Author: Adriano Bittar on behalf of the IADMS Dance Educators’ Committee
Following on from the exciting and intriguing posts from Christine Bergeron (How effective is Pilates as an additional training program for dancers?), and Jennifer Deckert (Breath: A Back-To-School Basic), the focus here is on Pilates and breath, specifically touching upon how they influence the performance of ballet.
Author: Christine S. Bergeron on behalf of the IADMS Dance Educators’ Committee
As an active Pilates and dance instructor for over 18 years, I can see the connection and similarity between dance technique and Pilates. Some of the similarities include the focus on body alignment, core engagement, pelvic placement, full body engagement, concentration, and precision. It seems, as a community, we have accepted Pilates as a leading supplemental training method among dancers.
Author: Stevie Oakes on behalf of the IADMS Dance Educators’ Committee
Preparing myself nutritionally for a long dance day has always been a little tricky. As a contemporary modern dancer, rehearsals alternately require endurance or short bursts of power (usually both, in my experience, throughout the course of the process); the “right” combination of preparing with solid meals before hand with adequate and healthy snack options while not feeling too full seemed elusive. And while my education and interest in wellbeing – plus lots of resources and publications from the IADMS team - gave me a starting off point for balanced meals, energetic needs, and nutritional considerations, I found out the most from tuning in to sensation. Challenging myself physically and meeting those needs with good eating habits.
So you came to the understanding that it is not all about dancing: in order to nourish your body for greater freedom of artistic expression, other elements have to be added to the equation. You have already done the reading about reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing performance. Then you came across supplementary fitness training and its role in supporting your career goals and longevity. Feeling more responsible for your body and empowered to take care of yourself, you are now craving for putting it into practice – what then?
Authors: Maggie Lorraine and Elsa Urmston on behalf of the IADMS Education Committee
Dancers are often passionate about developing their flexibility, reaching ever-greater ranges of motion (ROM), as choreographers require ever-more spectacular contortions of the body. For example, it’s been observed that the height of the développé in Les Sylphides Nocturne section has increased from 60° to nearly 180°, and of course, different dance styles require different ROM at different joints; Spanish dancers need increased ROM in the shoulders compared to a non-dancing population whereas classical ballet dancers need extensive ROM in the hips. We see a wide range of images and videos online nowadays which see young dancers especially, pushing their body into incredibly contorted positions, often compromising safety and alignment, and possibly leading to increased likelihood of injury as they pursue increased ROM. It’s not as simple as pushing dancers into various positions, as it has been reported that up to 17 factors can affect flexibility, including age, body morphology, genetics, gender, bones, nerves, muscle, ligaments, and connective tissue, so it becomes vital as dance educators that we educate our dancers to look after their body, practise safe stretching activities and understand that achieving optimal flexibility is a complex process.
Many posts on the IADMS Blog from the Education Committee have been focused on the anatomy and control of turnout. But does awareness of where turnout comes from and exercise targeting hip external rotators actually make a difference in turnout a dancer can achieve? According to research from Florida State University published in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, the answer is yes.
The purpose of the IADMS blogs are to connect the public – the dancing public, the teaching public, the researching public, the clinical public – with current happenings in the field of dance medicine and science, in order to promote educational, medical, and scientific excellence. For now, let's jump right in with a research study published in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science.