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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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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Dancer Health
Sebastian Grubb (left) is a fitness trainer and teaches dance in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo courtesy of Grubb

If your students are going to class regularly, they're probably in great shape, right? Most likely! However, even the most well-rounded dance class schedule can leave some gaps in overall physical fitness. "Any athlete should cross-train, especially ones who spend a lot of time doing one particular modality," says trainer Sebastian Grubb.

Here, he shares three areas of fitness your students might not be addressing.

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How-To

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Teaching young dancers ages 3 to 5 can be incredibly fun and rewarding. However, it can quickly turn chaotic during those transitional moments in between activities.

Weighing in on the subject is Julie Crothers, a creative movement teacher at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley, California. Here, she shares five tips for keeping in-class transitions seamless and fun.

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Dancer Health
Sebastian Grubb (right) runs Sebastian's Functional Fitness in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Grubb

From improved aerobic capacity to better reactivity, cross-training can to do wonders for dancers' health and performance. But with the abundance of exercise programs available, how do you get your dancers on the right routine?

Sebastian Grubb, a San Francisco–based fitness trainer and professional dancer, shares three questions to ask as you consider different cross-training options.

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Teachers & Role Models
Kaylin Maggard at NYCDA Nationals. Photo courtesy of Maggard

2017 was a big year for Columbia Performing Arts Centre alumna Kaylin Maggard. Not only did she graduate from high school in Columbia, Missouri, and begin her studies at Juilliard, she won the title of Senior Female Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, was one of 22 YoungArts finalists in dance and was named the Dance Spirit magazine Cover Model Search Winner. Now on tour with NYCDA, Maggard shares some of her CPAC teachers' best advice and training tactics that helped her achieve her goals.

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Dance Buzz
Panelists (left to right): Emily Nusbaum, Eric Kupers, Judith Smith, Deborah Karp and Suzanna Curtis. Photo by Aiano Nakagawa, courtesy of Luna Dance Institute

This past Saturday, I visited Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley, California, to attend the Dance & Disability Discourse & Panel—a discussion with five artists, educators and researchers about access and equity for disabled students in dance education. Here are three statements from the discussion that I found eye-opening.

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Dancer Health
Neuromuscular expert Deborah Vogel with Jordan Lazan, right. Photo by Jim Lafferty

By strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the foot and ankle, a dancer can help prevent or correct existing pronation. Having strong intrinsic foot muscles keeps the arches aligned, preventing them from dropping inward.

Here, Vogel shares three strengthening exercises to help correct and prevent pronation. She advises dancers to include these in their cross-training regimen.

Mobilize your ankles. (Step 1)

For this ankle mobilization exercise, having a TheraBand wrapped around your ankles puts pressure on your feet to pronate. By resisting that action and keeping your feet centered through the relevé, you're essentially training the ankle where center is.

  • Sitting up straight in a chair, with your feet planted on the floor a few inches apart, tie a TheraBand in a loop around your ankles. You can place a yoga block vertically in between your knees to maintain space between your legs.

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