The Oblique Axis
The dance basic in salsa, bachata, and merengue (different types of Latin dance styles) have many differences, but they also share a similar movement.
Hip action – that “booty pop” – is called the Oblique axis of the pelvis. It is the physiological axis of movement of the sacro-iliac joint, created by a rotation and either a flexion or extension of the sacrum.
When this physiological movement isn’t achieved, because lack of stretching or excessive compaction for example, the sacrum has to create PATHOLOGICAL axes to force the movement at a painful cost.
What is the SI Joint?
If you make two pistols with your hands, and put them back into the holster, this creates the shape of the SI joint – the joint that exists between the sacrum and the ilium. Now some may say that this joint does not move, but if there is a joint, then there is movement! To be more precise, there are at least 22 axis of the pelvis! The complexity of the SI joint is not the topic of this blog, but you should know…
Dancing and the SI Joint
When you take a step forward with your left foot like in the Salsa Basic, this movement is called a positive torsion along the right oblique axis. If you have healthy hips / SI joint, this means the sacrum is able to rotate in such a way along the “rails” – look at your thumb & finger in the pistol example to see the shape of the SI joint.
Most of us don’t take proper care of our bodies after activity. Thanks to the resiliency of the body, we can still move even if we have minor forms of pathology, but over time, some where in the body takes a toll – back pain, knee pain, neck pain, and so on.
You can see various ligaments like the inferior ilio-lumbar ligament (4 & 5) which attaches from the ilium to the L5 vertebrae, and the superior ilio-lumbar ligament (2). When the SI joint isn’t properly moving, these ligaments can become tight, leading to rotation of the low back, and eventually back pain.
Dancing is a great way to move your hips, but if you have sustained an injury, or created an imbalance in your body, it may not be properly moving.
The best way to stay on top of your body is to have the 22 axes of the pelvis evaluated, then treatment and ELDOA exercises can help maintain a healthy SI joint. This leads to hips that can move freely, and healthy hips equals longevity of your time on the dance floor and most importantly sexier moves on the dance floor!