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Archive for the ‘Just Dance!’ Category

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!

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

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