Collection is a riding term that refers to the gathering and holding of the horse’s energy in the hind quarters – the most powerful area of the body. The idea is to allow the horse to harness the maximum amount of springing energy. Not only does this set the horse up to jump well, but in dressage it gives the visual impression of great controlled strength.
We’re already standing on our hind quarters, but if our weight is rocked back on our heels our springing potential is absolutely nothing – and visually, we look like weak, vulnerable pushovers (It’s very easy to push someone over backwards if their weight is on their heels.)
To access the springing, physical strength in our bodies, and dynamic stage presence, the weight must be mostly on the balls of our feet and the knees very slightly bent. This creates that ‘ready for action’ feel, like when you’re guarding in basketball.
When every singer (yes I know – there are one or two in every group with whom everything new is a hard sell) does this, even this one small shift in weight makes a difference in the fullness and strength of the sound, and in the chorus’ appearance of readiness.