The Backalast is a garment aimed at improving dancers' posture by providing them with the ability to strengthen their thoracic spine as well as, assist them in finding a neutral position for their head, neck and shoulders. The Backalast emphasises the importance of a neutral position for the shoulder blades so the dancer can avoid winging, as well as create a firm foundation for the rest of the arm position. The Backalast garment is reinforced with several discreet layers of webbing in order to maximise the awareness around several key postural corrections. The garment has several elasticated reinforcing panels that sit flush with the back. The first set opens up and broadens the back and provides a firm foundation for the thoracic spine. The second set anchors the arm's so it elevates from the underside, connecting it with the arm reinforcement as it goes down the sleeve. The final set of panelling is found in the front of the Backalast where the garment opens through the shoulder blades, avoiding protraction as well as opening the front of the shoulder blade and around the rib cage, relaxing a rib flare. The Backalast will enhance the proprioception for the correct muscle activation for optimum posture awareness.
Proprioception of posture
Strengthens all back muscle groups
Encourages students to relax their rib cage
Activates the rhomboids major and minor, pulling down and outwards towards the spine
Avoids the winging movement in the shoulder blades
Closes the rib cage
Enhances the shape of the port de bras
Activates the trapezius muscle
Activates the latissimus dorsi which is the largest muscle and stablizes both the shoulder girdle and the arms.
Message from Marie Walton-Mahon
Founder & Director of Progressing Ballet Technique
The training of the correct posture and alignment of the spine is paramount in ballet training. The cervical spine carries the head on the top of the vertebra which permits the freedom to move without strain. The muscles of both the vertical and horizontal systems are responsible for the upright position of posture required in ballet training. The Backalast jacket enhances the proprioception of the correct posture by activating the correct muscle groups in the back which open through the sternum and rotate the shoulder girdle. The straps are strategically placed as sensors to remind the body of the pull-down and opening through the thoracic spine. The strapping around the girdle focusses on the importance of the closure of rib cage and the 3D rotation of the arms to enhance the shape of all port de bras.
All correct port de bras require an inward rotation of the upper arm as well as the external rotation of the lower arm without any disturbance in the shoulder girdle. These rotations are small and must be felt from the back and without any sign of strain. This important action in the upper arm engages intricate muscles groups in the back that the students will activate while wearing the Backalast jacket.