To keep their precious instruments in top condition (and injury-free), tappers must develop a sound stretching practice that incorporates strengthening exercises, especially for the lower extremities and core muscles—the abdomen, hips, buttocks and lower back areas. “Most tappers’ lower extremity injuries are significantly influenced by the strength of their core,” says Megan Richardson, a clinical specialist and certified athletic trainer at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries at New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City. Stretching on a regular basis—both before and after dancing—will help with overall movement, allowing the smaller muscles to better articulate the fancy footwork involved in tap dancing. “Most importantly, stretching their calf muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings will help prevent stress fractures and overuse injuries,” says Richardson.
It’s also vital for tap dancers to stretch out each foot and set of toes, adds Richardson. Strengthening the feet will help develop extra muscle to cushion each foot while in motion. One of the most beneficial exercises for tappers is “doming” their feet, advises Richardson. To do this exercise, sit in a chair with your back straight and knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep bare feet flat on the floor while sliding (or scrunching) the toes back toward the heels, so that the top part of the arches rise into a dome shape. Make sure that your body weight is evenly distributed across the feet and avoid letting the toes curl under. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then release, relax and do five more repetitions. Tap dancers should build onto this exercise slowly until they are able to do 100 reps daily. If done correctly on a regular basis, this exercise will strengthen the muscles between the metatarsal bones and better equip the balls of the feet to absorb forces, says Richardson.
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.