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Health & Fitness

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!

The Injured Dancer: From The Beginning

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Injuries in dance are just as common as tutus: not an everyday occurrence, but they always show up from time to time.  You may not be expecting it, but there it is.  Welcome to DanceWear Corner’s newest series on prevention, treatment, and tips: “The Injured Dancer,” with Miami City Ballet Dancer, Rebecca King Ferraro.

Last week I introduced myself and since then I have been getting some questions via social media about what exactly happened when I injured myself.  I thought I would share a little bit about the beginning of my injury journey.

This all began in an evening rehearsal in April of 2015.  I was rehearsing for Miami City Ballet’s final series of performances for the season, when I went to complete a step I had done hundreds of times, while being partnered by two boys.  I was doing a slide across the floor, when my pointe shoe got stuck on the marley floor, and I jammed my foot.

That moment, right after something goes wrong, is an absolute moment of panic.  But the thoughts that are running through dancers’ heads are not those you may think.  It’s not a panic about what happened it’s more a panic about what does this mean for my career?  This career is fickle and can end in the blink of an eye: in a moment just like the one I had.

The next day I went in for X-rays and nothing was broken.  They put me into a cast for a few days until I could get more imaging done.  My MRI showed a whole host of issues: torn tendons, torn ligaments, bone bruises, etc.  It was clear that I had done some significant damage.

The golden lining was that the timing of my injury wasn’t too terrible.  In two weeks the company would be embarking on a 6 week break, which was quite a relief.  The worst part about being injured as a dancer is missing out on being able to dance, so I was relieved to know that I could start my healing process during a time I wasn’t set to be dancing.

So off I went down a long road of physical therapy, injections, exercises, anti-inflammatories, and much more.  I was determined to heal and to get back to dancing, but as I would soon find, there was so much in store for me during this experience than I could ever have ever expected.

As I sit here, over 2 years later, I am in a boot and on crutches: 7 weeks post-op.  Life rarely goes the way you expect it to, but it’s all about making the most of the journey.  So in the next few weeks I will be taking you through my journey, sharing what I have learned and answering any questions that you may have.  Stay tuned to DanceWear Corner’s social media for more!

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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