2 3 Technical Tuesday Sternocleidomastoid | Ballet Webb

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Technical Tuesday Sternocleidomastoid

Technical Tuesday Sternocleidomastoid

The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) is one of the most fascinating muscles in the body. It is actually a two-part muscle, with one on each side of the neck.  Each one is thick and narrow in the center, and wider and thinner at each end. These muscles begin behind the ears and move down to the front of the neck. The SCM assists in rotating the head from side to side, and also allows the head to incline. This is critical for ballet dancers, to say the least! But wait, there’s more!

The sternocleidomastoid allows the neck to flex and turn and without it cambrés and backbends would be impossible. If this isn’t enough, it also acts as an accessory muscle of respiration –whew!  You can see and feel the SCM when you turn your head all the way to the side.

The SCM is not a frequently injured muscle in dancers, since overuse pain is usually caused by looking up for too long (painting a ceiling or staring at the stars), etc. But if it does become inflamed, symptoms can include things like headaches or dizziness.

The next time you admire a dancer’s lovely epaulement, remember to thank the ability of that fun-to –pronounce muscle, the sternocleidomastoid.
From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Anatomical Secret #25p
The sternocleidomastoid is one of the most fascinating muscles in the body.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.”
Carl Sagan

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