The Breakalign Method, Conditioning Article Series:
Written by Nefeli Tsiouti (Project Breakalign, Founder & Project Manager)
Does alignment derive from ‘line’? Alignment. A word that is very trendy to use nowadays in fitness classes and within the health industry. But what exactly does it entail? The word alignment derives from the French word ‘ligne’ which means line. It is defined by a bringing something in a line, in comparison to something else. But it can also mean proper positioning, or bring an object in a state od adjustment, without this necessarily requiring the objects to be in line with each other. A coordinated correlation between components is also alignment.
The body and alignment: There are so many alignment pathways within the mechanics of the human body, that I could go on and on for hours. However, I will use the classic example of a squat from standing upright. When squatting, it is scientifically proven that the alignment of the hips, the knees and the ankles have a certain relationship. Now this can vary based on your somatotype and your natural positioning of your joints, but generally there is a correlation between the 3 body parts for prevention of injuries. However, when the body starts to go into the squat, this alignment starts altering and shifting, and what was once an upright alignment (if we say that alignment derives from line), is now out of alignment and not a line. But, there is still a technique (or even more than one), that allows us to stay within alignment (if we say that alignment derives from coordinated correlation) without the appearance of one single line within the movement and the end result.
Photo: Carole Edrich Dance Photography and Dance Journalism
Joints and alignment: In addition, most joints allow some movement within them, not just the type of movement that they are supposed to be doing. For example, a hinge joint (i.e. knee), moves in two directions. However, seeing it realistically there is some extra movement within that joint, which goes ‘out of alignment’ but it is a natural percentage to allow the body to function properly. When you stand facing the wall, and you turn your head away from the wall to your left, then the left leg makes a step to the left, and then the… exactly at this point, the right leg, before it departs from the floor, the part above the knee follows the upper body that is already turning to the left and then…. Right leg leaves the floor too to step to the left. This simple everyday pedestrian example, shows a joint going out of alignment, within safe boundaries.
Therefore, since our joints have been so incredibly constructed to allow a small percentage of out of alignment movement, why don’t we embrace that? This is what the Breakalign Method does (Note. Breakalign derives from ‘Breaking’ and ‘alignment’). The idea of the Method is to be realistic towards what movements our body DOES go through, and to support those moment pathways in the safest approach possible, by keeping it realistic to the demands. Therefore, out of alignment positions are also included in the Breakalign Method, because at many times where momentum is being used, the body does not always follow principles of alignment. Consequently, it is realistic to also protect the body in non-conservative positions, so that if and when it does arrive there, it is already familiar with a protective biomechanical mechanism, and this leads to avoiding the risk of injury.
What is the Breakalign Method? The Breakalign Method is a conditioning programme, based on the physiological and biomechanical analysis of the demands in the artform of Breaking (or ‘Breakdance’, as known by the media). Project Breakalign received funding to create the Breakalign Method from the Centre National de la Danse (2015-2016), which was researched and put together by a team of specialists that double major between dance (mostly Breaking) and a scientific discipline such as medicine, physiotherapy, sports science, dance science, human performance and more.
Become a Breakalign Method ambassador: As dancers, you can train with the Breakalign Method, to gain the knowledge for safe dance practice, for yourselves, as well as to train others. In order to teach the Method, as an investment to yourself and your future, you can become a Breakalign Method ambassador, by completing the Breakalign Method training programme, which will give you all the necessary tools to be able to not only help others, but also help yourself stay injury-free with a conditioned body. The programme will be available from the end of 2017.
The Breakalign Method Audio-visual research content:
In English :
Research phase 1: https://youtu.be/FRjiaR-ZcMc
Research phase 2: https://youtu.be/zJjSoo6WAic
Research phase 3: https://youtu.be/M6S-mWfntT0
With French subtitles :
Phase de recherche 1: https://youtu.be/roEPL6dbw5c
Phase de recherche 2: https://youtu.be/xL-lnMpgDbw
Phase de recherche 3: https://youtu.be/bG8uRIPp0NI
For more information check: www.projectbreakalign.com
To subscribe to the Project Breakalign quarterly Newsletter email: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject ‘subscribe’.
About the author:
Nefeli is a bgirl (trained with DJ Renegade, UK), having graduated with a BA in French Language & Literature (University of Athens), an MA in Choreography (Middlesex University) and an MSc in Dance Science (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance), supported by 3 scholarships from Trinity Laban. Currently she is in the Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship Advisory Committee for Dance in Europe, she works as Associate Researcher Cyprus Musculoskeletal & Sports Trauma Research Centre, she is the Founder & Director of Project Breakalign, a prevention of injuries project. Moreover, she serves on the Board of Directors of Healthy Dancer Canada (HDC) and the United Breakin’ Association (UBA). She is also a freelance Choreographer, Dancer, and a Sports Massage Therapist. Recently she has been included as a co-opted member of the Education Committee of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science Education Committee. Nefeli has devoted her work to the mission of reducing the risk of injuries and offering career longevity to a healthier dancer, with Project Breakalign’s research, lectures, workshops and her active participation in international breaking competitions. Nefeli was awarded the following awards for her dance medicine and science research: Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship Fund (NY, USA), Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship (Italy), Gill Clarke Resource Fund, ‘Centre National de la Danse’ research funding (France) to develop the ‘Breakalign Method’, ‘Dance UK’s Dancers’ Mentoring Programme’, finalist for the ‘Change Maker Award’ by London Inspires Awards, DanceHouse Nicosia Artistic Residency 2015 & 2017.