Dance Teacher Tips

Everyone in my dance class can get to at least 90 degrees in their développé with the correct placement, and a few of them can get to 120 degrees with the correct placement. I can only get my legs to about 45 degrees to the front and side before my teachers tell me that my placement is incorrect. How do I get my développés to consistently be at least 90 degrees and keep my placement correct?

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Dancer Health
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I have a young dancer with an open rib cage problem, and I'm trying to get her to stop. What can you suggest?
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Dancer Health
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I attend a performing-arts high school and have been out for almost a week and a half because of illness. I NEED to get back in shape. Do you have any advice?

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Dancer Health
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I'm an adult beginner, and I'm loving dance class. My only problem is that when I do fifth position with my right foot in front, my hip pops as I straighten my leg. I have no problem with fifth when my left foot is in front. Do you have any advice?

The most common cause of hip popping in fifth position is a difference in leg lengths. Whenever I have a dancer in my office say they can't stand in fifth easily on just one side, it's my cue to check for leg-length discrepancies.

When someone has a difference in leg lengths, the longer leg can cause the pelvis to rotate and force the greater trochanter (the bump on the outside of the femur) to slip out from underneath the IT band. This motion is what makes hips pop. I suggest you go to the drugstore and pick up a pair of heel cushions that are blue, rubbery and about a half-inch thick. Put one heel cushion in your left soft slipper and try your fifth position again. Is it easier?

If that doesn't help, remember that there can also be a functional shortening at the hip caused by a tight iliopsoas muscle. Stretching out both iliopsoas muscles through the runner's lunge or one of the other stretches and then rechecking your fifth positions might make it easier to stand with the pelvis upright.

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!

Dancer Health
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My toes cramp whenever I point them. Any suggestions on how to solve this problem?

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Dancer Health
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I recently started back in modern dance after a long hiatus—I stopped dancing at age 11 and went back two years ago at age 24. I've found that when I'm on the floor, I can't open to a very wide second. Also, if I'm sitting in butterfly on the floor with my feet together, my knees are some distance from the ground. What can I do to loosen my hips?

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Dance Teacher Tips
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I need to improve the height of my relevé. My teacher has suggested that I practice by going into a relevé, then moving into plié with a forced arch, and then straightening the legs without moving my heels. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep my heels from lowering. Why is this?

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Dance Teacher Tips
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Certain ideas have floated around dance studios for so long that we don't even question them. But, no, it's not true that you need 180 degrees of turnout to be a professional dancer! Here are five such common pronouncements. Can we all agree it's time to put them to rest?

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