Health & Body

Ask Deb: How Can Students Best Do Jump Work at Home?

Getty Images

Q: How can students build jump work into their practice while at home? Should they wear tennis shoes and jump only on carpet?

A: Telling students to jump in tennis shoes isn't a bad idea, especially when you don't know what their flooring is like. I might also suggest a training regimen of tracking their single-leg jumps.

For the first couple of classes, have your students do single-leg jumps in parallel standing between two chairs (or anything that supports either side of them—I often use my kitchen counter and a kitchen chair). Start by doing five single-leg jumps in parallel on each leg, focusing on proper rolling-through the foot on the way up and down. Mark down what they noticed between the two sides and if it was challenging. (Also note whether their heel pops off on either side, etc.) Next, increase the number, letting the weaker side determine the amount. For example, if they found they fatigued at five single jumps on the left leg, then only do five on the right side, as well.

Next they can start doing the single-leg jumps without holding on to anything—in either parallel or turnout. Always pay attention to where they begin to get fatigued. I know it's strange not to do sautés in first position, but it really is an opportunity for them to strengthen their jumping and balance their strength on the two sides. It's such a common pattern to favor one leg as the strong side and subtly shift how you land and push off when on two feet. When on one foot, there is no cheating.

You could put single-leg jumps into some type of combination that doesn't require much space to execute (like jeté temps levé). In a way, shifting out of the regular type of jump sequences is really a training opportunity for them, and they will see faster progressions in strength.

Working on balancing the two sides to have equal strength will mean their jumping will really improve once they get back into the studio.

Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.