3 Areas of Fitness Your Students Might Be Missing Out On

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.


Upper-body strength

Depending on the styles of dance your students focus on, they may be building most of their strength in their lower half and neglecting their upper body. Styles like ballet and tap, in particular, are heavily focused on the legs and feet. It can be easy for dancers to forget about their arms, shoulders and back.

For why upper-body strength is important, click here.

Cardiovascular fitness

Grubb has noticed a broad range of aerobic capacities in dancers. "It seems to depend on the styles of dance, the frequency of their training and the culture of the dancing," he says. "For example, are they doing styles that are more about body shape and poise or that include lots of jumping? Things like that will make a big difference in how well someone can deliver oxygen to their body."

For low-impact cardio training, he suggests swimming, cycling or circuit training.

Expansive locomotion

Being able to travel across the floor expansively is a skill that dancers need to develop. Whether it's because studio space is small or the dance style being taught is more localized, this aspect of fitness is frequently sidelined.

"It is extremely healthy to train on a larger scale with full-bodied movement, where you have different muscle groups and joints talking to each other," says Grubb. "The connective tissue throughout the body becoming a more intelligent and resilient system."

To train this way, he suggests running, climbing, crawling and "playing movement games, where the body is just a little more free form and chaotic."

For the past 17 years, the Martha Hill Fund has been honoring the commitment to dance education and international performance embodied by its namesake. Previous award winners have included Carla Maxwell, former artistic director of Limón Dance Company, former Ailey II dancer Frederick Earl Mosley and Mark DeGarmo of Mark DeGarmo Dance.

This year's awards gala takes place tonight at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. Check out who's being honored.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less
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.)

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored