Thursday, May 14, 2015

Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Cell Phone or Camera at Home during your child’s dance recital (and maybe all the time)

10. Because it’s good theater etiquette anywhere in the world.
9. Because if you are taking pictures or videos of your child dancing, you’re not actually watching them dance.  
8. Because those glowing screens are annoying to the people sitting around you.
7. Because you would hate to have to tell your kid “sorry honey, it was MY phone that rang in the middle of your dance.”
6. Because your flash might accidentally go off and you don’t want to have to tell your child “ sorry honey, MY flash went off just as you were doing those complicated fouettes…and then you fell.”
5. Because we hired a professional to video the show so you don’t have to, and her videos are much better than those glowing white blobs or blurry pixilated images you get on a cell phone or a camera in a dark theater. If you’re lucky enough to have a professional camera, well then you should know better.
4. Because we will be collecting phones and cameras that are being used in the audience and auctioning them off to the highest bidder at the end of the show as a fundraiser for our scholarship program (just kidding, but…it’s a thought).
3. Because the person sitting behind you may actually want to watch the SHOW not your glowing screen illuminating the 3 rows behind you.
2. Because all those glowing screens and blinking red lights and clicking shutters are a distraction to the dancers. Yes, they can actually see and hear all of that. And it’s distracting, and frustrating for them to know that you aren’t watching, but recording.
1. Your kids. They’ve worked hard for this all year long and they want you to watch them, appreciate them and honor their commitment to their art. They would love your undivided attention and really shouldn’t have to fight with your mobile device or camera for your attention. And the person sitting next to you, their kids would also like your undivided attention.

So please, sit back, relax, and enjoy the performance in the here and now, in the present moment. This beautiful, magical moment will never happen again and you wouldn’t want to miss it, staring at your camera or phone screen. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ballet and Chemistry

Ballet and science hand-in-hand! A few of the many many ways that ballet has benefitted from advances in modern chemistry:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ballet and Science?

Are they two completely opposing ideas? Dancers seem to defy the laws of physics every day. However, dance teachers know that ballet and physics go hand in hand. Here is a little presentation on the physics of ballet.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Had some time off of ballet? How to make those first days back a little less painful and frustrating

Summer vacation has ended and it's back to school. After several weeks off of ballet, it's also the first day back to class. Maybe you took the whole summer off, maybe it's only been a few weeks since you came home from that intense summer dance program. Every year I see my young students ecstatic about returning to ballet only to struggle with the frustration of getting their body back to where it was before the break. No mater how much time, if you've had some time off here are some things to help make those first few days back in the studio less painful and less frustrating.

1. Be patient with yourself. Don't expect the first day back to be exactly like the last day you danced. This is especially necessary if you've had a long span of time off (over 2 weeks). Ease into things. More injuries happen in that first week of coming back because we expect our body to bounce right back to where it was. Allow your body and your brain some time to get back into sync.

2. Focus on your technique. Remember that your turn out comes from your hips, not your feet. Forcing your feet into your best turn out right away can cause knee pain if the rotator muscles have gotten weak. If you experience that ache in the knees, back off out of your turn out and make sure you are holding with your rotators and not gripping with your thighs and feet. If it has been a very long break, work in first position for the first few classes before building back up to 5th.

3. Go back to the basics. For a day or two or more, allow yourself to practice one pirouette or even just balancing. Feel the position of passe, check the hip alignment, make sure the passe foot isn't "parked" or resting on the knee, but is driving up from underneath and held. You might feel that deep pinching sensation in the seat letting you know the gluteus medius is working. You might feel the pinch of the hip flexors letting you know the glut mede is not working. Lower the leg, find the place where the hip flexor in front is not straining and the gluteus in back are doing their job.

4. Be prepared for dramatic shifts. Many times the first class back is sensational and the next class we completely fall apart. We feel like we slide down into a hole that we have to claw our way out of. Do not despair! This is a normal part of athletic achievement. Allow yourself to have a few weeks of ups and downs before settling into your normal rhythm of progress. (Even THEN be prepared for those ups and downs!)

5. You will be sore! And soreness is not always a bad thing. It's always good to ease into your stretches, rather than pushing or working into them. Relaxing into your stretches can help prevent injury and sore muscles. Consider cross training with yoga, Gyrotonic or Pilates. Drink plenty of water to help flush the lactic acid out of the system, take an ice bath (marathon runners swear by these after a race), make sure you are eating healthily with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and limit soda intake. Get plenty of sleep. Enjoy the sensation of sore muscles knowing they are getting stronger and more flexible, but be sure to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don't ignore pain, but learn to listen and differentiate between the soreness of hard work and the pain of potential injury.

6. Work on your core strength. Core strength is the foundation of our strength whether we are dancers or not. Doing some extra exercises for your core can really help speed up the "getting back in shape" period. Having a weak core can lead to all kinds of injuries from pulled muscles to fractures in the spine. There are many different exercises from simple isometrics using the gravity and the body's own weight to Pilates exercises using machines to fit ball exercises and many more. I'll put together a few for the next post.

What other things do you do to help get back in shape and avoid the pitfalls of frustration and injury?