Peaking for Dance Comp Season

We’re in the middle of dance competition season, but let’s face it, comps are practically year-round these days. One of my passions is ensuring dancers are adequately physically conditioned to meet the demands being placed on their growing bodies. There is much we need to do to support our dancers, as the majority of them are under 18 and do not yet have the knowledge or experience to manage this themselves. In fact, many adult dancers and regular adult humans (who are mere mortals unlike our dancers!) do not have the knowledge, experience or know-how in this regard. As parents … Continue reading Peaking for Dance Comp Season

What Parents need to know about their Kids & Vaping

That picture is disturbing, isn’t it? As a parent, it seems like there’s always something lurking around the corner to threaten our kids’ wellbeing. Kidnappers, devices, Covid, now vaping…or is it just me? I’m not even a high anxiety person so I can only imagine many others are feeling even more concerned than I am about this new epidemic. As a high school teacher, I interact daily with teens and the teen world so feel I have some information of value to share with you. Vaping has absolutely exploded over the past few years. It’s devastating to think about all … Continue reading What Parents need to know about their Kids & Vaping

Ten Things You Should Be Doing for the Environment Right Now

Something that has grown within me over the last 5 or so years is a passion for the environment. I’m a massive fan of Greta Thunberg and love listening to her talk and see her getting an audience with the United Nations. I became more alert to the dire situation we are in with plastic when I heard a simple statement: Plastic is Forever. Think about that. Every single piece of plastic we purchase and use NEVER. LEAVES. OUR. PLANET. It does not break down, so we must avoid it, and where that’s not possible reuse it over and over … Continue reading Ten Things You Should Be Doing for the Environment Right Now

How to Make Dance Class Count this Year

Gone are the old days of ‘and 5, 6, 7,8!’ with the teacher standing out front, shouting instructions and then a melodramatic ‘no, no NO! Start again!’, leaving the participants scratching their head in wonderment at how they can get perhaps just an ounce of the eccentric creative juices the teacher is exuding, whilst also wondering what exactly is meant by ‘no, no NO!’ as they fruitlessly rehearse over and over, never to get the moves right. Like everybody else, dance teachers must continually learn in order to stand out from the pack, and survive.
Here are 6 ways you can re-invent your dance teaching this year: Continue reading How to Make Dance Class Count this Year

Why dance fitness is more than just ‘Strength & Flex’

I’ve been involved in dance long enough now to see some trends come and go.

In recent years, the explosion of dance talent shows and the Web 2.0 has exposed more people to dance than ever. Dance is a growing sport/art and we have mainstream media to largely thank for it! What it has meant, however, is that the regular everyday person or dancer is exposed to the ‘wow’ factors like gravity-defying acrobatics, bodies stretched to the extreme and youngsters performing moves most could never dream of achieving at their peak.

As a result, we are entering a concerning territory where people think they need to stretch to the extreme and force their bodies into doing things it is not capable of on a physical, technical or even anatomical level. Whilst I know it will fall on deaf ears to say that it is not necessary to aim for these extremes, I hope it does not fall on deaf ears to say that Flexibility is not the be all and end all of Dance! Especially when it is to the exclusion of all other Dance Fitness Components.

Some genres of dance such as calisthenics, cheerleading and acrobatics (and others I am sure) are providing an increased focus on the development of adequate strength to perform advanced movements, and this is a great start.

However, there is much more to ‘dance fitness’ than strength and flexibility. There are a number of other fitness components, such as:

Continue reading “Why dance fitness is more than just ‘Strength & Flex’”

How to teach a backbend safely

Any parent who has ever asked me how they can help their child learn a backbend at home has always done so nervously. “I’m scared she’ll hurt herself. I tell her to wait until class, but she won’t. Is there something I can do to help, because I can’t hold her back!?”. Sure, there is a lot you can do to help a child learn safely. Continue reading How to teach a backbend safely

The benefits of Calisthenics for young dancers

Calisthenics is one of the best forms of dance for all-round dance technique and performance development. Other than probably becoming hooked for life and having the confidence to spread their wings into other dance styles as they grow, there are numerous lifelong benefits for young ones participating in cali. Have I forgotten any? Continue reading The benefits of Calisthenics for young dancers