Health & Body

Ask Deb: Can I Lengthen My IT Band?

Thinkstock

Q: I was told I should lengthen my IT band in order to not overuse my quads in tendu. How do I do that?


A: The simple answer is: You can't lengthen your IT band. The IT band is composed of fascia, which is dense connective tissue. It's wrong to state that it can lengthen like a muscle. Fascia can't create movement; it can only allow or restrict movement depending on its relationship and balance with the surrounding tissues.

If you have tension in any area along a fascial line, it can influence the muscles that connect to it. A chronically tight IT band may be an indicator that other lateral hip muscles (usually the gluteus medius) aren't doing their fair share of the work. The fascial line that more directly influences the quads is called the superficial front line.

As far as a tendu goes, the IT band and the quads have totally different roles. You must engage the quadriceps in order to tendu front and side, while the IT band acts to stabilize the lateral knee and to coordinate the muscle action of the glutes.

Perhaps your teacher was using an image of the IT band lengthening to keep the tendu tracking correctly, but it might be better to think of sending energy through the center of the hip, knee and ankle joints instead. Hope this helps to "de-myth" this correction!

Teacher Voices

There were plenty of reasons why we were happy to bid 2020 a not-so-fond farewell, but for tap dancers, the end of such a difficult year was the final curtain on a decade in which the art form experienced remarkable growth.

Over the past 10 years, The School at Jacob's Pillow launched its first-ever tap programs; companies such as Dorrance Dance and Caleb Teicher & Company emerged and produced award-winning work; Operation Tap became an important voice in online tap education; the American Tap Dance Foundation established its new home in Greenwich Village; The Kennedy Center presented its first full-length tap concert; and so much more.

As the new year sees tap dance trying to maintain this positive momentum despite the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic, we invited several of the field's living legends to meet on Zoom and discuss how they perceive the current state of tap dance and tap education.

Keep reading... Show less
Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.