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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!

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!

Enjoy!

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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!

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!

How to Stay “Dance Ready” over Summer

How to stay dance ready over summer break

If you’re like most dancers, summer doesn’t only means a break from school but a break from your regular dance schedule as well. While summer intensives help keep you in shape, they don’t last all summer. Go back to school this fall, fit and dance ready. Here’s how!

Summer Intensives

If you have the opportunity, take a summer dance intensive. Often these classes are hyper focused on technique and learning. While some intensives are an audition or invite only, many of your local studios offer summer classes or camps. Search for dance, ballet, or tap intensive in your area to discover various offerings around town.

Additionally, many studios offer all-day workshops or master classes. These workshops are a fantastic way to try out a new style of dance. In fact, DanceWear Corner will be hosting a Master Class in August. Click here to learn more and register.

College Classes

In addition to the summer intensives, high school aged dancers can stay dance ready by enrolling in a summer course at their local college. Many schools allow dual enrollment. With summer classes and time limitations, these are often more intense yet a rewarding way to learn from experienced dancers.

 

Daily Fitness

Even if you’re not in class, a daily fitness routine is a great way to cross train while giving your body a break from dance. Find a workout buddy and schedule time to challenge your muscles. Get a combination of cardio, strength, alignment, and stretching. If you prefer a gym, see if a local fitness center has summer rates or programs. If the gym isn’t the right place for you, check out some of the amazing streaming services the internet has to offer. Check out Daily Burn’s Barre Class, for something different but familiar.

 

Check out the I-Flex Stretch Unit for at home stretching and increasing flexibility.

I-Flex Dance Stretch Unit

 

Relax and Have Fun!

There’s a reason we have summer breaks, to relax and have fun. Make sure you give your mind a mental rest so you can return to class in the fall recharged and ready. And most importantly take time for your muscles to recover.  If you just finished your Spring performances, you were likely dancing a lot, and your body needs this time to recover.  And once your summer dance programs are done, put your feet up! You earned it.

And if you need a new extra dose of sunshine and palm trees, come on down to Orlando and visit us!

 

What are your favorite ways to stay “Dance Ready” over the summer? Share with us on social media!

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