How to have better posture

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It takes years of training to learn how to glide across the floor en pointe. But a ballerina's stomach-flattening, neck-lengthening posture? That just requires a little inside information.

"Dancers use a lot of visualization," says Sophie Flack, a former dancer with the New York City Ballet and the author of Bunheads (Little, Brown). "Elongate your neck by imagining there is a wire pulling your head up from the crown. Or I imagine there are wings on my back-it pinches my shoulder blades together."

To open your chest, "imagine that you're carrying a cape on your shoulders," says Maria Kochetkova, a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet.

"Neck long, shoulders down, stomach in," says Isabella Boylston, a principal with American Ballet Theatre, of her three-step plan. "When I need an extra boost of confidence, I drop my shoulders. It's the feeling you get when you exhale."

"Engage your abdominals all the time," says Flack. "Supporting your back with your core makes you look thinner."

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