With the physical demands required of dancers today, conditioning and injury-prevention are more important than ever. So it's no secret that dance teachers are constantly in search of new ways to challenge, strengthen and build upon their dancers' training—safely.

Cue The Hall Method.


Marlene Hall, who's now on faculty at the Orange County High School of the Arts (OCSA), first noticed the benefits of Pilates and TheraBand conditioning—and how it strengthened her ballet and pointe work—while attending UC, Irvine. Eventually, she created her first Therabarre class in 1998, followed by the Foam Roller Barre, Ball Barre (on the wall) and the Disc Class, all to compliment her students' normal dance-training schedule. "The method is great for all dancers," says Hall. "We specialize in preparing dancers for college, working in collaboration with college dance programs and helping professional dancers extend their injury-free careers by working with companies and independent dancers."

Her current and former students, including Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer Michael Montgomery and Asia Bonilla, a dancer at the Ailey School/Fordham University BFA program, incorporated the technique into their training. "The Hall Method gave me my dance career back after chronic pain and injury had sidelined me," says Kai Hazelwood, who is Hall's partner and the first teacher trained to teach the method.

Over the years, the technique has also sparked interest from the sports medicine community. Spine rehab specialist Dr. Jim Augustine endorsed the Therabarre class as very safe and effective. In 2011, the strengthening of Hall's pre-pointe students was noticed by the USA Gymnastics athlete care coordinator Dr. David Kruse, and by Dr. Jeff Russell, who specializes in keeping athletes and dancers healthy.

A Therabarre class follows the format of a classical ballet barre, but exercises are executed with both legs attached to either end of a TheraBand, the center of which is anchored on a barre behind the student to add resistance and allow for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).

Exercise #1: Therabarre Tendu Exercise

Two tendu Therabarre exercises youtube

"Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, an advanced stretching technique, based on the notion that muscles can achieve a greater range of motion after they have been fatigued, has been used for years by athletes, gymnasts, rehabilitation and conditioning professionals," says Russell, PhD, AT, FIADMS Ohio University. "Physical therapists and trainers use PNF by fatiguing a muscle or muscle group with an isometric contraction, then stretching that muscle with the resistance of a partner. In Therabarre, the TheraBand replaces the need for a partner, which allows for complete control by the dancer, eliminating any danger."

Exercise #2: Piqué and Balance With Rotator Disc

Piqué and balance exercise with rotator disc youtube

In 2014, while working closely with Kruse and Russell, Hall presented her work at the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) in Basel, Switzerland, to a group of artistic directors, doctors and physical therapists from all over the world. Currently The Hall Method has three medical patent–pending classes in the U.S. and the European Union. A teacher-certification program is also in the works.

"My most proud accomplishment," says Hall, "has been helping two of my students straighten out their spines from scoliosis in four months and eliminating having to go into back braces. Helping people is my passion."

Exercise #3: Grand Battement on the Wall With Ball

Grand battement devant from sous-sus on the wall exercise with ball youtube

For more information about The Hall Method and the upcoming 2019 workshop, click here.

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

Whether you're putting on a pair of pointe shoes, buckling your ballroom stilettos or lacing up your favorite high tops, the floor you're on can make or break your dancing. But with issues like sticking or slipping and a variety of frictions suitable to different dance steps and styles, it can be confusing to know which floor will work best for you.

No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Lani Corson. Photo by Royce Burgess, courtesy of Corson

Aerial work is growing in popularity in the dance world these days. Don't believe us? Check out this Dance Magazine article! If you're a studio owner who didn't grow up with aerial training (let's face it, how many of us really did?), then you may be feeling a little apprehensive about what to look for when bringing on a new aerialist faculty member. You know exactly what you want from your ballet teachers, your jazz teachers, your tap teachers, heck—even your tumbling teachers! Aerial, however, is a whole other ballgame.

To help you feel confident you're bringing in a teacher who is safe for your dancers, we sat down with Lani Corson, NYC aerialist, circus performer, adjunct professor at Pace University and teacher at Aerial Arts NYC, to get the inside scoop on exactly what you should be looking for.

Enjoy!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Dance teachers have a lot of strengths (communicating corrections, choreographing gorgeous movement, planning excellent recitals, cleaning technique—just to name a few) but when it comes to interior design—talent isn't exactly a given. So when studio owners remodel or build, worrying about the decor can feel a little overwhelming (you've got just a few too many other things to worry about, don't you?).

No need to fear! In 2019 we have Pinterest, which shows us all the latest trends we should know about. To help you make the best design decisions for your studio, we've compiled a list of public Pinterest pins we think you'll love.

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Unsplash

Is dance a sport? Should it be in the Olympics? They're complicated questions that tend to spark heated debate. But many dance fans will be excited to hear that breaking (please don't call it breakdancing) has been provisionally added to the program for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Vanessa Zahorian. Photo by Erik Larson, courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet Academy

At the LINES Ballet Dance Center in San Francisco, faculty member Erik Wagner leads his class through an adagio combination in center. He encourages dancers to root their standing legs, using imagery of a seed germinating, so that they feel more grounded. "Our studios are on the fifth floor, so I'll often tell them to push down to Market Street," says Wagner. "They know that they should push their energy down to the street level." By using this oppositional force, he says, dancers can lengthen their bodies to create any desired shape.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

After years of throwing summer parties at your studio, you're likely fatigued by coming up with themes and event details. You want your students to have a good time, but you're also up to your eyeballs in choreography and costume decisions.

Never fear! We've come up with party themes and activities to do during the event. Delegate tasks to your teachers and office managers, and voilà! You have a stress-free party ready to go.

Have a blast, people!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

Q: I recently returned to a modern dance class after a long absence. While I didn't feel any acute pain at the end of class, the next morning I could barely walk from the soreness in both my Achilles. What can I do to fix this?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Q: I'm trying to think of ways to maximize studio space and revenue during the summer. What has worked for you?

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox