you are driving, working or doing any thing else. For me, "Easier said than done".Good Luck and best wishes, Max.