Dance Teacher Tips
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Q: I can't straighten both legs and maintain a closed fifth position. I believe it's mostly because one leg is longer than the other one. What can I do?

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Dancer Health
Photo via Bowflex on YouTube

We're preaching to the choir when we say that a strong core can make all the difference in a performer. You are all excellent at giving your students combinations that will strengthen their abdominals and give them the freedom to dance with abandon onstage. But sometimes those ab exercises can feel a little stale. After a while, boredom sets in, and your dancers get sick of the drudgery of crunches at the end of every warm-up.

Never fear! These four fabulous core exercise videos will lead your dancers to, if not love, at least appreciate, their ab workout.

Check them out!

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Dance Teacher Tips
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Q: I've been blessed with great feet and ankles, but when it comes to getting higher relevés out of my students with lesser feet, I'm stumped. Do you have any advice for achieving maximum relevé?

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Dance Teacher Tips
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Since the dawn of time, performers have had to deal with annoying, constant blisters. As every dance teacher knows (and every student is sure to find out), blisters are a fact of life, and we all need to figure out a plan of action for how to deal with them.

Instead of bleeding through pointe shoes and begging you to let them sit out, your students should know these tricks for how to prevent/deal with their skin when it starts to sting.

You're welcome!

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Dancer Health
Deanna Paolantonio leads a workshop. Photo courtesy of Paolantonio

Deanna Paolantonio had been interested in body positivity long before diabetes ever crossed her mind. As a Zumba and Pilates instructor who had just earned her master's degree in dance studies, she focused her research on the relationship between fitness and body image for women and young girls. Then, at age 25, just as she was accepted into the PhD program at York University in Toronto, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

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Dance Teacher Tips
Thinkstock

Q: I can't straighten both legs and maintain a closed fifth position. I believe it's mostly because one leg is longer than the other one. What can I do?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips

For an aspiring professional dancer, an unexpected injury can feel like a death sentence to a career that hasn't even started. The recovery process following an injury can be one of the most grueling and heartbreaking experiences a performer will ever face. In times like these, dance teachers have the power to boost or weaken a dancer's morale.

With that in mind, we've compiled a list of do's and don'ts for talking to a seriously injured dancer.

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Dance Teacher Tips
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Q: How can I improve my middle splits?

A: Middle splits can be quite challenging depending on your hip structure. Sitting in a straddle and leaning forward, as well as having your legs in a straddle against the wall, are both stretches that dancers can do to lengthen the inner thigh muscles.

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Dancer Health
Tension in the legs is related to core weakness. Photo courtesy of AZ Dance Medicine Specialists

In the lead-up to competition season, "Again! From the top!!" can be overheard in studios across the nation. As students rehearse their routines ad nauseam in the final push to get ready, longer hours can sometimes mean that warm-ups get lost and increased repetition can create overuse injuries. Plus the extreme tricks and greater demands for flexibility can put stress on the joints and tendons of growing and adolescent bodies.

"In the dance industry, we are very used to releasing and stretching," says Dr. Alexis Sams, physical therapist and owner of AZ Dance Medicine Specialists. "But the key to injury prevention is matching mobility with stability. You are not going to get the results you want without doing the stabilizing work." While Dr. Sams does not recommend that students self-diagnose an injury and believes in the necessity of a professional assessment when a student reports pain, she has found that many overuse injuries can be prevented by strengthening the core and glute muscles, and sticking to a proper warm-up. Here are three common places where students report pain, what may be causing it, and the best exercises to address and prevent the injury.

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Dance Teacher Tips
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Q: I tell my ballet students to pull up the front of their abdominals, but when I put my hand on their stomachs, I don't feel anything. What can I do?

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Dance Teacher Tips
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Q: What suggestions do you have for dancers to get their shoulder blades to lie flat on their backs?

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Dancer Health
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Q: One of my older students has pain in her right hip whenever she does a front battement or the splits, or when in downward dog. What do you think is going on?

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Dancer Health
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Q: I have a friend who was diagnosed with a labral tear. She said it's becoming more common among dancers. Is there a way to prevent this?

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