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Injury Recovery for Dancers: Hip Strengthening

Today I wanted to share with you some of my workout routine that I have been working on, Injury Recovery for Dancers: Hip Strengthening, injury recovery for dancer, injury, dance injury, ankle injury, dance workout, fitness and health, dance fitness, workout video, vimeo, dancewear corner, dancewear corner video, dance wear, body wrappers, active wear, workout clothes, miami city ballet dancer, rebecca king ferraro, conversations on dance, podcast,

The “Injured Dancer” is back! I’m Miami City Ballet dancer Rebecca King Ferraro, and as I have been posting on the DanceWear Corner blog for the past few months, I am recovering from ankle surgery.  Today I wanted to share with you some of my workout routine that I have been working on, “Injury Recovery for Dancers: Hip Strengthening.”  When you are unable to walk, it can make exercising a real challenge, so you need to get creative!  This series of exercises is great if you are injured, deal with chronic ankle or knee pain, or want a quick and simple warm up.

If you deal with ankle and knee issues on a regular basis, hip strength is essential to help protect your lower leg.  Your hip muscles are among the largest in your body, so keeping them strong is very beneficial to all dancers.  Over my career I have dealt with numerous injuries and spent many hours in physical therapy.  I am not a physical therapist or a health professional, but these exercises have been given to me over the years to aid in my recoveries, so I would like to share them with you today!

Check out the video below where I demonstrate my hip series, then check out the detailed instructions below.  The most important tip is to keep your abs engaged the entire time so that your upper body does not move with your legs.  With the video in fast motion, you can see my upper body moving, so I obviously have more work to do!


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Injury Recovery for Dancers: Hip Strengthening from DWC Media on Vimeo.


Injury Recovery for Dancers: Hip Strengthening

1. 10 leg lifts

Lie on your side with your legs slightly in front of your body, being sure to support your abs.  Your trunk should not be touching in the floor: you should have a gap between your abs and the floor.  Keeping your hips stacked on top of each other, lift your working leg straight to the ceiling ten times.

2. Repeat front

Maintaining the same alignment, bring the working leg straight front, ten times.  Try not to move your upper body.  Everything should stay completely stable.

3. Repeat back

Again, maintaining the same upper body alignment, move the leg straight back.  Be careful not to allow the top hip to roll forward.

4. 10 circles to the front

While still on your side, bring the working leg front, circle up and around to the side, then around to the back.  Finish the circle by bringing the working leg back on top of supporting leg.  Keeping that upper body quiet (no movement), repeat 10 times.

5. Reverse 

Reverse the circles starting back.

6. 10 clam shells

Bend both knees.  Keeping the heels together, bring the top knee up as far as possible to the ceiling while maintaining the hips stacked on top of each other.  Repeat 10 times.

7. 10 knee touch, heel touch

Reverse the clam shell by touching the knees and lifting the heels apart.  Then place heels together and knee lifts.  Repeat 10 times.

8. 10 push heel to the ceiling

Transfer onto your hands and knees.  Using the same working leg as before, lift heel to the ceiling, with leg at a right angle and the thigh bone parallel to ground.  Extend the leg slightly as you push the heel straight to the ceiling.  It is important to maintain a neutral spine and not extend into a swayed back.  Keep the leg completely parallel while pushing up. You may not move the heel very much, which is fine, and long as you feel the back of your hips and your hamstring working.

9. 10 knee to the side

Back on hands and knees, lift working leg to the side, so that the knee is pointing directly side from the hip and the thigh bone is parallel to the ground.  Careful to maintain that neutral spine, and looking straight down at the mat, repeat 10 times.

10. 10 straight leg lifts

Straighten working leg and place toes on the floor directly to the side of your hips.  Lift the toe off the ground no higher than hip height, 10 times.  Continue to maintain the neutral spine, even as you start to fatigue those hip muscles.

11. 10 outward leg circles

Transfer to laying on your back and with a straight knee, bring the same working leg straight up to the ceiling directly in front of your hips.  Your leg should be at a 90 degree angle with your body.  Create small circles with your toes by starting outward.  Bring your toes straight side, down, crossed, then back to neutral.  Fire those abs and maintain a quiet upper body.

*Important! The size of your circles should be as big as you can without moving your upper body or releasing your back from the ground.  Start small first. *

12. 10 reverse the circles

Reverse the circle by bringing the toe across your body first, then down, side and back to starting position.

13. Do it all on the other side!!!

Repeating on the other side is essential!  Balance is so important within our bodies and we must maintain that through exercises.  Take note if any movements seem easier or harder on one side than the other.


Any questions?  Let us know!  Leave a comment and we will get back to you.  Hope you give this a try and you feel the burn!

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.


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.

Ballerina Michaela DePrince on NBC News

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Dance has such a huge impact on the world, which is why we love this interview with ballerina Michaela DePrince on NBC News.  Michaela went from a war orphan to soloist with the Dutch National Ballet.  Watch the segment here:

Dancer Spotlight: Angelina Broad, Halfway Through A Summer Intensive

Angelina Broad, Halfway Through A Summer Intensive, dancewear corner, dwc, summer program, summer intensive, barre, ballet, ballet dancers, houston ballet academy, houston ballet, angelina broad, angelina ballerina, dance wear,

Most dancers across the country are about halfway through their summer dance programs, and today we follow up with our summer intensive correspondent, Angelina Broad.  Angelina is a student at Orlando Ballet School and is currently at the Houston Ballet Academy Summer Intensive. We caught up with Angelina to hear all about how her summer at Houston Ballet Academy is going.



DanceWear Corner:  How are you enjoying your time at Houston Ballet Academy this summer?

Angelina Broad: I am loving it so much!!  At first it was hard to adjust because I felt very challenged and overwhelmed, but now every morning when I get up I can’t wait to head into those beautiful studios with such inspiring people and work hard all day!!

DWC: You mentioned when we last spoke that you were looking forward to focusing on the small details of your dancing while in Houston. Do you feel like you have been able to do that so far?

AB:  Yes I definitely feel I have been able to.  Sometimes the classes get difficult and hard to keep up with, but you just have to remember your foundation and build from there because we are all here to improve. While the teachers seem to really reinforce the technique aspect, there is also certainly a focus on the artistic side.  They explain how articulating and using the details of your body and movement, can say so much and tell a story.

DWC:  What has surprised you the most about what you are learning in Houston?

AB:  What has surprised me the most is all the opportunities they give us. There are 6 performances at the end of the summer and we are doing Stanton Welch’s “Waltz of the Flowers.” I am also choreographing a piece for AFA which is a collaborative program with Houston Ballet and student composers. I have had so much fun during the choreography process and have learned so much! I have learned how to choreograph on other people and how to play the role as the teacher because I have to run the rehearsals. We got to design our costumes and lighting.  It’s just so fun to be able to experience this and to feel the role of being a choreographer/teacher has made me grow so much in so many ways.

DWC:  Have you gone on any particularly fun excursions while visiting the city?

AB:  Yes, I have gone on plenty of fun excursions already. I went to The Galleria which is such an amazing mall here and I will be going again this weekend because there just wasn’t enough time the first time! I went to Splashtown for the 4th of July holiday, which was super fun because it was my first water park and I was finally able to get some time in the sun. We have also been on plenty little mini activities during the week such as the pool, chocolate bar, water wall, movies, and new grocery stores I have never heard of.

DWC:   What has been your favorite piece of DWC dance wear that you have been flaunting over the past few weeks?

AB:  Well, I have been wearing my leotards from DWC all the time since I am mostly in dance clothes all day. Other than that, I really like wearing my DWC t-shirt as well, because I can wear it with anything.  I just got a surprise package from DWC today with a new shirt they sent me and I absolutely love it!


Follow the rest of Angelina’s journey through as she is documenting her time for DWC fans through our Snap Chat and Instagram!


Share your summer intensive experience with us!!!  Post a photo of you at your summer dance program on Instagram or Facebook and tag #dancewearcorner for a chance to be featured on our social media!  We can’t wait to hear all about your summer!

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