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A Dancers Guide to Stage Make-up

As a dancer, you use your entire body to tell a story and convey emotion to your audience. That includes your facial expressions and stage presence.

When you’re up on the stage with the bright lights shining on you and the audience so far away, it’s easy for a dancer’s face to get a bit washed out—making it easy for subtle changes and expressions to get lost.

Stage make-up is an integral part of every dancer’s costume. However, stage make-up is a bit different from everyday make-up. It’s heavier and more defined. It can feel a little overwhelming for beginners and their parents. Here is a stage-makeup guide to help you understand make-up, its application, and some essential tips to help start building your make-up kit.

The history of stage make-up.

To understand stage make-up and its importance, it’s essential to know its history. Studies show that performers sought to express themselves through drama and dance for thousands of years, and the accompanying make-up is a development of this art.

According to Love to Know, the earliest known use of theatrical make-up was by the Greek actor Thespis, who, to stand out from the Greek chorus, painted a toxic covering of white lead and mercuric sulfide to create a white and red face paint. The use of make-up for theatre appears to have become more common in the 1500s and 1600s. In the 1500s, performers in medieval religious cycle dramas utilized face paint to depict certain characters.

Stage make-up kit must-haves.

When building your stage make-up kit, there are many factors you must consider: the scenes you are in, the lighting, the costumes you will be wearing, and of course, the role you are playing!

Here are some of the top must-have items you should always keep in your kit:

1. Moisturizing serum.

It is crucial to have a clean and thoroughly moisturized face before applying stage make-up. Before starting any make-up application, using skin moisturizer will help protect your skin and help the make-up last longer.

Stage make-up can be heavy and drying, so a quality serum will help combat a cakey look. Be sure to apply it over your entire face and neck and use a colorless balm on the lips.

2. Primer. 

In addition to moisturizer, a good primer creates a smooth base for the foundation. It will ensure that the make-up remains in place for as long as possible.

3. Foundation.

Foundation is crucial to providing overall coverage that creates an even, clear base under the harsh glare of stage lights. Be sure to pick a liquid foundation that matches your skin tone or is just slightly darker.

You don’t want to go lighter because the bright lights will make it look even lighter than it is.

4. Concealer.

The world of concealer can be a little confusing. Keep these tips in mind to make it easier.

You’ll need a concealer for under your eyes and any spots that require additional coverage. But often left unsaid is the undertone or “color corrector” that goes with the concealer. Yellow undertones conceal purple shadows like dark circles under the eye; use an orange undertone corrector for darker skin.

Are pimples or acne an issue? Before concealing, use a green undertone or color corrector to eliminate redness and purple/pink undertones to reduce yellow patches. Having a small item like this in your stage make-up kit can make a massive difference in applying everything else!

[Click here for some other dancer essentials!]

5. Contour palette.

A contour palette is vital for enhancing the facial structure and providing subtle facial definitions. Contouring is a critical part of applying stage make-up, as it ensures that the concealer and foundation don’t leave your face looking flat and one-dimensional under the lights.

6. Setting sprays and powders.

You’ll need powder to set the make-up from any “wetness” or oils. Plus, it needs to stay through hours of performing. Investing in a translucent powder will do wonders for setting the make-up, keeping it from transferring, and building additional products on top of it.

A setting spray will help take away that dry look and make everything look dewier.

7. Other tool kit essentials. 

  • Eye shadow palette
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Eyeliner – pencil or gel
  • Mascara
  • Lip liner
  • Lipstick
  • Blotting papers
  • Quality application tools like brushes and sponges.

Now that you know about the must-have products for a great “starter” stage make-up kit, you can feel confident and ready for your next performance! Expanding your kit with more products can come later.

The best way to expand your kit will be by utilizing each experience. Learn from every competition practice or performance what works best for you, what you can’t live without, and what leaves you feeling… meh. When you feel confident and prepared, your ability will shine on the stage through your make-up and your talent!

Preparedness is essential to us here at EDC and something we instill in our dancers to ensure they are thriving inside the dance studio and out. So, make sure your dancer has everything they need to be safe, comfortable, and successful this upcoming dance season!

6 Critical Skills Gained from Dance

Dance teaches you more than how to plié, pirouette, or do a front walkover.

In addition to improving flexibility, building strength, and increasing balance, it can improve things outside of the studio as well.

The qualities you take on as a dancer don’t just help you on the stage. From self-confidence to spatial awareness, here are six critical skills you gain from dance that may help you succeed at everything you do.

Increased strength and health.

Dancing is exercise, so, naturally, it will assist in strengthening your bones and muscles. As your strength increases, you will have more energy to continue dancing.

Your increased level of physical activity and exercise can help prevent illnesses.

Boosts memory.

When you exercise, the levels of chemicals in your brain that encourage nerve cells to grow are increased. Since dancing requires you to remember various steps and sequences, your brainpower is boosted, which helps to improve your memory.

[Need some tips for improving your choreography memory? Click here!]

Improve flexibility.

Stretching before and after dance is essential to getting the most out of your movements and avoiding injury. As you continue dancing, you will stretch more consistently and will notice how each stretch will become easier.

As the stretches become more manageable, you will be able to go farther into each stretch, creating longer lines as you permanently lengthen your muscles and become more and more flexible. With this increased flexibility, you will notice you have a broader range of motion, and your dancing will become much easier.

Better balance.

To execute each move and sequence correctly, you will need to maintain a strong center of gravity.

As you learn each movement and begin to gain increased flexibility and strength, your posture, balance, and spatial awareness will naturally start to improve, making each step more accessible for you to complete.

Increases social skills & confidence.

Everybody enjoys meeting new people and dancing provides a fun environment to meet people who have the same interest as you- they want to dance! This type of environment is perfect to either utilize your social skills if you are outgoing or to help strengthen your social skills if you have a quiet personality.

Dancing is a great way to meet new friends and improves your social outlook while in an atmosphere where you can feel safe and comfortable.

Enhanced spatial awareness.

The more you dance, you will discover that you become more aware of your center of gravity. Your posture will improve, and you’ll become more physically confident and more graceful.

All of this combines to help you improve your spatial awareness, so it’s less likely that you’ll run into other people, trip over small bumps, or even bump into corners.

If you think dance classes are suitable for you or your child, keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your time in class.

If you’d like to learn to dance and you’re in the Wilmington, NC area, please get in touch with our expert staff at Evolution Dance Complex. We’d love to share the joy of dance with you!

7 Tips for Improving your Choreography Memory 

From very early on, dancers are taught the importance of being able to learn choreography.

Learning the choreography is just as critical as building proper technique. Your ability to learn and remember will be crucial to your ability to dance.

Here are seven tips to help boost your memory and be able to learn and retaining choreography.

Recognize the patterns.

Dances and movements often have segments that appear in many moves or patterns that repeat. Once you recognize these, you can use them as helpful shortcuts and memory aids.

Seeing these patterns also means if something doesn’t fit the usual template, it will really stand out, making it easier to remember.

Find a dance buddy.

The first resource you should always use when learning and reviewing choreography is a fellow dancer.

They might not know exactly what your steps or spots are, but they can at least help you fill in the memory blanks you might be having. Reviewing together can help both of you understand and retain the choreography.

Mark your movement.

“Marking” is when you simulate movements with partial gestures. It’s a quick, easy way to mentally review, allowing you to get in some practice and repetition without having to do moves full out. You can do this while sitting or lying by just making micro-movements with your hands or feet, filling in the rest with your imagination.

[Hunger decreases your ability to focus during class. Check out this dancer’s snack list to avoid distracting hunger while learning choreography.]

Grab a notebook.

Write down your steps after learning new choreography. Always have a notebook in your dance bag with you. Spend time after class or rehearsal writing down steps, corrections, and notes. You can reference your notebook any time, and the notes will come in handy when you revisit.

Absorb the music.

Ask the choreographer for a copy of the music. Listen to the music and visualize the choreography. Listen to the music on your commute while you’re making dinner or at the gym.

Review before bed.

Recent studies show that the best time to study information is before going to sleep. As you sleep, your short-term memory (events or information that you processed during that day) converts into your long-term memory (memories that stay with you longer than a few days).

By reviewing right before bed, the choreography is more likely to convert to your long-term memory, which means you’ll remember it better!

Create muscle memory.

The best way to learn and remember is through repetition. If you do something repeatedly, then your body will start to do it on autopilot. So, drill a section of choreography 50 times if you need to. The more you do it, the more you will imprint the move into your muscles and brain.

Learning to memorize choreography will naturally get easier with experience. But if you want a quicker and more fool-proof way to remember choreography, put these seven tips to practice. Try them at your next Evolution Dance class.

For more dance tips and essential class information, be sure to follow our informative blog and on social media.

 

6 Tips for Improving Your Dance Jumps

While jumping is essential for many athletes, dancers are among the select few that make it look graceful.

Adding gracefulness and increasing the heights of your jumps isn’t something that just comes naturally. These things are earned during late-night practices, early morning lessons, and countless hours of warm-ups. Dancers are constantly striving to achieve the look of effortlessness in their jumps; however, it can only be taught and maintained through countless hours of practice.

Luckily jumps are one of those things that we can always work to improve. Keep reading for six tips for improving your dance jumps.

Stretch properly.

Like any rigorous physical activity, start with warm-ups and stretches. Stretch every day to make sure your leg muscles are ready for the intensive work to follow. The second stage of your stretching action is stretching for a split. What you would do mid-air one day, try and work on it while you are on the ground.

Flexibility is crucial, but there is more to it. You need strength and lots of control, too. Good core strength and alignment are critical.

In addition to stretching and warming up the muscles, it is important that you do not overstretch before jumping and leaping. You want to stretch just enough to get the blood circulating through the muscles. We like to add strengthening exercises to our warm-up to help wake the body up and then re-stretch at the end of a class. Deep stretching is most productive when done at the end of a rigorous dance class.

Visualize.

While stretching, envision how you want your leaps to look. Having a mental picture of your jump will allow you to calibrate the energy you need to execute it.

Believe it or not, positive imagery and positive self-talk do wonders for performance. Find a relaxing place and close your eyes. Envision yourself leaping through the air—concentrate on your take-off, arm and leg position, and of course, the landing.

Videotape yourself.

Use today’s modern technology to your advantage! Dancers can benefit significantly from things such as slow-motion videos. Before you start working on increasing the height of your jumps, take time to videotape yourself.

When going over the video, focus on your take-off and the position of your torso. Once reviewing the video, determine the part of the leap you would like to focus your energy on.

Involve your whole body.

It is essential to recognize that leaps and jumps require more than just leg strength. While leaping, focus on where your eye focus is. Instead of looking straight-forward, slightly angle your head and focus upward. In addition, you must utilize your core. Also, be conscious of your arm position.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your arms straight?
  • Are your shoulders relaxed and pulled down?
  • Is your torso upright?
  • Are your toes pointed?

The more you focus on these things during warm-ups and practices, the more they will become second nature for you during your actual performances.

Focus on a deep plié.

A deep plié is critical for achieving the height you need to execute a leap properly. A plié is simply a deep knee bend and is the last step you take before leaving the ground. The deeper the plié, the more power you will have in your legs to push off.

No matter how many steps you take to prepare for the leap, make sure to bend your knees to obtain as much power as you need to get high into the air and try not to lean forward.

Stick your landing.

A beautiful leap is not complete until it is landed safely. Your goal for the landing will be to hit the floor as softly and quietly as possible. Never come out of a leap with straight knees, as doing so will almost always cause an injury.

You should begin thinking about your landing as soon as your feet leave the ground. Mentally preparing your legs to absorb your weight will really make a tremendous difference.

Whether a dancer wants to deepen a plié, perfect a front walkover, or bring their jumps to new heights, we have all the tools to ensure you reach your goals!

We consistently work with our dancers through conditioning and technique classes to encourage optimal dance success! Contact the dance experts at Evolution Dance Complex today to find out more!

Photo Feature: Mia Snyder (Dancer/Model)

Why Muscle Cramps Happen During Dance and How to Avoid Them

When dance students push themselves too hard, their bodies will sometimes fight back.

Muscle cramps, especially those in the feet, legs, and back, are painful and can be crippling to dancers, so it’s essential to understand muscle cramps and know how to treat them.

What are these cramps?

Muscle cramps or spasms are involuntary contractions of one or more muscles. They often happen without warning and can be caused by a variety of factors.

A sustained muscle spasm, one that lasts longer than a few seconds, is a muscle cramp. Though generally harmless, muscle cramps can temporarily make it impossible to use the affected muscle and cause pain to the area.

However, as any trained dancer knows you’ve got to quickly push through these cramps as the show must go on. Here are some tips to help you stay in those dance shoes and into the studio.

What are the causes?

There are several things that can result in muscle cramps. These can include:

  • Nutrient deficiency – Experiencing muscle cramps indicates that your body lacks magnesium or other important vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, beans, lentils, and bananas are all examples of magnesium-rich foods.
  • Dehydration – Dehydration cramps occur from participating in rigorous physical activities such as dance, resulting in fluid loss from sweating or overexertion. Excessive depletion of bodily fluids, combined with low fluid intake, rids the body of vital electrolytes and water. Healthy muscle tissue requires adequate water, sodium, and more to stay strong and allow for quality muscle contraction.
  • Tight muscles – Tight muscles can result from overexertion, not warming up appropriately, or holding a position for an extended period. When we have tight muscles, there’s a depletion of oxygen to that muscle because of reduced blood flow.
  • Injury – Like tight muscles, injuries decrease the blood flow and oxygen supply leading to muscle cramps.

How can we prevent cramps?

Depending on the cause of the cramp, there are a few solutions you can try to help alleviate the discomfort.

  • Warm-up properly – A guaranteed way to get a muscle cramp is to avoid warming up before your next rehearsal or performance. Often the best way to warm-up is with dynamic and static stretches. This will adequately prepare all your major muscles for the intensity of your dance class by enabling more blood to flow and reduce the chance of a muscle spasm or cramp.
  • Take things slowly – Even after a good warm-up, don’t jump right into an intense dance routine. Make sure you slowly ease into your dancing. When you progress at a respectable pace, your muscles will have the time they need to adjust.
  • Stay hydrated – It is crucial to drink plenty of liquids throughout the day and take regular breaks to hydrate during your dance class. If you have a heavy clinic or intense competition coming up, be sure to focus on hydrating all week long. Keep in mind that sometimes water is not enough. You may need a sports drink to replenish your body and replace lost electrolytes.
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods – Beyond keeping yourself hydrated, it’s also essential to make sure you’re eating the right foods. Dancers must eat a balanced diet overall, but more than that, dancers need foods that are rich in electrolytes. These include bananas, spinach, beans, almonds, coconut, watermelon, and avocado. A diet high in essential vitamins and minerals can help ward off those often debilitating cramps and spasms.
  • Relax – Stretching out a cramp will help release the muscle. Instinctively dancers want to avoid putting weight on a leg or foot that is cramping but taking a walk around the room is one of the best ways to transition the muscle from its contracted position. A self-massage with the hands or a foam roller helps as well.
  • Self-care – Self-care is essential to prevent muscle cramps and ensure your body can perform at its peak capacity. This includes cooling down after dancing, stretching, and rolling out muscles on a foam roller to alleviate tightness. The use of ice or heat packs or a hot Epsom salt bath after a long day can also help. In addition, seeking out expert professional help is another great way to keep your body in peak condition.

As a dancer, muscle cramps and spasms are a part of life and they won’t always have a definitive cause. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep our bodies in top shape to reduce these incidents. A dancer’s body is their instrument, so it’s important to implement these tips so you can avoid anything cramping your style!

Keeping our dancers healthy is extremely important to us at EDC.

For more dance tips and essential class information, be sure to follow our informative blog and on social media

Photo Feature: Addison Kelly (Dancer/Model)

Ten-year-old Addison Kelly avoids muscle cramps with a customized stretching routine, a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and warming up properly.

A Dancer’s Ultimate Snack List Guide

Dancers are artistic athletes who use their bodies to tell a story and express their art through movement.

So, it’s crucial that they keep this essential tool in top shape by eating the right foods. Dance uses up a lot of energy and burns many calories, making what your dancers eat imperative in helping them master their art.

Certain foods give dancers’ bodies the nutrients they need at specific times. These foods help them perform at the highest levels and will help them recover from an intense class or a long day at a competition. Dancers must have the nutrition they need to perform their best, both in class and on stage. Want to make sure your dancer is snacking smart? Keep reading for the dancer’s ultimate snack list.

Hydration is key.

Hydration is just as important as healthy food choices! Dancers need to stay hydrated to help them push through classes or tough competitions and keep their muscles lubricated and bodies flexible. Dancers need to drink plenty of water before, during, and after dancing.

EDC dancer Lexi Deffinbaugh explains more, “The foods I eat are super important for a competition weekend and really for my entire dance week. I start drinking extra water two days before a competition to make sure I am really hydrated. That is a big thing for me. As for snacks and food, I eat a lot of nuts, yogurt, eggs, and fruit. Fruit is my favorite! Most of the time, I eat fruit for dessert instead of sweets. Sometimes sugar hurts my stomach, so I don’t eat a lot of it. My food makes a big difference to me. I can feel it easily if I don’t eat right, and it doesn’t feel good. So, I try hard to eat healthy foods.”

Plenty of water paired with healthy snacks will set dancers up for success!

Timing is everything.

Dancers often know what foods are healthy and best for fueling their busy day, but many struggle with timing, especially with snacks. When a dancer eats can be just as important as what they eat. Going for long periods without fueling properly can affect performance and energy levels and increase a dancer’s susceptibility to injury.

Dancers should keep a few snacks in their dance bag. Being prepared for mid-day classes or a long day of rehearsal is a great way to make sure they are dancing their best and simultaneously taking care of their bodies.

[Want to know what’s in some of the top-performing dancers’ bags? Click here!]

Before class snacks. 

Dancers should never work on an empty stomach, so if snack time falls within 30-60 minutes before dancing, then consider an easily digestible carbohydrate to maintain your physical stamina. These snacks should be lower in fiber. Pretzels and fresh fruit are examples of smaller, easily digestible carbs that won’t leave your dancer feeling sluggish. Some other examples include:

  • Dried or fresh fruit.
  • Applesauce or a fruit smoothie pack.
  • Homemade protein-packed “energy balls.”
  • Apple and peanut butter.
  • A fruit-based snack bar.

During class snacks. 

If your dancer needs a snack in the middle of a long practice, rehearsal, or competition day. Here is a list of low-calorie snacks that are great for your dancers to keep in their dance bag:

  • Mini pretzels.
  • Seedless grapes.
  • Low-fat yogurt.
  • Graham crackers.
  • String cheese.
  • A small amount of microwave popcorn.
  • Red pepper slices with some hummus.
  • Carrots with ranch for dipping.
  • Almonds or peanuts.

If there is little time between school and dance class, for example, getting an energy boost from snacks such as low-fat yogurt, peanut butter, granola bars, fresh fruit, or cheese are simple options. Something is better than nothing!

After class snacks. 

Snacks after class should be rich in protein. Once dancers leave the studio, they need to start to rebuild and replenish muscle. To aid in the recovery process, implement a quality strategy of protein to carbohydrate ratio. The protein will help rebuild the muscle tissue that was damaged while dancing and the carbs replace the energy used during class.

The after-class snack should be timed anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour after class ends. Muscle recovery is significant for dancers who are taking classes multiple days during the week. Here are some snack ideas for dancers to have after class:

  • Peanut butter on a rice cake.
  • A fruit and protein smoothie.
  • Cottage cheese with some whole-grain cereal.
  • A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • An apple and a few sticks of string cheese.

[Need more tips on keeping your dancers’ body in shape? Click here!]

Just like warming up or taking lessons, proper nutrition is key to mastering your craft. Educating our dancers on how nutrition can improve their skills and longevity will set everyone up for success!

Keeping our dancers mentally and physically healthy is extremely important to us at EDC. For more dance tips and essential class information, be sure to follow our informative blog and on social media.

Photo Feature: Lexi Deffinbaugh (Dancer/Model)

With a proper balance of eating well, hydrating often, and conditioning daily, our EDC dance athletes are able to perform above and beyond!

Is dancing in the classroom just like dancing on stage?

All the classroom is a stage, or is it the other way around?

The hours of sweat and tears while training in the studio helps dancers perfect their technical skills and style, while also teaching them valuable skills in preparing for the “real” world. Dancing in the studio and dancing on stage are great ways to prepare yourself for future success, inside the world of dance and beyond.

Keep reading for six ways that being on stage prepares you for the future.

Inspires confidence and poise.

Dancing on stage can be an overwhelming experience. Stepping onto a stage and performing in front of an audience requires a tremendous amount of confidence and self-esteem, as you’re presenting your talent. In these situations, it’s natural to feel some nerves, but as a professional performer, you need to harness and use these nerves to better your performance.

A confident and poised attitude will help you stand out in job interviews and when securing work experience.

Instills improvisation techniques.

Success on the stage requires the ability to respond to unexpected developments. Maybe the music cuts off, your partner is off, or you have a costume issue. The ability to respond quickly in these situations is valuable; as the saying goes, the show must go on.

Bringing that attitude to the business world means that you will be highly adaptable and able to overcome problems. Stage performers know how to expand when the situation calls for it.

Teaches resiliency.

Due to the industry’s competitive and highly skilled nature, dancers will likely experience rejection and criticism at some point.

To cope with these challenges, resilience, and tenacity are essential traits. You need to use these experiences to hone and develop your craft and bounce back better than before.

Helps with communication skills.

On stage, you are in full view of the audience and your fellow performers. The ability to stand in front of people and deliver value is crucial. Once you build up your foundation of confidence, you can develop the other habits of highly effective communicators.

As a performer, you quickly learn that presentation and communication are about the art, not you, and conveying the story to the audience is part of your job.

[Want to know more about the world of competitive dance? Click here!] 

Reiterates the importance of marketing yourself.

Many times, in dance, you will have to audition to secure a part, so it’s vital that you’re able to sell and market yourself and your abilities. This essential skill will come in handy when applying for college or for a new position in the career world.

To get your name recognized and help secure work, you’ll need to employ your networking skills learned in dance and work to make those important connections.

Teaches the importance of hard work.

As you work to improve and perfect your dance for the stage, long hours are needed. The mindset to keep working to reach a result is priceless when preparing to be on stage. It also makes a substantial difference in the professional world. The ability to put in long hours to achieve a goal is a vital success trait.

Being on the stage can be a rewarding experience for the dancer and their parents when they notice the positive changes and growth. The excitement of stage competition and the sense of accomplishment is a fantastic thing to experience.

Are you ready to take your child’s dance to another level with competition dance? Contact the expert and high-trained staff at Evolution Dance Complex today!

Photo Feature- Emily Dorman  (Dancer/Model)

6 Steps to a Front Walkover

A well-rounded dancer must perform a wide array of athletic tricks that can take choreography to another level.

These can include cartwheels, back walkovers, ariels, needles, back tucks, and more. One elemental maneuver that should be in every dancer’s toolbox is the front walkover.

If you are ready to add this move to your repertoire, keep reading for six steps to mastering a front walkover.

What is a front walkover?

To learn how to perform a front walkover, it’s important to fully understand what it is. A front walkover is an acrobatic maneuver that involves lifting a leg above the torso in a back-bridge position. The legs then fully rotate so the dancer both starts and finishes in an upright standing position.

The front walkover resembles a fusion of a cartwheel, a handstand, and a round-off. But it is definitely its own unique maneuver that utilizes a comprehensive set of skills.

Work on your flexibility. 

Before beginning to master this new move, ensure you are working to improve flexibility. Doing a front walkover requires a lot of flexibility in your back, legs, and core. If you improve your whole body’s strength and flexibility, you will have an easier time completing this exercise.

Stretch properly.

Movements like the front walkover can put a lot of strain on your shoulders, wrists, and back, so it’s a good idea to stretch before beginning. Following a light warm-up, loosen up those muscles and joints. Some examples of good stretch’s include:

  • Raise both arms high, then reach across your body as you lean from side to side at the waist.
  • Lie face down on the floor and push your torso up and back to limber up your lower back. Flex both wrists to get them ready to hold you up.
  • Sit on the floor with your back straight and centered. Extend your legs outward as wide as you can. Carefully rotate your torso towards the right then move your torso over your right leg. Remember to breathe and go slow.

Never neglect your warm-up and stretching routine. You’re at a much higher risk of injury if you force your body to perform intricate movements before it’s ready.

Ensure to follow safety procedures. 

Set up a private lesson with a dance instructor, to be your spotter, as you work on any challenging new skills. A spotter can support your weight and help guide you as you run through the movements, which lets you focus on your technique.

In addition to a spotter, grab some padded mats. Mats and protective surfaces will help prevent injury in case you land incorrectly. They will also take away some fear, which might be holding you back. Once you get more comfortable with the skill, you can slowly build up the courage to do it without pads, or a spotter.

Break it down.

You can break the front walkover down into other more straightforward exercises that you can master before trying the full skill. They include:

  • A well-controlled handstand is a setup for the front walkover. So, it will be beneficial to make sure you have it down first.
  • The bridge and backbend translate perfectly to the second part of the walkover. Lying on your back with your hands and feet planted firmly on the ground beneath you, press up so that your body forms an arch. Support yourself by keeping your arms and legs straight and strong. 
  • Master your cartwheel to get used to the action of kicking up to your hands, which will carry you over when doing the walkover. Set your hands down on the floor one after the other as you swing your back leg up. Drive through with your kicking leg to lift yourself into an inverted position, then rotate around and set it back down, followed by your opposite leg.

Get into position. 

To do a front walkover, you need to stand as if you are going into a handstand. Put your legs in a split position. Start with whichever leg is more natural for you.

Then kick your back leg up into the air. As your first leg is approaching a vertical position, kick your other leg up into the air. Move your weight to your arms and shoulders.

[Want to know more about what’s it’s like to be a competitive dancer? Click here!]

Stick the landing.

Shift your weight back to your leading leg as it touches down. Then, push off the ground with your hands. You should end in the same position you started in. Make sure that you plant your feet as you land. Keep your arms flexed as you stick that landing.

Make sure you stay using the proper form throughout the whole movement. You should press your hips forward and ensure that you don’t stand up too fast.

Other important tips.

  • Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t inhibit your movement.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Improve your conditioning and overcome your fear of being upside down by spending a little bit longer in your handstand and bridge each time.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you’re not progressing as fast as you’d like. A positive mind frame is a huge part of being a strong dancer.
  • After you perfect your front walkover, use your understanding of the technique to start working on more difficult skills.

Most importantly, don’t overthink it, be patient, and have fun! Want to master the front walkover and other essential dance tricks? Take your talent to the next level with Evolution Dance Complex. Contact us today about our company teams or recreational dance classes!

 

Photo Feature- Noel Gockerell (Dancer/Model)

Video Feature- Rileigh Burrows and Tilley-Gray Cheek

A Day in the [Dance] Shoes of a Competitive Dancer

Behind the doors of the typical dance studio, people imagine adorable little girls in tutus leaping on the hardwoods or stretching over a barre.

The average person pictures a simple, carefree world, where students listen for the rhythm, learn some choreography, and spend time with their friends.

While fun and carefree is a part of this dance world, the effort put in by a fully committed competitive dancer is a lot more than what is shown at a recital or on TV. Competitive dancing consists of many hours of training, various technique classes, and relentless choreography. Dancers and their teachers put their time, blood, sweat, literal tears into their craft – and they wouldn’t trade it for the world. The feeling of improvement and hard work or placing in that important competition is more rewarding than anything else.

As a highly motivated competition dancer, Valadie will give us a glimpse into the life of a 14-year-old competitive dancer.

Valadie’s story

I started my first dance class a few months after I turned one and have loved it ever since! I started dancing at Evolution Dance Complex the year it opened, in 2014. I started getting very serious around nine years old and went to several competitions and conventions. Our family was traveling quite a bit, and with school, it became somewhat of a struggle.

It was a lot to go to public school while being out of town for a convention almost every weekend, but I made it work until 6th grade. Then in 7th grade, we decided to start online school. It is still hard to manage school while dancing 20-30 hours a week and being gone for conventions and competitions on the weekends, but both are so important to me, so I make it work. That means constantly doing schoolwork at midnight after dance class. Even with so much hard work, dance has provided me with some fantastic opportunities which will help me continue to succeed in my future. 

One of those opportunities was being chosen to model for a dancewear brand named Second Skin Costumes! I auditioned to be a model for them, and I got it! I made so many wonderful friends from this experience, and I also found a new love for this awesome dancewear brand!

Another amazing opportunity and experience I had was being flown to Arizona to film a new and inspiring project with Missy Moffitt that will help dancers for many years to come. It is an app where dancers can do intricate training exercises at home. I am one of the demonstrators on the app. Intricate training is an excellent tool that helps better a dancers’ technique, and I suggest all dancers give it a try! I am so happy that we added an Intricate Technique Class into the EDC schedule this year because it really helps me become a stronger and more controlled dancer. I’m so excited, and I was honored to be a part of this project. 

I also had the chance to tour with the Revel Dance Convention as a pro-reveler and assistant, and I was a Top 13 Core Performer Finalist with Radix Dance Competition last year. These are two of my favorite dance convention honors that make me very proud.

In addition to dancing, I have a passion for performing in the theater. I do one to two community shows each year where I can showcase my dance abilities and my acting and singing skills. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities dance has brought me, and I will cherish all the memories forever. Dance has been my best friend, and I’m so thankful to have this art form in my life. I’m so grateful for the Evolution Dance Complex and all of the amazingly talented teachers that help me better myself every day. I am very grateful for Brooklyne; she has offered the dancers of EDC a gorgeous facility to train in and a challenging environment that is preparing us for our future in dance. She continually pushes me to be my best and has and has made the best studio in Wilmington in my eyes! I love my dance family and look forward to this upcoming competition season!

The benefits of competitive dance.

Valadie’s story shows that while competitive dance isn’t easy, the reward is truly worth the work. Some of the positive things that competitive dance has to offer include:

  • Gives dancers a sense of purpose and achievement.
  • Provides many learning opportunities.
  • Prepares dancers for life challenges.
  • Implements poise and confidence.
  • Provides experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
  • It’s a great way to network.
  • It opens up so many doors – even outside of dance.

Competitive dancing can be a rewarding family experience for dance parents when they notice the positive changes, growth, and confidence in their child. The excitement of competition and the sense of accomplishment is an amazing thing to be a part of.

Are you ready to take your child’s dance to another level with competition dance? Contact the expert and high-trained staff at Evolution Dance Complex today!

7 Benefits of Dance

As any dancer knows, there is just something about the beat of the music that provides a satisfying escape from the real world.

Whether it’s the rhythm of the music, the fast-paced workout that gets your heart pumping, or the challenge of mastering a technique, one thing for sure is that the benefits are endless.

Research shows that dance will improve physical and mental health and can provide a boost in emotional and social well-being. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of dance.

Reduced stress.

Like any other form of cardio exercise, dancing has major mood-enhancing benefits. Dancing causes your body to release powerful chemicals and can help your brain develop better sleep patterns, reducing stress.

In addition to the physicality and endorphins, the music can help soothe away your stress. Many researchers swear by the healing power of music. The steady pattern and rhythm of music can provide a source of comfort, which will often alleviate stress. In addition, the music and movement of dance taps into the power of self-expression, providing another powerful stress buster.

Builds your social circle. 

A dance class is the perfect setting to make new friends and branch out socially. Maintaining positive relationships is just as crucial to your health as a good diet or physical activity. Being socially engaged leads to increased happiness, reduced stress, and a stronger immune system.

Improves self-confidence. 

Learning a new skill is hard work that can deliver some positive rewards. Taking dance classes and rising to the challenge will encourage self-confidence and can increase self-esteem.

A strong presence on the dance floor can translate into other aspects of a person’s life and start a cycle of confidence and positivity.

Decreases depression. 

An in-depth analysis of several different studies on the effects of dancing concludes that dancing has a positive impact on the treatment of depression. Aside from the psychological benefits of movement and music, dancing also allows us to become more connected. These social bonds can go a long way in improving mood and mental health.

Some other significant mental health benefits include:

  • Reduced anxiety and stress.
  • Opportunity for self-expression.
  • Boosts energy and mood.
  • Creates a sense of family and community.
  • Increased levels of happiness.
  • Provides a creative outlet.

Enhanced coordination. 

Lack of coordination can make simple tasks more complicated. If you feel you do not have great coordination, don’t worry! It’s a complex skill, but the good news is that it can be developed with dance.

As your coordination gets better, the movement will become more natural, your balance will improve, and your dancing skills will develop. Better coordination is also excellent for your brain. It helps you to learn new skills at a faster pace.

The benefits of dance encompass all areas of health, including physical, mental, and emotional. Not only does it give you a way to express yourself and have fun, but it also helps you develop relationships with other like-minded people.

Staying mentally and physically healthy is very important to us at Evolution Dance Complex. Through our conditioning courses and rigorous dance technique classes, we consistently work with you and/or your child to encourage fitness and fun! Are you or your child ready to give dance a try in the new year? Contact the dance experts at Evolution Dance Complex today!

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