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Dancer Tips & Advice

How To Apply What You Learned This Summer, All Year Long

Sad news: Summer is over.  Many of you spent the whole summer dancing all day, improving your technique, and getting in fantastic shape.  So now that it’s over, how do you maintain all that hard work?   Here are a few tips:

 

 1. Take the time to review your corrections.

In an earlier post we mentioned how beneficial it is to keep a notebook full of corrections.  If you started one over the summer, take some time a few times a week to go back through those corrections to remind yourself of what you learned this summer.  And the journaling doesn’t need to stop now that homework is back!  If you are looking for a break from your homework, treat yourself to a little journaling to keep track of new corrections.  Take this opportunity to draw parallels between what your teachers over the summer told you, and your home studio teachers are telling you.  It’s likely that they are saying some of the same things, but just in different ways.

 

2.  Apply corrections

After reviewing these corrections, take it upon yourself to apply.  Just because your teacher isn’t giving you a specific correction, doesn’t mean that you can’t take that chance to apply corrections that you have heard in the past.  When you are onstage, your teacher won’t be there to correct you: it’s all on you at that point.  So start in the studio.  The more you think about these elements initially, the sooner it becomes second nature in your body, and it becomes your new normal.

 

3. Battle your bad habits

Chances are you were alerted to a few bad habits this summer.  Well now is your chance to take all year to correct them.  Remind yourself that bad habits are really engrained in your body, so it will take some time to create a new normal for yourself. It is really important to be patient with yourself and your body.  It will all come with time, but the first step is acknowledging the issue and keeping it at the forefront of your mind constantly.  Little by little you will see a change, and you will create a new habit for yourself.

 

4. Cross training

When you dance all day long, your muscles get stronger and your stamina increases.  You don’t have to lose this during the school year, you just have to maintain it now that your schedule includes more sitting in school than dancing.  Creating a short cross training program for yourself to do each day is a great step to keeping your summer muscles strong.  Need some inspiration?  Give this quick workout a try.

 

5. Get to class early

If you have some time, get to class a little early to get your cross training program out of the way first thing.  At the end of your long day, you won’t want to do any extra exercises.  So make it easy on yourself, and get your cross training in before you start.  This will also give you the added benefit of getting all of your muscles functioning and firing before you do your first step.

 

Stay tuned for more workout videos coming soon!  Next week we have an ab series all prepared for you!

How to Choose a Dance Studio

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Whether you’ve been dancing for years, just beginning or thinking about signing your child up for dance, choosing a dance studio that’s right for you can be a bit intimidating. Doing a simple Google search for dance studios in your area will introduce you to several studios in your hometown, not to mention dozens more within driving distance. But how do you decide what is right for you? Before you select a studio, take these factors into consideration.

For the Tiny Dancers

If you have a little one just starting out, look for a class that encompasses multiple elements of dance, such as tap and ballet. This provides your budding dancer with a good foundation to help determine not just if they love dance, but what type of dance they love. Meet with teachers to get a good understanding of their experience with dance and children.

Competition, Pre-Professional or Recreational?

If you or your child are just starting out, a recreational school may be the right fit for you. Recreational schools still focus on technique and form, however, they are not as likely to enter into dance competitions. Classes offered may be less or shorter, since the primary goal here is to learn and have fun.

Competition schools, however, will accelerate your or your child’s training as synchronized and intense training is the goal. Keep in mind, competitions come with added costs of costumes, entry fees and travel.

Pre-professional schools are designed to prepare the dancer to enter university dance programs, as well as the professional world of dance upon graduation. Class attendance in pre-professional is usually by audition only. Pre-professional schools often require a more extensive time commitment.

Reputation

Sometimes, it is all about who you know, or who knows you. If you’ve chosen to go competition or pre-professional, check into the studio’s accreditations. Some studios are non-profit, have endowments, and participate in certain competitions. Find out if your goals and beliefs align with these organizations. Ask other parents or friends who are involved in the dance community. Even visiting a dancewear store, like DanceWear Corner, where you can ask about studios in the area, may help.

 

Drop In Classes

Many studios allow you to take a drop in class before registering, while others may offer introductory classes at the beginning of the year. This can give you a feel for the teachers, the space, allow you to talk to other students or parents, and see how the school functions.

 

Go with Your Gut

Trust your instincts. If a studio or teacher is not right for you, it’s okay to change class or studio mid-way through the year. Before you do, however, talk to your teacher to determine why it doesn’t feel right.

 

What are your thoughts? How have you decided to choose the dance studio you attend? Leave us a comment here or on social media.

How Master Classes Benefit Your Dance Education

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During the school year there is so much to focus on: homework, grades, tests, friends, and extra-curricular activities.  That is why the summer is always a perfect time to really set everything else aside and focus on your dance education.  Whether it’s through summer intensives, camps, conventions, or competitions, being able to simply focus on your passion is a great feeling.

But how can you get that feeling back during the school year?  Well, it is often easy to settle into a pattern during the school year, with the same teachers and taking class with the same dancers.  Just like with summer dance programs, it’s really important to continue to take yourself out of your comfort zone with new teachers and surrounding yourself with different talent.  So we suggest you stay on the lookout for master classes in your area to help switch it up.  Here’s why:

Your teachers have so much to offer you, but sometimes you feel like you always hear them say the same thing over and over.  By seeking out master classes, you are exposed to teachers with different backgrounds, different training, and different career paths.  This means that they can offer you something new and different to compliment your current dance training.  Likely, you may hear master class teachers repeat something your teachers tell you every day at your studio.  Sometimes hearing the same information from another source, and in a slightly different way, can really make a concept hit home.  This can solidify the importance of the correction, and reminds you that your teachers aren’t just making things up!

Surrounding yourself by different dancers is essential.  Master classes bring together the most dedicated and hard working dancers in a given area many of whom you don’t dance with every day.  Though you may be top dog at your studio, it’s always good to remind yourself who else is out there.  There are good dancers every where you look and allowing yourself to be exposed to them, learn from them, and be inspired by them, offers you a new perspective on your dancing.

So as the new school year starts and you feel summer program withdrawals, remember that there are a lot of opportunities out there for master classes and special events to benefit your dance education.


Come celebrate the end of the summer with us at DanceWear Corner in Orlando, where we will be hosting a series of master classes with Miami City Ballet Dancer Rebecca King Ferraro and former Miami City Ballet dancer Michael Sean Breeden, the hosts of the Conversations on Dance podcast.  Come and get a new perspective on ballet technique as Ms. Ferraro and Mr. Breeden teach a Balanchine inspired classes for two levels.  For more information and to reserve your spot, visit our website.

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Images by Alexis Ziemski

5 Tips to Get You Through the Rest of Your Dance Summer Intensive

Most of you are probably nearing the end of your summer dance program, and we would venture to guess that you may be starting to feel a little worn down.  But these final weeks are still so crucial! Now it’s time to put what you have learned to work and continue to build on your new knowledge.  It is especially important to take care of your body, since it is your instrument.  Here are five practices that will nourish your “instrument” and help to prevent injury so that you can get the most out of these last few weeks.

1. Rest

This one may seem fairly obvious, but with the excitement of summer camps, dancers often find themselves staying up later than they normally would, and missing out on important sleep.  Well, if you can’t seem to adjust your sleep schedule, take advantage of a break in your schedule to snag a cat nap.  Even 20 mins of shut eye will benefit your body and make you feel more alert.  So, grab your favorite warm ups and a quiet corner to catch some Z’s.

2. Refuel

When you are dancing all day long, 3 meals a day just won’t cut it.  Your muscles are constantly burning fuel, and you need to make sure you are giving them what they need.  During the day, especially the afternoon, grab a protein bar that is full of carbs and protein.  Yes carbs! You need those carbs for a quick burst of energy.

Most importantly, at the end of the day, don’t wait hours until dinner to refuel.  Within 20 minutes of finishing your last class, refuel with some protein.  It doesn’t have to be much, but that 20 minute window is when your body is trying to recover.  Immediately ingesting protein will help your muscles recharge and get ready for the next day.

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3. Rehydrate

Make sure you are constantly filling your favorite water bottle up all day long!  Set a goal for yourself and try to stick to it.  Again, your body is constantly working, and you are sweating all day.  Make sure you replenish what you lost by rehydrating with electrolytes.  Try to grab a Gatorade or Smart Water throughout the day to put back what you are taking away.  Another good tip post workout is to grab a snack that is a little salty.  After all, salt is a main ingredient in electrolyte products.

4. Roll Out

Grab that foam roller that you see in the studio, and spend some quality time with it.  Spend some time on those thighs, hamstrings, back, calves, etc.  This is the best way to release tension in your muscles, allowing them to work more effectively. If your muscles get too tight, they may start to shut off causing other muscles to compensate.  So, keep your muscles working in harmony by rolling out at the end of the day.


5. Rejuvenate

Give those muscles the TLC they want by taking the time to ice aches and pains at the end of the day.  Healing can’t happen when swelling is present, so it’s extra important to take good care of those trouble spots.  With a busy schedule it may often feel hard to find time for a good icing session, but when your body is feeling fatigued, it is most important.  So take some time at night, while you are in bed checking your social media before bed, to rejuvenate!

 

All of us at DanceWear Corner hope that you are having a great summer full of dance!  Take a moment to let us know what you are up to!  Leave a comment and photo below for a chance to be featured on our social media!

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