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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 the Gyrokinesis Method the Gyrotonic Method Tips Travel

A Mini Dance & Fitness Guide: the Pacific Northwest

February 8, 2017
dancing up the pacific northwest

Being in the States for Christmas and New Years for the first time in a while meant being able to visit family, friends, teachers and studios I know and love along the Pacific Northwest.

After a very relaxing time in Los Angeles, it was time for an adventure to discover something new. This meant travelling (and dancing) for at least one week along the Pacific Northwest coastline from San Francisco all the way to Vancouver by train or bus. Consider this to be your Mini Dance and Fitness Guide to these prominent and inspiring cities. Enjoy!

San Francisco Bay Area, CA

dancing up the pacific northwest

Home to San Francisco Ballet, LINES Ballet, Smuin BalletODC Theater, AXIS Dance Company, Tiny Pistol, and many other beautiful dance companies. The Bay Area also contributes heavily to the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® scene.
As my former stomping ground, this visit included a class at Alonzo King LINES Dance Center with ever evolving Erik Wagner and a catch up with my former Gyrotonic Master Trainer, Debra Rose from SF GYROTONIC®.
Before leaving the Bay Area, I was able to squeeze in a Gyrotonic group class with Trainer Mike Luque from The Working Body in Oakland (whom I wrote an article for his blog but never met). Luque’s new space offers a lot of other types of classes too such as boxing, pilates, yoga and personal training.
What Else to Check Out
Dance Companies
Inside Out Contemporary
Dawson Dance
Liss Fain Dance
LEVY Dance
Robert Moses’ Kin
Gyrotonic & Gyrokinesis Studios
The Seed Center
Marin Gyrotonic

 Portland, OR

dancing up the pacific northwest

Home to the infinitely cool Northwest Dance Project and BodyVox studios. Unfortunately during my January visit, this city was literally iced over, which made it difficult to get around in a short amount of time.
However the beauty of the Coast Starlight sleeper train from Jack London Square, Oakland satisfied my travel appetite with its stunning views and spacious cabins.
I did, however, briefly speak to Emma Kingston, the Gyrotonic Master Trainer and owner of Center Gyrotonic, to discuss the happenings of a future interview with her about the Gyrotonic Method, dance, fitness, and all of that good stuff.
What Else to Check Out
Dance Teacher and Choreographer
Katie Scherman
Gyrotonic / Gyrokinesis / Reformer Pilates
Kinespirit Circle

Seattle, WA

dancing up the pacific northwest

Velocity Dance Center on 12 Ave. Seattle, WA. January 18th, 2017.

This is the quaint (and very rainy) hometown of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Velocity Dance Center, and Cornish College of the Arts. Here, I took a Masterclass with Lavinia Vago from Montreal’s renowned RUBBERBANDance Group.
We moved, danced, and increased our heartbeats continuously for nearly 1.5 hours (in the style of Gaga‘s movement language), then learned some the company’s repertoire. IT WAS AMAZING. Keep an eye on Velocity Dance Centre for future workshops and masterclasses.
What Else to Check Out
Open Dance Class Program at PNB
 Sessions with Magali Messac at Gyrotonic Seattle
Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis and Yoga at Seattle Changing Rooms

Vancouver, B.C.

dancing up the pacific northwest

English Bay Beach. Beginning of the waterfront bicycle path around the Seawall at Stanley Park. January 20th, 2017.

Crossed the border for the last stop and lucked out with a sunny day. However, I had an even shorter time to explore the city, so spend the only full day to explore Vancouver by biking the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the Seawall at Stanley Park.
28km later, this waterfront-only pathway was very fulfilling. I also got to practice photographing this city’s stunning scenery with my new camera. For skiing enthusiasts, this is your city. Vancouver’s known for their local ski resorts, just 20 mins away, also includes night skiing.
What Else to Check Out
Organic Eats
Cafe Medina
Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe and Pie Shop
Dance Companies
Kidd Pivot
Ballet BC
Exercise & Nature
Grouse MountainCypress Mountain, Mount Seymour
Local Day and Nighttime Ski Slopes
Whistler Blackcomb
Larger Ski Resort with Hiking Trails

This jam packed trip opened my eyes to the Dance, Fitness and Gyrotonic world. Taking class and understanding the style and vibe of the city was definitely the highlight of the trip. Looking forward to the next adventure.
dancing up the pacific northwest

Mendocino Bay, Northern California.

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being Interview

WISE WORDS by Norbert De La Cruz III: New York/L.A. Based Dancer, Choreographer & All Around Artist

October 27, 2016
WISE WORDS by dance and choreographer norbert de la cruz III

I present to you a series called WISE WORDS, which will feature short interviews from influential, up and coming and young artists, dancers, and teachers alike.

Let’s all step into the minds of these professionals to not only find inspiration but to get to know them and relate. First up, New York/L.A. based dancer and choreographer, Norbert De la Cruz III on dealing with harsh dance critics, staying fit and happy, and the importance of finding our own true calling.


wise words: norbert de la cruz III

What is your dance training/education background?

Predominantly Ballet and Contemporary Dance. I trained privately in ballet with two coaches from the age 12-17. [I also] attended the L.A. County High School for the Arts and completed my training at The Juilliard School in NYC.

What are you up to now?

I am now a freelance choreographer and teacher based in NYC and L.A. I’m currently working adjunct as a guest choreographer with SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance and the University of Richmond.

Describe the reality of your daily schedule.

The freelance schedule varies. There are times when you are in 3 different cities within a month, or stationed in a place for 2 months as a choreographic teaching guest or working adjunct at a university or college conservatory on top of teaching workshops on the off days. There’s a lot of time off needed as well. I use that time away to develop my material and practice my lesson plans.

I rent out studio space in [New York] to privately develop phrase material that I cannot do in my smaller apartment living space. I spend a few hours sitting and responding to emails and also planning out what the following year could potentially look like.

What have you learned from experience in the ‘real world’ that has helped you grow and find positive change?

I’ve learned that not every audience member is going to like my work. Also, every one is a critic and you never know what mood people enter the theatre in. As a choreographer, I can’t be jaded or affected by the harsh criticism otherwise it drains the life out of me.

My self esteem was at a low when I had gotten a bad review or when I would overhear audience members criticize my work right in front of my face. In a result-driven industry, there’s an intimate process and value of creativity that viewers do not quite see.

They don’t know the labor and service required in the rehearsal space to keep the art alive. I’ve learned to take criticism lightly and to value the feedbacks that help improve the following work.

What really keeps you going?

Food. Good food. As well as my partner who keeps me grounded and sane; my family who cares and loves me unconditionally; and a feel good music playlist.

How important is risk-taking?

Very important. You are only able to experience a great change in your work and self if you take these risks. Whether you risk looking like a fool or take a chance on a particular opportunity, you need to be able to fight and wrestle your internal monsters and go for it.

Otherwise, it’s a wasted time that leads to regrets. There’s enough people and voices in your head that tell you that you aren’t good enough, therefore in order to take risks, we need to drop the ego and recollect what is truly and actually important to our work and well-being.

Who are a few influential people that you’ve worked with and/or met?

As a dancer, I’ve had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Aszure Barton, Dwight Rhoden, and Desmond Richardson. I’ve met and have been mentored by internationally renowned choreographers such as Jorma Elo, and Nicolo Fonte.

WISE WORDS: norbert de la cruz III

What are your ‘go-to’ strategies to keep your mind and body healthy in shape as much as possible?

Along with lunch and dinner, I eat a decently portioned breakfast every morning. Green tea to drink or honey ginger in the morning. Have snacks throughout the day. Food=energy.

As I don’t dance professionally full time anymore, I have to keep up with body conditioning and properly warming up hours before my rehearsals and even before I leave the house.

I would do about an hour to 1.5 hours of yoga, Pilates, trunk stabilization, into a light ballet barre. That’s helped me cope with my arthritic hip pain as well as being able to walk evenly and properly in the street.

Any advice for budding dancers and performing artists alike?

Don’t take anything personally. Drop your ego. Know what healthy competition is. Acknowledge that every one is bred and born into this world very differently. After training as a dancer, it is likely that many of us will have different trajectory paths and callings towards our true profession and purpose.

Be a genuine person first before transforming into “the artist.” Acknowledge that you are still a human being and understand all the consequences, the success, and failures that follow with just being human. Pick yourself up over and over again.

Follow Norbert De La Cruz III and his works:




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

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being

Apply Both Movement and Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

November 23, 2015

Doing one activity is enough, right?

As I’ve been a dancer for most of my life, I usually avoided other strenuous activities such as running.  This may be because Ballet and Contemporary dancers, for instance, are often given time in between exercises and/or combinations to go through movements, stretch and prepare mentally and physically.

However, after taking up running for the first time and eventually doing my first 5K, I finally realized what was missing in my dance training all of these years: some good old fashioned cardio. Does this mean that movement and exercise are different? Here are a few reasons why we need both movement and exercise.

What constitutes as movement?

Movement‘ is seen as any physical activity that contracts the muscles to burn calories and requires more energy than resting. However, the goal of ‘movement’ tasks often focuses on how the muscles work together rather than problem areas. In addition, practicing mindfulness can also play a key role in enhancing body awareness, spatial awareness and movement. Using mindfulness during movement, therefore, allows the body to move more naturally and less static.

Practicing mindful movements can provide:

  • Increased parasympathetic relaxation, which reduces stress
  • Mind-body connection
  • Coordination and control
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved postural alignment

How is exercise different?

Exercise can be categorized into 3 assesets: mode (what type), duration (how long), and intensity (how hard).  Therefore, exercise often contains structure and repetition that is specially planned. There are, however, different types of exercises (and many classes to choose from). Fortunately, combining different exercise types (e.g running and dance training) can have significant positive effects on overall health.

Maintaining an exercise routine is beneficial for:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Focusing on problem areas directly by isolating muscles groups and joints
  • Muscular endurance
  • Weight control
  • Bone strengthening
  • and also, stress reduction

Should we practice both movement and exercise?

Combining cardiovascular exercise and movements that allow mindfulness and body awareness can further increase health benefits, such as mood and efficiency, and can be an effective way to improve technique. This also means continuing to engage in human movements (i.e. walking, stretching), whether you have an exercise routine or not, to break up the potential sedentary lifestyle. This can also serve as time for mental and physical recovery and/or a ‘reboot’.

As a GYROTONIC® Trainer, I often remind my clients to ‘keep moving’. Ridding of rigid, restricting movement is the ultimate the goal of each class (and also outside of class) to focus on the mind and body as a whole to help establish both stability and flexibility. Therefore, after learning the order of an exercise, we must continue find both freedom and control within each movement. This could be considered as a ‘guide’ for one to achieve optimal fitness and artistic levels.

Learn More:

Dance Fitness

Artistry and Technique

Cardio and Strength Training

Benefits of Slow Movement

How Exercise Benefits the Brain

Swimming with the Alexander Technique


Gaga: the movement language


Dance General Fitness and Well–Being the Gyrotonic Method

My Top Fitness and Wellness Websites in 2015

May 7, 2015

Here are my top Health and Fitness websites on the GYROTONIC® Method, Dance Science, Running, & Nutrition

From California to London, check out what these professionals have to offer.

1) Mike Luque Training

Mike Luque is a jack of all trades. Mike has a diverse background ranging from Massage to Gyrotonic to Kettleball training. Therefore this website is able to provide a multitude of information as well as really good facts about the GYROTONIC® method. Other topics include healthy eating, recipes, breathing, and meditation. His website also features an active blog where he and some guest authors (like moi) keep you up to date on the happenings in health and fitness to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

2) International Association of Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS)

From studying Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, I have become promptly familiar with IADMS. Along with their membership and annual meetings, they have just started their own blog! This is exciting (and important) as it brings real-time information for dancers, teachers and educators. Each post is written by a different researcher from the IADMS education committee to enhance the reader’s knowledge of health and well-being in a dance context. One of my favorite posts is The Pelvis: The Meeting Point of the Body written by colleague, Clara Fischer Gam.

3) Runner’s World

As a 5K race newbie, I needed all of the help I could get! Being a dancer for many years, aerobic fitness was always quite challenging. So to make things even more challenging for myself, I signed up to my first 5K (as you do). However, their beginner’s training schedule helped me out the most (along with dog-sitting). This website offers a lot inspiration and information about running that I never knew existed. It also helped me, as a beginner, to just get out there. From essential running gear to ‘survival tips’ this just might be your one-stop shop.

4) Live to 110

Where do I start? This fantastic website has been created by Wendy Myers and it is very in depth. I met Wendy back in Los Angeles at In-Spiraling Movement Arts (where I used to work) a few years back. She first told me about her post on the Infrared Sauna, that she often came in to use. Ever since then I was hooked. The website focuses on detox, nutrition (currently Paleo), dealing with health conditions, and how to pursue longevity. Not to mention her recipes are a downright blessing.

Keep exploring my fellow health and fitness enthusiasts!