Beautiful Body, Beautiful Mind: The Power of Positive Imagery
by Eric Franklin
Elysian Editions

In a nutshell: Mobilizing the power of thought for a healthy lifestyle.
In this guidebook, Eric Franklin illustrates more than 80 exercises for maintaining a healthy physical-emotional connection—the key to longevity, without artificial creams, pastes, surgeries or pills. He infuses positive imagery and mental techniques (i.e., self talk and goal setting) into the book’s eight chapters, targeting major parts of the body, including the joints and cartilage, bones, muscles, brain and nervous system. Franklin’s overall lesson: Whether you achieve your fitness goals is determined by habits in the quality of your thoughts and daily life. —Erin K. Dean


Shanti Generation for Youth Peacemakers
by Abby Wills

WSR Creative

In a nutshell: An introductory yoga program for 10- to 15-year-olds.
Led by the soothing instruction of yoga teacher Abby Wills, seven teen students demonstrate exercises that encourage physical, mental and social development. During the 90-minute session, viewers will learn 18 yoga poses for focus, energy and calmness, along with other sequences that focus on flexibility, balance, meditation, breathing and stress management. Viewers can navigate through the five sections as they choose, while relaxing to music by 311 bassist Aaron Wills. A special features section includes interviews with the teenage yogis, who share the benefits of yoga for young people. —Jenny Thompson

Pilates and Calisthenics for Children
by Larkin Barnett, BA, MA

Lorenz Educational Press

In a nutshell: A kid-friendly manual for teaching Pilates and calisthenics.
Written by Larkin Barnett, an exercise science professor at Florida Atlantic University and former dancer, this easy-to-follow text teaches movement to children through creative visualization that accesses all five senses. Though concise, this book is packed with instructional tips and cartoon-like visuals to help students grasp mind-body connection. The first three chapters detail the “ABCs” of Pilates—alignment, breathing and core control basics. The remaining three sections cover “Calisthenics Exercises,” “Pilates Mat Exercises” and “Wall Stretches,” with each exercise illustrating how to engage the imagination of children. A certificate of completion template for students is also included. —JT

Practical Pilates: Using Imagery
by Larkin Barnett, BA, MA
The Lorenz Corporation

In a nutshell: Using visual imagery to help condition the body.
Larkin Barnett fused her dance and movement-therapy expertise into a practical fitness program to help remedy America’s increasing struggle with health issues—especially obesity. This resource offers more than 70 simple movements (modeled by Miami City Ballet dancers) that use visual imagery to control flexibility, strength and body maintenance. She includes moves that can be done while on the go, watching television, sitting on an airplane or waiting in line. And with a focus on the key ingredients for success in dance—alignment, breathing and centering—these exercises can also be carried into classroom teaching technique. —JT


Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

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Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

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Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

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Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

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Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

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Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

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How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

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