Health & Body
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Dance is an art form that requires the whole self. You've likely witnessed a talented, hardworking student inexplicably hit a block or fail to perform their best when the stakes are high. No matter how hard they work physically, getting to the next level will be an inefficient struggle until the mind becomes a more active and effective partner.

The practice of mindfulness can help. "There is a concept called 'participating' or 'flow,' in which a person is able to throw themselves completely into an activity with awareness and control but without actively focusing their attention on themselves or analyzing the details of what they are doing," says Catherine Drury, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with dancers. "That ability to enter wholly into movement without judgment or self-consciousness is what allows dancers to perform at their peak."

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Studio Owners
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This year, dance educators have had to think through an unprecedented number of new concerns and policies as they've transitioned to teaching virtually or socially distanced.

But there's one consideration that may have fallen by the wayside in the frenzy of taping off squares of marley and enclosing the front desk in plexiglass: What will you do if there is an emergency at your studio or while you're teaching? What is your emergency action plan (EAP) in this new normal?

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Dance Magazine
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If you feel a pain in your back when lifting your leg into arabesque, it's possible the issue is a combination of decreased flexibility in the hip flexors with weakness or restrictions at the spine.

You'll want to check the range of your hip flexors. When your quadriceps and iliopsoas are tight, they restrict the height of your arabesque. The more flexible they are, the higher you can take your leg before tipping the pelvis and creating the necessary arch in the lower back. Try doing your arabesque on both legs, then stretch both the quads and your deeper psoas muscle and repeat the arabesques. Did your leg go higher? If it did, it's a sign that the hip flexors are negatively influencing your arabesque height. If there was no difference, there may be weakness in the upper back that needs to be addressed.

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Health & Body
Jason Facey, Courtesy of Betty Rox

Three broken ribs, two broken ankles and one broken wrist. These are the last things a dancer wants to hear, let alone experience. On September 28, 2019, dancehall and soca choreographer and teacher Betty Rox found herself facing this reality when she was struck by a car while out for a walk in Los Angeles, California. She awakened in the arms of a caring stranger, unable to move.

But despite her initial disorientation and multiple injuries, her optimistic mindset led her down a path to a speedy recovery. Here's what got her back to dancing.

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Health & Body
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As you've continued to keep your students connected to dance throughout the COVID-19 crisis, you may have noticed that some of their faces—whether on your laptop screen or back in the studio—look different. They may be less vibrant, or more emotional. Some students may simply not show up.

We are experiencing a collective loss. And in addition to the loss of physical closeness, time in the studio and performances, some students are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

When your dancers are grieving, it is easy to feel powerless. Leading your students through a global pandemic was not on the dance pedagogy syllabus. But by being flexible, knowing the signs of distress and asking the right questions, you can help your students manage their grief and get back to dancing.

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