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Posts Tagged ‘a day in the life of a dancer’

5 Benefits of Dance Competitions

For many dancers, competitions are an extra perk alongside their training.

Dance competitions provide a boost that can help take children from talented dancers to certified artists. However, it’s not just the dance themselves or being on the stage that makes the difference.

Dance competitions can provide dancers with high-level skill work, clinics, industry seminars, and networking opportunities. Keep reading to learn more about the five benefits of dance competitions.

Develops skills.

All those long hours spent in the studio perfecting technique and preparing for competitions helps sharpen a completely different skill – performance.

The ultimate objective is to take all those steps you’ve rehearsed and muscle memory you created and tell a captivating story through your body and the choreography. The purpose is to connect with an audience. While judges may seem intimidating, they offer the perfect suggestions to help dancers develop those skills and improve poise and showmanship.

Teaches the ability to apply constructive criticism.

One of the most valuable aspects of dance competitions is hearing what trained and experienced judges think of your performance.

While they are “judging” you, it can be an excellent thing if you approach it with the proper perspective. The ability to take their feedback as inspiration and as fuel to improve and work harder will serve you well as you dance and well into your professional future no matter what route it may be.

They help expand your circle.

You are at a dance competition to compete against other dancers. Still, any major dance event will provide a great chance to form valuable connections and friendships that can last a lifetime.

They’re also a fantastic chance for positive exposure. Dancers are more likely to meet professionals who could serve as mentors or provide advice to put you on the path to achieving your dance goals!

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

Takes your skill to a new level.

The atmosphere at dance competitions is very different from what a dancer will experience in the studio.

While that brings a special set of challenges, the uniqueness and level of emotion at a competition will inspire dancers to excel. Preparing for competition and being on a big stage in front of many viewers is excellent motivation.

Helps build resilience.

Dance competitions are about much more than wins and losses. It’s about learning beneficial lessons that you can use to improve as a dancer and as a person.

Competition teaches character and to come back when things don’t go your way. If you have that courage to compete and leave it all on the stage, you will be successful wherever you go in life.

At Evolution Dance Complex, we love everything about competitive dance and the positive effects on our dancers. We strive to provide our dancers with the tools they need to feel confident on stage and connect with their audiences.

Explore the genres, classes, and company teams we offer to take you or your child’s performance to the next level!

5 Tips for Keeping Your Dance Technique During the Holiday Break

The holidays are quickly approaching, and we are all in need of some downtime this season!

While it is essential that you use this time to relax and regroup, it’s also crucial to keep those skills that you’ve worked so hard to achieve throughout the year.

This blog post will give you some tips on staying active while still improving during the holidays. Keep reading for five tips for keeping your dance technique during the holiday break.

Create a plan with realistic goals. 

Your goal may be to maintain your dance technique and skill, or it may be to improve a trick you have been working so hard to get.

Whatever it may be, come up with an action plan to achieve these goals. This may be as simple as stretching three times a week to help improve flexibility or committing to short but daily dance workouts. Just make sure whatever you’re doing gets you closer to achieving your goal.

[Need some gift ideas for the dancer in your life? Click here!]

Check out YouTube.

You will probably be told to go easy on social media this holiday season. However, YouTube is a great place to find out some essential dance tips and tricks.

Start by searching for a dance video that teaches you a new style, technique, or combination. There are even some great workout videos for dancers.

Stay active. 

Research some local places where you can participate in some healthy exercise classes. Pilates and yoga are great for dancers because they help with flexibility, core work, and mindset – all critical for solid dance techniques!

The highly qualified teachers at Evolution Healing Arts have some great options to keep your mind and body in shape this holiday season. They use the fundamentals of Yoga and Ayurveda to connect their students to their crafts; arts, fitness, education, and mindfulness practices are all offered and customized to meet each student’s needs.

Seek out some workshops or camps.

You may be able to find some workshops, camps, or private lessons this season to help keep your dance technique fresh.

These dance workshops or camps are great opportunities to try new styles and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Don’t forget to rest and relax!

You have worked hard all year, be sure to take some time for yourself outside of dance. Things will feel more manageable if you tend to your needs first.

Pamper yourself a little; you earned it. Some things you can do to pamper yourself include:

  • Get a massage.
  • Turn your bedroom into a retreat and binge-watch your favorite shows.
  • Get some essentials for a spa night with you and your favorite dance besties.
  • Crank up the music and dance to music that makes you feel good. Be sure you are doing it because it makes you happy.

Your mind and your body will thank you!

Remember, holiday breaks are also designed to give your body a rest, so you should include a few days of downtime to let your body relax and heal while you have the time. While it’s important to keep up your dance technique, it’s also important to find a healthy balance.

Be sure to enjoy your friends and family this Christmas, and contact us if you need some assistance in keeping up your technique during the holiday season. Happy holidays from Evolution Dance Complex.

 

The Importance of Sleep for Dancers

Quality sleep is essential for everyone. However, it is critical for athletes and performers, especially dancers.

Dancers need sleep for physical recovery and to achieve peak performance. Quality and consistent sleep is a vital element in overall conditioning and having it helps dancers meet the physical and mental demands of their art. Physical and mental performance can be negatively affected when a dancer doesn’t get enough sleep or the right sleep quality.

While dance can seem effortless and graceful, it is an athletic and very competitive activity that requires intense practice. Every day, dancers work hard to condition their bodies to perform the skills, which require stamina. Whether you take part in private lessons, go to long competitions, or attend group classes, getting proper sleep is necessary to restore the body and mind and set the stage for optimal performance.

How sleep affects dancers. 

Sleep has a significant effect on performance, rest, and recovery. It also plays a part in the following:

  • Focus
  • Memory and learning
  • Motor function
  • Injury risk
  • Motivation
  • Muscle recovery

The physical effects of lack of sleep.

Research shows that when athletes and dancers aren’t getting adequate sleep, coordination and balance suffer, leading to an increased potential for injury. In addition, your immune system is weakened, making it more likely that you get sick.

In a recent study, lack of sleep was shown to adversely affect reaction time and the ability to make quick decisions.

How lack of sleep affects dancers mentally.

As a dancer, inadequate sleep can affect your memory and, therefore, the ability to remember new choreography. In addition, the following things are affected:

  • Your focus and the ability to pay attention.
  • Your problem-solving skills, mental flexibility, and processing can all be diminished.
  • Without proper sleep, you are more likely to exhibit mental errors while dancing.
  • A lack of sleep can increase irritability and the risk for anxiety and depression.

The metabolic effects of sleep deprivation.

Sleep deficiency will affect your body on a cellular level and impact how your body burns calories. Several studies have shown that people who get less sleep now will put on more weight.

According to WebMD, when you are overtired, “your brain’s reward centers rev up, looking for something that feels good. So, while you might be able to squash comfort food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to the second slice of cake.”

[Need some healthy snack ideas? Click here!]

Tips for getting quality sleep. 

It can be challenging to get adequate amounts of sleep as a busy dancer. Especially when working around a rigorous training and competition schedule. Some ways dancers can improve sleep quality include:

  • Optimize your sleep environment – Your bedroom should be a peaceful sanctuary, especially after a long day of school and dance. Keep it uncluttered and ensure it’s dark and cool; studies show optimal sleep temperatures are between 62 and 68 degrees.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed – Caffeine is a stimulant, and its purpose is to make the body feel alert. Consuming caffeine too close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid caffeine after 2 pm.
  • Stick to a schedule – Maintaining a consistent agenda can be challenging for dancers who have competitive schedules. However, finding some consistency in sleep times can lead to a better night’s sleep.
  • Create a relaxing nighttime routine – A soothing bedtime routine can help you relax and prepare your body and mind for sleep. Some things you can do include meditation-style breathing techniques, reading, journaling, or soaking in a warm bath.
  • Limit electronics – Electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops emit blue light, interfering with our natural circadian rhythm. Avoiding screens before bed can help busy dancers fall asleep faster and rest deeper.

At Evolution Dance Complex, we know about the physical requirements involved in dancing. Our staff has extensive experience and accomplishments in various forms of dance styles and instruction techniques. In addition to improving our students’ dancing, we are dedicated to offering each student a solid technical foundation within a safe, nurturing learning environment.

We are proud to promote a positive learning atmosphere where dancers are encouraged to excel and challenged to reach their full potential. 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.

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.

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)

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!

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