Apparently, girls in training still walk with books on their heads as a common etiquette practice. I know that it’s something that people laugh and joke about, but it really does help with posture and poise. Having had a NUMBER of years of acting classes (particularly movement training) as well as some history with ballet, it is not a foreign idea of aligning the spine so that each vertebrae is stacked on top of one another. You should feel as if a puppeteer is holding you by the top of your spine. At this point, your posture is at its supreme.
When I met with my coach this weekend, she first wanted to teach me how to stand and walk with my butt tucked in. (I told y’all that my butt was too big.) So, she had me stand against the wall barefoot, bent over with my knees bent so that my fingertips graced the floor, and then as I stood up, I was slowly supposed to move my spine against the wall. It was supposed to be that there would be no space between my back and the wall. That would be considered a successful tucking. I tried over and over, and somehow I did manage to get better. However, I’m not sure if my back will ever be fully against the wall. It does help with your image so that your butt isn’t completely poked out; it makes your body look taller and more elegant and it helps give a sense of presence.
Moving on, my coach strapped a book to the top of my head. I saddled on my 4-inch heels and began to do my runway walk. (Yes, you can begin chuckling now.)
Thank God for drama movement and ballet classes. It was actually pretty enjoyable and I felt so much lighter and ladylike. Walking included gracing the runway without looking down, turning in a smooth pivot without looking down, and walking back. Next, we moved on to walking to a chair and sitting ALSO without looking down. (Yes, you can continue chuckling.)
You have to feel the presence of the chair and sit with confidence. My coach said that too many women fumble with a chair and fix their clothes and readjust themselves, but “it just isn’t ladylike”. So, I was able to walk and sit gracefully and actually have fun while doing so (maybe it was my inner actress coming out to shine). My coach also granted that I was the first of her students in 10 years who did not have the book fall off of her head. Yay me!!
Once the book was released, we went forward with proper ways of sitting. Attractive sitting is when a lady creates an S-shape with her body, and to do so, she should always keep her legs cross and knees PRESSED together (despite the thickness of those thighs!). I choose to cross at the ankles. It helps to elongate my body and it creates a very feminine and delicate picture.
Feet should be placed at an angle, never directly forward, and parallel to one another. Hands should always rest on one knee, never in the center of the lap. This will help create the S-image that she was asking for; even traditional models do this technique.
Lucky for me, my coach gave me homework (along with practicing my “toosh tuck”) to go through ads and magazines so that I can create a board of appropriate model stances. Guess this is a foreshadowing of next week’s class? Can’t wait!