By Talitha de Klerk:
Terri Robbins said “Progress equals happiness” and in this winter cold, (and lockdown vibes) comfort often keeps us from that needed progress! So we have decided it’s time to launch our PROGRESS CHALLENGE! Visit our social media platforms for more details on how and what you could win!
Here’s why we choose the four categories:
EXTENSION: Developé Height
BALANCE: Balancing on 1 leg (¾ point)
CORE STRENGTH: Planking
Why FLEXIBILITY is important in dance:
Flexibility is an important part of overall health. Dancing requires a large amount of flexibility in the major muscles groups to create a broader range of motion.
Flexibility is needed to even be able to attempt certain techniques or moves. Splits in particular are good to stretch the hip flexors and hamstrings which are used in many steps. They are for example needed for Grand Battements, Arabesque Penchés & Grand Jete en avant and many more steps.
(Written by Marika Botha)
Why EXTENSIONS are important in dance:
Extensions are one of the aspects of dance that add to the beauty of this artform. Arabesques, Attitudes and developés are all examples of extensions. A developè is an adagio movement which means it is slow and sustained. A developè is performed through the controlled unfolding of the working leg.
Developès are challenging as they require strength, flexibility and endurance.
We need the strength to control the unfolding of the leg, we need flexibility to get height in the working leg and we need endurance to maintain the height of the working leg as well as to maintain the turnout in the supporting leg.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
- We forget that our strength comes from our core. A strong core will make a strong developé.
- We focus on the height of the leg which causes us to forget about the turnout of both the supporting leg and the working leg.
- In our effort to unfold our working leg, we compromise the turnout and elongation of the supporting leg.
4. We hold our breath. Breathing through the movements brings ease and flow.
(Written by Bianca Copeland)
Why BALANCE is important in dance:
Balance not only adds to the elegance and ethereal quality of dance, but is essential for brilliant pirouettes and stability in adage movements. Balance is also one of the most satisfying feats, when achieved while dancing.
Good balance adds a sense of excellence to any performance and is something that sets the extraordinary dancer apart from the rest. It enables you to do not only single, but multiple pirouettes effortlessly. Balance also adds to the moments of stillness, which enhances what the rest of the choreography has to say to the audience.
But balance is very personal in nature. Because of the physically unique attributes of each individual body, good balance improves with practice as the brain utilises proprioception and physical senses to establish your center of gravity in each position. Regular practice speeds up this process and then balance becomes more automatic. But in dance, this remains a continual process because the steps required at each new level, changes the center of gravity slightly as the legs are extended into various positions, forcing the brain to stay ‘balance-fit’.
(Written by Talitha de Klerk)
Why PLANKING is important in dance:
Physically, the core is the centre of the body and because of this, it can act to control movement in the rest of the body. Every dance technique using the arms, legs, or spine, requires the type of “controlled freedom” that a strong core provides.
Planks are a great core strengthening exercise. They require the same posture and alignment that dance does as your natural stance, so that’s one reason why it’s a good choice for dancers. It focuses on stability and is a good lesson in body awareness because the dancer learns to feel what proper alignment is like. Kind of like when dancers think that their knees or feet are stretched, but their teachers think differently… body awareness! Normal healthy people should be able to do the plank on their elbows (on your hands is easier) for one minute; dancers should work for two minutes with good form.
Especially in the early stages of dance training, having stability and strong core muscles is important because it provides a good foundation for dancers to work with. Your teachers will continue to tell you to engage your core until it becomes second nature, allowing you to focus on other corrections that they give you.
(Source: Dance Extreme)
When one of these aspects improve, it will have a positive effect on ALL your dance technique. This challenge also has the ability to infuse dance training into your daily life, for example balancing while brushing teeth, or stretching after a warm bath etc… which makes for a healthier overall lifestyle. Over this next month, look out for more tips and tricks on our social media platforms to help you on this journey! We all have room for improvement. The question is:
“Are YOU up for the challenge?
Oh that you would realize your power, that happiness is simply a little self-control and commitment away! We are so looking forward to celebrating your progress with you! LET’S GO!!!