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
Why you should not simply call a dancer ‘beautiful’. Continue reading Please don’t call a dancer beautiful
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
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:
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
Dancers are experts at stretching, right?
If you are flexible only on one leg, experience niggly pains, or just never seem to get more flexible, it’s time to check in here to see if there’s more to know about stretching.
Continue reading What dancers need to know about stretching
Why dancers should cross-train and how to select your cross-training method of choice Continue reading What is cross-training and why should dancers do it?
Whether you regard dance as a sport or an art, great dancers now consider themselves athletes. Why? Because dancers need all-round fitness to cope with the demands of training and to … Continue reading Why Dancers are Athletes…but their regular Dance Class is Not Enough
Calisthenics has always brought about a bemused look on the face of the person to whom you are talking when you proudly say, “I do calisthenics!” “What’s that? Is that the baton-twirling one where you wear make-up painted on?” Um, … Continue reading So what is Calisthenics, anyway?
Why Dance is a fertile ground for breeding essential 21st Century life and work skills. Continue reading Why Dance is the ultimate school subject