Health & Body

Ask Deb: What Are Some Exercises to Correct Overpronation in First Position?

Thinkstock

It's very common for young dancers to over-rotate their feet in first position. The first suggestion I have is to simply not turn out so far. The dancer should be able to stand in first position with equal weight between the pads of the big toe, little toe and heel. Otherwise she will create a twisting motion at the knees and ankles, which will leave her vulnerable to injuries.


Pronation is not a quick fix, and awareness is key. These exercises will help her feel when she's pronating and self-correct.

She needs to become aware of whether she's gripping the floor with her toes. The role of the toes in first position is to help balance your movement, not to lift your arch or act as the glue that keeps your feet turned out. Sometimes it's useful to have young students take class in their socks rather than soft slippers, so they can feel the contact with the floor more easily.

Have her pay attention to whether she's standing evenly or pronating outside of class. If she chronically pronates, orthotics might be useful while building strength and correcting inefficient alignment patterns. Rolling her foot on a pinkie ball or massaging her own feet will wake up the muscles.

Place a light scarf on the floor and ask her to first scrunch the scarf, then pick it up and drop it in a container.

If she's anywhere near the beach, have her walk on the sand. It's a wonderful exercise that works the muscles of the lower leg and feet, since they constantly strive to keep us balanced. Walking over a line of pillows can do the same thing. A bigger challenge, and one that helps correct alignment patterns, is to stand on one leg on the pillow and balance for up to one minute.

Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.