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dance training

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being

A Journey Back to Dance #8: Listen to the Body

June 4, 2020
journey back to dance: listen to the body the movement blog london uk

Listening is a virtue, especially for the body. There’s no need to force the body into shape; let’s nurture the body instead.

In a time where we’ve been physically confined (and mentally for some of us), we now need to start wiggling our nervous system a little bit as we re-emerge into the world.

The body holds all kinds of muscular restrictions formed from memory, habits, mental and physical trauma, stress, etc. To truly feel the body, we must learn how to listen. Thus, we should turn to somatics for guidance.

Although the idea of body listening is not necessarily revolutionary or ground breaking, it is, nevertheless, a concept that has been under-emphasized in the dance technique class and should be revisited.
– Rebecca Enghauser

5 Components of Somatic Approach –

(1) Spatial-Perceptual,
awakens the senses and prepare the body and mind for learning. One way of accomplishing this involves the use of improvisational structures within the technique class, rather than just “see and do” exercises.
(2) Kinesthetic,
the examination and processing of information the learner receives from doing movement.
(3) Breath,
affirms the dynamic state of the experiential moment, as each person tunes inward to listen to each inhale and exhale. Breath can be a very powerful way to build and retain concentration, endurance, focus, and flow in the dancing moment.
(4) Eco-Somatic,
accounts for the whole person, not excluding the environmental context in which the person lives and moves.
(5) Creative,
acknowledges that a dancer’s technical training should include opportunities to hone his or her creative skills.
Source: Enghauser, Rebecca. Developing Bodies in the Dance Technique Class (2007).

We can use aspects of this approach in our own time or even while we’re taking class. Here are a few methods that specifically uses a somatic approach that’s geared for dancers and movers alike:

Dance Improvisation
Gaga People/Dancers

Happy Moving <3

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being Tips

A Journey Back to Dance #6: Dealing with Old and New Injuries

July 31, 2016
journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries

(Above: Teaching a GYROKINESIS® class via Video Chat to help dancer, Valeria Caboi, recover from an old hip injury.)

Often times dancers have to deal with either old and/or new injuries, especially when returning to training and performance.

Even when we train, retrain, and cross train to prevent and reduce injury old or even new injuries could flare up when the body is doing something . New injuries can be caused by overexertion, fatigue, or accidents like falling or tripping. So how should a dancer cope when getting back to dance, movement, and performance?

 Here’s some basic advice that every dancer should know and implement.

journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries

An example of Kinesis-Taping given by an Osteopath to ensure proper healing and support.

1) Deal with the injury.

  • Rest, ice, compress, and elevate (RICE) the injury area if needed. In addition, the UK’s NHS website notes ‘Protection’ as the first protocol (PRICE), which means to protect the injuries area from further harm.
  • Whether it’s a new or recurrent injury, book an appointment with an Osteopath, Physiotherapist, or with a  Doctor to ensure nothing is torn or fractured and to determine whether it is an acute or chronic injury.

2) Listen to your body.

  • Avoid ‘pushing through’ and continue resting and any recommended treatment, especially if the injured area is still sensitive.
  • Know your limits. Consider taking only the first half of a class to protect the injured area and to ensure the injured area has healed properly.
  • Don’t be ashamed to let teachers know. Although we aim to avoid injuries when at all possible, dealing with an injury properly is just as important.

3) Slowly get back in the game.

  • Focus on proper alignment, beginning and finishing movements correctly, and using true range of motion (i.e. turnout).
  • Know what areas to strengthen and stretch and continue recommended exercises given by therapist or doctor if necessary.
  • Stay aware of what may have initially caused the injury to help prevent and reduce re-injury.

journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries

Want to try something new to ease any pain or discomfort within your dancing?
Check out my GYROTONIC® Case Study Recruitment for discount sessions.

Healing Sources

Lazy Dancer Tips by Alessia Lugoboni

Technique Class Participation Options for Injured Dancers

RNOH NHS: Centre for Dance Medicine (UK)

Osteopathy & Massage Clinic (UK)

Harkness Centre for Dance Medicine (US)

Perspectives on Dance Injury


A Journey Back to Dance #1: Dance and Career Support

May 19, 2015

Today’s Focus: Seeking Dance and Career Support

This is the just the beginning.

Firstly, this blog series, if you will, will consist of short stories to share the ups and downs of the dance world, but then finding the ups again. From psychological and physical struggles to finding creative and positive outlets, dancers worldwide often experience these similar circumstances. Meanwhile, the world seems to know that dancers tend sacrifice a lot for little or no money to pursue their art form, but how can we make it all worthwhile?

People begin dance for many reasons.

Whether you stick with it or not, I believe that once you’re a dancer, you’re always a dancer. The way you think, move and breathe often becomes a part of you and your surroundings. It may even affect how you ‘give back’ to the world. However, the arts is still in a state of struggle, so it might be useful to understand what goes on behind the stage doors (if you will).

Dance training is just one part of being an artist.

Many factors such as upbringing, education, peers, and teachers can affect one’s artistic potential. It’s then necessary to further encourage dancers to acknowledge this and use those experiences to express their ‘side of the story’. Although this path can be financially, physically and emotionally draining, dance tends to receive more neglect from the public and/or government (i.e. funding, art cuts) compared to other professions.

Some cities are more difficult than others to obtain a job.

While some cities are more difficult than others for dancers to ‘survive’, I can say London might be the most interesting. However there’s always a lot to learn from these situations. I would therefore like to share some of my experiences and hopefully help others speak their minds as well. These experiences include training abroad, auditioning, freelancing, working for free to changing interests and then coming back to dance and GYROTONIC®.

Competition is also vast while there are more dancers than jobs.

How to manage this on your own? Well, you probably shouldn’t. Some dance schools and conservatories offer on-site dance and career counselling, but sadly an astonishing number of them don’t. Dance is much, much harder than people think! Thankfully, there are some ways you can seek support outside of the classroom.

Ways to seek Dance and Career support:

Megan is a dancer, dance teacher and dance coach based in London. She developed a company and organization called Awareness Through Dance and Dance London to help build community and international awareness. Overall, she is my go-to for organizing ideas, class schedules, and freelance survival tips (i.e. business goals) for both the present and future.

Dance UK is an organization that is catered towards not only dancers but teachers, choreographers and dance scientists. The Healthier Dancer Programme specifically provides advice for a dancer’s fitness and well-being. Although UK based, there is a great number of accessible online resources to educate the necessities of a dancer’s health, fitness and well-being.

Based in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, this organization focuses on defining a dancer’s performance career as well as their post-performace career. They provide workshops/events, counselling, and financial assistance. As you can imagine, this is a great exposure for dancers and dance companies. A UK equivalent would be Dancer’s Career Development.

You can also see what’s available in your school, university or local hospital which may be free.

Keep on, keeping’ on!