Health & Body

Ask Deb: Is Tumbling Bad for Dancers?

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I'm a senior at a Performing Arts high school. I have been taking ballet for 2 years and started taking tumbling classes with a local gymnastics instructor. One of my jazz teachers advised me to stop as she said it would create bad habits. I enjoy the classes and think my dancing has improved. Thoughts?

Good question! Dancers need to be flexible and strong in order to execute steps correctly. One way to increase strength is through participating in various physical activities outside of dance. Tricks, partnering and unusual lifts are often easier for dancers who have explored gymnastics and tumbling in particular. Both activities require a high level of technique and physical prowess, but they don't need to be in conflict with each other as long as your body tolerates the large amount of activity.

Many dancers cross train. How you decide to work on building strength, flexibility and balance is more of a personal preference than a rigid set of rules. Dance is a creative art form, and as long as you have an anatomical understanding of your technique and training, go ahead and do both. Plus—have you seen how often back flips and other tumbling moves are seen on "So You Think You Can Dance?" It's not a bad idea to be comfortable with some tumbling moves!

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail askdeb@dancemedia.com, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

To work with Deb Vogel in person, check out her summer workshop, A Dance Teacher's Retreat to Tuscany!

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