After teaching Modern and Ballet for many years at local studios, it really got me thinking about a few things I wish I had known at a much younger age. So this is for all the girls who I have been fortunate enough to have in class throughout the years.
STATIC STRETCHING IS NOT GOING TO HELP BEFORE A PERFORMANCE. What this means is do not sit in the splits prior to performing! You would be better off doing some lunges, sways, swings, i.e moving the whole body around. Do not hold the stretch at all. Think dynamic movement before your dynamic performance!
TECHNIQUE, YEAH YOU MAY FIND IT TO BE THE BORING PART OF THE CLASS BUT IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT since it gives you the opportunity to really PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY which can make a big difference. For example, as you lift your leg, are you lifting your hip? Even just a bit? Take time to see what it feels like when you do move your hip with your leg and when you don’t. What does it look like when you do this? Notice how others move but what is it about their movement that you like or not like? Do you know why? Use your dance class time wisely, pay attention to your own body and notice how we all naturally move differently.
MUSCLES GET OVERUSED in just about every sport including dance (think of how many times you practiced that jump!); THERE IS A NEED TO REBALANCE all the muscles so you can continue to do the activities that you love. So move much in many varied ways. ESSENTRICS® promotes exactly this by incorporating techniques to rebalance the entire musculoskeletal system. You want equal amounts of strengthening and flexibility movement to keep the body fully mobile, pain-free, flexible and strong. I often wonder what it would have felt like for my body during my college dancing years if I had known about and was practicing ESSENTRICS® consistently then…regardless, I am thrilled to be including it daily now!
Have you ever thought, “I AM NOT AS GOOD OF A DANCER BECAUSE I CANNOT DO THE SPLITS.” This is absolutely NOT TRUE. We all are not designed to sit comfortably into the splits; so do not force it. Genetics can play a part in this. If the muscle to tendon ratio is greater, then you have a better chance of increasing your flexibility but if it is your tendon to muscle ratio that is greater then there is less of an opportunity to increase your flexibility. Let’s not forget about our bones, the size and location of the bones in our body will affect flexibility as well. Explore your range of motion and remember there is a range and it is highly individualized. Learn to move well and efficiently within your own body, it is unique and beautiful. Honor your body and what it does for you in any given moment. And remember:
-REBALANCING THE MUSCLES MATTERS
-EATING MATTERS FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION - what I am trying to say is seriously, skip the energy drinks, soda and pre-packaged foods, etc. and GET REAL ENERGY FROM REAL FOOD
-DRINKING ENOUGH WATER MATTERS - aim for drinking at least ½ your body weight in ounces.
…it all matters because it is truly all connected and undoubtedly will affect how you feel and move in your body for ALL of your life. Keep moving in ways that bring YOU joy!