Snap, Crackle, Pop!
Warming up is a big part of our daily routine. Every morning as I walk through the studio I see dancers sprawled in the splits stretching or throwing their legs around the air violently, all anticipating that huge pop! That hip release, that means they’re ready for class to start. As I walk to my usual spot at the barre, I hear a symphony of different body parts cracking away. You have The Staccato Ankle Cracks that are usually light, rhythmic, and quite whimsical. Then you have The Deep Hip-Pops (which are usually followed by a slightly sexual “Oh yea!” and maybe a “Nice one” comment from a fellow dancer). You can achieve the same type of deep crack with The Tailbone Roll. The Tailbone Roll is the best one ever. Sometimes if you roll your tailbone on the hardwood floor you get a nice, deep spinal crack that’s just orgasmic. You also have The Twisting Back Crack, which for me, starts at the top of the spine and makes a beautiful domino effect of cracks all the way down to the lower back. A spinoff of The Twisting Back Crack is The Neck Snap. Not as violent as it sounds, this crack entails simply rolling your head around in a circular motion a couple of times. Or simply taking your two hands and physically yanking your head to one side, bringing it up slowly and then yanking it to the other. Totally normal. Totally fine. I think.
I wish I could say that the cracking symphony only happens in the mornings but we have to warm ourselves up several times a day! In fact, if I’m sitting in one position for more than 15 minutes I start to get stiff and feel the urge to twist my back and crack my neck. The hip-pop happens once, maybe twice a day if I’m lucky. The Tailbone Roll even more rare than a solar eclipse. But the Staccato Ankle Cracks are non-stop. All day everyday. It’s almost like a tick, I don’t even notice that I’m doing it until someone (usually a non-dancer) points it out.
I love seeing people’s reactions to the cracking. Non-dancers are always so grossed out! I love it. That probably makes me really weird and creepy but I just find it hilarious to see people freak out at the cracking sounds. Once I get a tiny reaction from my ankle twisting cracks that’s it. I take it and run. I’m like, “Oh that’s nothing. Listen to this…” and then I go through the whole series of cracks, each one getting more and more intense and more gross until the person is screaming at me to make it stop! …Love it. I know, even just typing it out now I sound like a total psycho with some freaky body cracking fetishes, but I promise I have it under control. I totally do.