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Posts Tagged ‘competitive dance’

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 Reasons Why Boys Should Dance

As progressive as our society has become, dance is still often thought of as an activity for girls.

The combination of strength training, skill, and coordination make dance one of the best ways to stay active no matter what gender. Dance is inclusive and one of the best ways to stay active while having fun. These are just a few reasons why boys should get involved with dance. Keep reading for five reasons why boys should dance!

Builds self-esteem and confidence.

Dancers often put themselves in challenging circumstances, such as being on stage to be scrutinized by others or by trying a new, difficult dance class. If you work hard on a dance floor to learn new things and achieve goals, you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything.

Depending on your child’s level of dance engagement, it will eventually involve competition, which can push dancers past their limits while also gaining poise and confidence. Being put in the public eye can help overcome the fear of public performances while encouraging a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Dance encourages self-expression.

Dancing is an art that encourages one to express emotion and passion openly to enhance the presentation. This is especially excellent for boys since our society often promotes the masculinity of repressing emotions, which can be unhealthy for their emotional growth.

Being able to transmit artistic expression poignantly is vital to dancers. Having discipline, advanced technique, and dedication allows a dancer to use dance as a language to communicate. This will enable audiences to embrace the inner beauty of dance itself and take the dancer’s skills to another level.

Teaches teamwork.

Working together in a group or with a partner helps build communication and respect in achieving a goal. This can help prepare dancers for future ambitions and growth when working with others in a team setting.

[Want to know some more benefits of dance? Click here!]

Develops strength and coordination.

Dancing works muscles while building stamina. It also helps to develop coordination and intensifies attention to detail. It can be challenging as each move involves controlling the body and supporting and lifting dance partners. Dance also helps increase strength and fitness levels which can benefit other sports and activities, making you a better all-around athlete.

The work it takes to dance constantly aids in developing muscle groups and teaches dancers to use their muscle groups in graceful and coordinated ways. Frequently using the four limbs in different dance positions significantly improves coordination.

Improves posture.

The movement involved in various types of dances helps build up the core muscles needed to keep your posture upright and strong. Having good posture improves overall spine conditions and proper body alignment while reducing your chance of straining muscles.

When searching for a dance class for boys, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration. Start by:

  • Creating a list of local dance studios and taking the time to research them. Find out what kind of dance styles they offer and what type of experience each instructor has.
  • Take the time to watch some classes. Observing classes can be valuable as you can see firsthand the dance styles and the method by which children are instructed.
  • Most dance schools offer a free trial or a drop-in fee for single classes. Take advantage of these opportunities.

Evolution Dance Complex is one of the leading dance studios for boys and girls in Wilmington, NC, and beyond. Our dance programs include acro, contemporary, lyrical, pointe, hip hop, jazz, musical theatre, and ballet classes that inspire creativity, coordination, and self-confidence. Contact us today for more information.

6 Tips for Managing Time Outside of the Dance Studio

Most dancers spend a significant amount of time per week in the dance studio.

While they are doing what they love, this can cause some stress in other areas of life. Sometimes the demands of school, socializing, work, community service, and everyday life can be overwhelming.

As a dancer, it can be challenging to balance all those requirements on top of your many hours at dance, but it’s not unattainable! Keep reading for six tips on managing time and balancing dance with the other essential aspects of your life.

Stay organized.

As a dancer, it’s crucial that you take responsibility for staying organized. Invest in a calendar application on your phone or an agenda book and use them regularly. People struggling to manage their time aren’t short on time, they just aren’t planning ahead.

Set yourself up for success with a calendar or journal that will allow you to see the commitments and responsibilities that lie ahead. This will enable you to set your priorities and get the most pressing items done first. Staying on top of these everyday tasks and keeping them organized will minimize your stress, allowing you to focus on those long-term goals.

Focus on prioritizing. 

We get it, dancers want to spend every second of their free time dancing, but to succeed in life, you must put other things first from time to time.

If you have a school project due and need to practice some steps, think about which is more important. Getting your project out of the way will give you more time to focus on dance, as you won’t have the schoolwork lurking in the back of your mind.

Set goals. 

Set SMART goals to understand where dance fits in in your life. Finding time is just as much about staying motivated and focused as creating free time.

This is where setting goals for dance is critical. However, these cannot be just any random goals or desires; they need to be SMART goals, which means:

  • Specific – you need to give yourself as much information as possible about exactly what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable – the goal needs to be quantifiable. For example, apply an extra 30 minutes to practice, learn two new steps, etc.
  • Achievable – something that you can realistically achieve.
  • Relevant – ensure the goal applies to you at this particular time in your life.
  • Time – the goal needs to have a time target. If the plan does not have a time target, how do you know when to achieve it?

Learn to multitask. 

Multitasking is one of the best ways to use your time efficiently. This means checking numerous things off your to-do list at once, and it’s a great way to create some free time in your week.

However, everybody is different, and some people require full attention on a task to get it done correctly. Chances are, if you’re a dancer, you are used to thinking about one hundred things at a time. An excellent example of multitasking is stretching while studying for an upcoming exam. Just ensure that you’re stretching safely and aren’t holding single stretches for extended periods while distracted by other things.

Stay clutter-free.

Another great way to get organized is to keep your space tidy. This can include your locker, bedroom, desk, dance bag, and school bag.

Keeping things organized and clutter-free will help you manage your time more effectively by ensuring that you aren’t wasting time searching for lost items or digging around your room for your dance costume last minute!

Pencil in some downtime. 

Allowing some downtime is a vital part of time management. It’s also good for your body and your brain. On Sunday, think about your week ahead and pencil in some quality time for yourself. It’ll help keep you centered and balanced during the week, especially when things get chaotic.

[Did you schedule a little TOO much downtime during the holiday break? Click here to get back on track!]

As dancers, our schedules can be overwhelming and prone to changes. Rehearsals get moved and schedules can shift. Exploring time management and being aware of your schedule can help you grow as a dancer and as a person.

We hope these tips have you ready for the week ahead and help you manage your time a little more efficiently! For more information and tricks, check out our informative blog.

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.

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.
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