Here you will find notable articles related to dance and the world of dance, some technical and helpful in your quest to be a better dancer and some not so. We hope will intrigue all of you in the dance world.
The Body and Dance Part 1.pdf - In this first part of this “The Dancer’s Body” series we will examine abdominal region muscles, “abs” for short (commonly thought of as “the core”), and the critical importance to the dancer and in fact even non-dancers.
1. Dancers are constantly challenged by being told that they need to improve a specific technique or weakness, as well as being confronted with overuse or serious injury. Warm-ups and proper conditioning will help combat these problems and improve the longevity of our dancing. When warming up, begin with movements that you will be doing in class. Your goal is to prepare the body for what is to come. Isolations from head to toe must be included. Injuries occur when the muscles are not fully prepared for a movement. Cold muscles lead to injury. Warm muscles are more flexible and tell you the body is ready to dance.
2. Conditioning for the Dancer’s Body
The overload principle and specificity are the focus on today’s topic. When you want to increase strength and improve performance, these techniques are the best way to do so. I habitually encounter two typical types of students, those who push too hard, and those who don’t push enough.
Everyone has heard that perfect practice is the best way to improve. Practicing for hours on end with no purpose or goal is only going to get you frustrated and tired. It quite possibly may cause injury or incorrect habits that may be hard to break. Then there are those that complain because they have not encountered physical muscle fatigue or the complete exhaustion that the body feels when pushed to its limits often enough in their lives. Leaving your comfort zone is necessary for improvement and in doing so a new dancer may feel hot, sweaty, tired and light headed. A dancer needs to learn what the body can do, and what it can’t. We are our instrument and we must know it inside and out.
If you want to improve, you will also have to employ the overload principle correctly. The overload principle is when you push beyond the normal work load. The overload principle is when you put an excessive load on something by increasing frequency, intensity and/or duration. If you have run past your normal duration or intensity or pushed yourself in class past what you normally do, you may have reached this point. In order to improve, you must strive to achieve this at least 3 xs per week.
A challenge for students is how to do this. The drills you learn in a competition training class, performed full out, correctly, with guidance from a qualified instructor, is a good way to start. Secondly, a dancers’ body should be strong and flexible. Building large muscles will not help with the quick movements required in dancing. Strength training, using specificity, meaning similar conditioning exercises that are used in dancing is the best way to improve. Workouts should be designed to fit the weaknesses of the individual and the overload principle must be implemented.
If your goal is to improve your endurance, speed and flexibility with proper technique, start by reviewing you’re what you are doing now, set your goals, come up with a plan, implement it, evaluate and modify until you get results. Remember that you must know your instrument. Pushing is good if done CORRECTLY. Don’t forget to smile because if you are reading this than you must know the joy of expressing yourself through the living instrument you have been given for your stay in this life. Congratulations to you and thank you.