Health & Body

Ask Deb: How Do I Loosen My Upper Back Without a Foam Roller?


Q: Do you have any suggestions/stretches for loosening the upper-back muscles other than foam rolling? I don't feel like it's doing enough for me.

A: I'm right there with you on this one. That area of the body gets tight easily and is challenging to get to. I often target and massage the tight areas first with a pinkie ball against the wall. Then, I get started with rotating the spine in several different ways. If I'm sitting, I'll do rotation to each side as I lengthen the spine upward—sometimes using the arm of the chair to deepen the stretch a little bit more than what is normal. I'm imagining the spine lengthening upward as I do this and don't let myself side bend as I twist to the side. When I get to the end of my range, I'll stop, take an easy inhale, and on the exhale imagine rotating a little bit more—which inevitably allows for a bit more rotation. Of course do both sides.

You could also do twisted push-ups against the wall or lying on the ground, rotating your hips and legs opposite your upper body. There are so many different ways to rotate and 'wring' the tension out of the spine, like wringing a washcloth. (Which sometimes is an image I use while I'm rotating.) Ultimately, rotation is the key to spine health.

Rachel Neville, courtesy DTH

A new three-summer collaboration between Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Dance Theatre of Harlem will contribute to conversations on race, activism and equity in the arts, while also exploring creative projects and learning opportunities.

Kicking off the partnership in June, DTH focused on the development of The Hazel Scott Project, a new work by choreographer Tiffany Rea-Fisher. Scott was a Black piano virtuoso and Hollywood trailblazer who risked her life and career through outspoken civil rights activism. In the spirit of her example, Monica White Ndounou, associate professor of theater, and John Heginbotham, director of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble, co-taught a summer theater course that challenged students to create dance as a tool for social change.

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Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

Studio owners who've been in the recital game for a while have likely seen thousands of dance costumes pass through their hands.

But with the hustle and bustle of recital time, we don't always stop to think about where exactly those costumes are coming from, or how they are made.

If we want our costumes to be of the same high quality as our dancing—and for our costume-buying process to be as seamless as possible—it helps to take the time to learn a bit more about those costumes and the companies making them.

We talked to the team at A Wish Come True—who makes all their costumes at their factory in Bristol, Pennsylvania—to get an inside look at what really goes into making a costume, from conception to stage.

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Teaching Tips
Courtesy Jill Randall

Fall may be fast-approaching, but it's never too late to slip in a little summer reading—especially if it'll make you all the more prepared for the perhaps crazier-than-usual season ahead.

Here are six new releases to enrich your coming school year:

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