Step kick, step kick, turn, reach up, drop to your—oooouccchhhh!—knee. Put it on record: I strained my hamstring by kneeling on the ground, practicing the routine for a class of 6-year-olds. Really, it’s just comical…except that it hurts. A lot.
I know what you’re thinking: “Jenny, didn’t you learn your lesson last year, when your class was learning grand jeté and you thought it was a great idea to show your students what the actual step looks like—despite your hip labral tear and not being all that warm?” You’re right. Leaping full-out to impress my class was not a good idea. In fact, it was just silly.
This, I thought, was different. I warm up with my kids—I do the stretching, pliés, relevés and all that jazz. I mean, we’re not practicing fouettes in this class; I don’t lift my legs past 45-degrees and I don’t jump.
But I’ve certainly learned my lesson. A week of not walking up or down stairs comfortably has truly showed me the importance of warming up on my own before class. Any class, at any level. The studio is cold and I’m getting older—I’m not indestructible.
So I offer this advice: WARM UP! I hurt myself simply by bending down to one knee; I am sure there are easy actions lurking around the corner that can put you out of commission for some time, too. Even when you don’t think it’s necessary, it is.
If you’re looking for a new pre-class routine, check out this article by Debra Vogel. It’s geared for students, but the exercises are perfect for us, too.
Also, here’s a checklist of ten easy ways to make sure you stay at your optimal level, always.
Photo from Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. Take time stretching your hamstrings—the muscle group affects so much more than just the back of your leg. We're talking your hip, knee, back, pelvis, feet—everything. Don't be fooled by your students' (or your) high extensions—most likely their hamstrings are still tight, especially if they're hyperextended. Stretch 'em out!
As the director of dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts, Istvan Cserven organizes the biannual student showcases, prepares dancers for competition and trains new instructors. On top of all that, he teaches the upper-level technique classes. A former ballroom champion in Hungary, he is well-acquainted with both rhythm and smooth ballroom-dance styles.
In an event inspired by the words of President John F. Kennedy, The Washington Ballet will perform the world premier of WHO WHEN WHY this Saturday, June 24, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Kogod Courtyard.
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.