If you missed The Color Purple's recent revival on Broadway, please do yourself a favor, STOP EVERYTHING, and watch this Tony's performance.
This lady is ON FIRE!!! What's her secret? One word: CORE. Without pelvic floor/abdominal support/general engagement of the CORE (the abs, the obliques, the hips, the butt, the hamstrings, the inner and outer thighs, etc.), creating this much power and sound, in a safe and consistent way, is impossible. She uses a few "tricks" during this Tony's performance to check in and re-engage her core at certain times throughout the song. She alternates lifting one leg. She plies into her standing leg. She drops her heels. She sinks down into a squat while extending one arm forward (in fact, she sings most of the song from such a low grounded position that the camera man has trouble following her!). If you follow Cynthia on Instagram, you know she takes her fitness (and vocal training) seriously. TRUE STORY: she *casually" ran a half marathon once before a two-show day and also just ran the NYC Marathon (singing the National Anthem before). SHE IS A SUPER HUMAN.
To activate your inner Cynthia, you need to activate that lower body support.
One way to do this is to take a Pilates class! Pilates is an exercise class completely devoted to strengthening your CORE. Here are three pilates concepts to consider when attempting to deepen your connection to your core:
According to Exhale Pilates, "In a nut shell, the curve is a movement of the spine that engages and strengthens the deepest abdominals, while opening the back and stretching the muscles out. Working in this position will allow you to fully breathe into your back body while also strengthening your abdominal muscles.
Work in Opposition
The Pilates Body tells us, "The effort of lengthening [your muscles] in body directions builds stabilization and makes each movement a whole-body exercise." To do this, sit on the floor, and try to lengthen your spine upward while sitting on top of you sitz bones. At the same time, push your legs into the floor, and reach through your heels. Or as you reach up, draw your shoulder blades down your back.
Lengthen the Side Body
Avoid your rib cage collapsing onto your waist and crushing your organs (while also eliminating your ability to activate your diaphragm) by lengthening your side body. You can do this by engaging your obliques and keeping your spine in a neutral position (rather than having your pelvis tucked or hyper extended). Also "tuck your ribs" in order to stack your spine and engage your middle back.
For 15 exercises to strengthen your voice using pilates, please visit PilatesPro!
Click here for a Youtube channel of at-home exercises for the singer!