How to be more coordinated for dance
3 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Coordination » Dance With Brandee
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the fastest and easiest ways to help my dance students improve coordination. Here are my tips for better coordination in dancing and in life!
What is Coordination?
The dictionary defines coordination as “to place in proper order, position or relationship.” In movement, this means the ability to organize yourself to perform an action smoothly and efficiently.
Many people feel they’re inherently uncoordinated, as if the Coordination Fairy skipped them at birth. But the truth is people aren’t born with good coordination. Coordination is a learned, practiced skill that begins with active effort. This means anyone, at any age, can improve coordination.Never fear—everyone, at any age, can learn to be more coordinated!
Anyone who’s been around babies has witnessed how much frustration they experience as they learn to roll, reach, grasp, crawl and walk. It’s only after lots of experimenting and many failures that smooth coordination starts to develop. Eventually this becomes a reliable, automatic ability. Really complex actions like walking, driving, or even flipping a pancake seem so effortless now that we forget how awkward and uncoordinated we were when we first did them.
So if you think you’re clumsy, graceless or have two left feet, don’t write off your coordination potential. Coordination is a skill that can be improved whatever your age!
Why Does Coordination Matter?
While you can get by in modern life with a mediocre level of coordination, there are numerous benefits to actively developing your coordination.Coordination benefits you mentally, not just physically
Obviously, improving your coordination makes moving easier and more enjoyable, and increases your balance. Moving more harmoniously also reduces wear and tear on your joints and tissues, helping reduce tension and pain.
But improving coordination is good for more than just your body. Better coordination increases self-confidence and allows you to pick up new skills faster and easier. And numerous studies have shown that learning new combinations of movements improves cognition, attention, memory and social communication. Coordination training is brain training!
3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Coordination
Good coordination can be broken down into three key elements: timing, orientation and manipulation. Timing includes the sequence and speed of your movements. Orientation includes knowing where you are in space and maintaining your equilibrium. Manipulation means organizing the appropriate parts of yourself to move with the right amount of effort for precision and/or power. These three elements come into play whenever you learn a new movement.
As adults, when we don’t immediately “get” something new, our impulse is usually to try harder, go faster and hold our breath. This reaction only impedes our learning and coordination.
Instead, here are 3 simple strategies to help you improve coordination and be more coordinated in everything you do:
Coordination Tip #1: Slow It DownThe secret to learning faster: Go slower!
As adults we forget that learning is inherently challenging. The learning process can be slow, involves a lot of trial and error (including failure), and usually evokes a mix of frustration and enjoyment. So when you do a new movement or activity, be patient and give yourself ample time to get the hang of it.
Then actually slow the movement down (think The Matrix). Paying attention to details and differences is how you and your nervous system learn. When you move quickly there’s no time to feel or track the details.
So for a couple minutes (or more), do the movement very S-L-O-W-L-Y (perhaps 10% of its normal speed). Then notice what and how you’re doing the movement. Observe where it’s smooth and where it isn’t. Are there parts you skip over? Are you using more muscular effort than necessary or unintentionally doing something that interferes with the movement (like tightening your jaw or throwing yourself off balance)?
After doing the movement slowly several times, being curious about the details, pause and let it all go. Then return to doing the movement at regular speed and see if you’re a bit more coordinated.
Coordination Tip #2: Do One Part at a Time
This way to improve coordination seems obvious but is often overlooked: Break the movement into pieces and practice one piece at a time.
For example, movements in dance and sports usually involve doing something with your arms and with your feet. In this case, first do just the arm movements several times. Keep your feet still or just shuffle through letting your feet do whatever they want; just focus on your arms. Next, practice moving your feet and legs, letting your arms rest. Then, once you’re able to do each part smoothly on it’s own, combine the two pieces into one organic movement.
It’s amazing how much faster you can learn a complex movement when you break it into pieces instead of trying to do it all at once.
Coordination Tip #3: Visualize the Movement
The final tip to improve coordination is to create a clear picture of the movement in your mind’s eye, your imagination and/or your kinesthetic sense. You can do this mentally without actually moving, or you can visualize/feel the whole movement as you do it slowly.Research shows visualizing can improve your movement and dancing
Pay particular attention to where the movement starts, the direction and path of your hand, head, pelvis or other part through space, the changes in your shape, and the sequence of the movement.
A great trick to improve the ease and fluidity of the movement in actuality is to clarifying the image of what you want. Plus, in your imagination you can do anything you want to. So go ahead and make it as smooth, graceful and big as you’d like!
To Sum Up…
The fastest, easiest way to improve your skill and coordination is to take a few minutes (or even 30 seconds) to do a movement slowly with awareness, doing just one piece at a time, and really developing a clear picture. I invite you to try it today with any action you wish to do with a little more grace and ease, be that chopping vegetables, tying your shoes, throwing a ball, learning a piece of music or doing a new dance step.
Flexibility and Coordination | 5 Exercises for Dancers
Flexibility and coordination are essential when training as a dancer, as these skills increase a dancer’s ability to perform more advanced routines and learn alternative dance styles. While many believe that both flexibility and coordination can only be achieved by training at a young age or by being born with natural talent, there are many stretches that can be done to improve your skills. With patience and a little bit of effort, flexibility and coordination can be increased at any age with a few simple exercises. Like any other skill, it just takes practice.
Stand On One Leg
While it sounds silly, standing on one leg for an extended period of time strengthens core muscles used for balance and coordination. Place one leg on your knee at a right angle, tighten your abs and focus on maintaining your balance. When steady balance can be achieved for several minutes, slowly bring your leg down to several inches above the floor and back again. By repeating this action, you’ll be exercising your muscle control, which will help to improve your dance coordination.
Sit on a Yoga Ball
Instead of lounging on the couch, take an hour or so out of your afternoon to watch television while sitting on a yoga ball. Or if you find yourself sitting for long periods in front of the computer, replace your desk chair with one. Sitting on a yoga ball not only strengthens core muscles but also encourages your body to keep perfect posture. You’ll get rock hard abs and improve your balance and coordination in no time if you complete one hour of this exercise a day.
When done properly, lunges are a great way to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. By striding forward with one leg, you work out that legs quadriceps while the other leg’s calf muscles and glutes are stretched by extension. If you find that one of your legs allows less flexibility than the other, doing extra lunges on that side will even it out.
Gravity can be a great tool when used to increase flexibility. Instead of stretching in a split sitting on the floor, try lying on your back with your legs against the wall in a ninety-degree angle. By then opening your legs into a split, gravity will act as a weight, stretching your legs and increasing flexibility.
Using a medicine ball or dumbbell, bend forward touching the floor before bringing the weight back up over your head. This exercise can also be done by bending to either side with a dumbbell in hand until it reaches just above your knee. Weight bending is great for a full body stretch, offering strength and flexibility to all of your core muscles.
Simple stretches and strength training on a regular basis will not only increase flexibility and coordination but also better your dancing abilities. Any of these exercises can be done at home while watching television. Try some of them today!
How does dancing affect our health?
Dancing allows you to stay in good shape, helps to straighten your posture, fight excess body fat and perfectly cheer you up. It is rumored that long-term exercise almost halved the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Whether this is so - we will find out in the article.
Dance - a set of useful exercises for the soul and body
More and more fans are gaining a newfangled health direction - dance therapy. It has long been known that any feasible activity gives the human body great benefits. Classes make you spend some time in active movement, cheer you up, allow you to train your mind and ability to concentrate. Dance lessons in groups give new friends, like-minded people, the opportunity to "go out in public", dress up beautifully and get a lot of positive emotions. What other benefits can be derived from dance lessons?
Dance exercises force all muscle groups of the body to work simultaneously. In the process of training, joints are developed.
Dancing is an excellent load for the elderly, because such activities allow you to improve coordination of movements, feel more confident and collected in space. This direction of activity strengthens the work of the heart muscles. Dancing loads create an excellent calorie consumption, which is one of the important conditions for effective weight loss. At the same time, active blood circulation does not allow the skin to sag after losing excess weight. Daily half-hour free dances at home in front of the video lesson screen can become a favorite type of cardio load.
Directions such as paso doble, flamenco and other varieties of ballroom dancing form the correct posture, which contributes to better functioning of the abdominal organs, as well as the muscular corset itself. The gait of a regularly dancing person noticeably changes, it becomes more confident and coordinated. Beautiful toned legs are the pride of not only women, but also men, and frequent dance loads will help you get the perfect shape.
Even free dances, which you can do at home with the help of video lessons, strengthen the respiratory system, and also help to improve the body's defenses. People who dance regularly are less likely to catch colds.
Dancing, like any vigorous physical activity, increases blood circulation, thereby accelerating the flow of oxygen and other nutrients to the tissues of the body. This affects both the general health and condition of the body, as well as the health of the skin, hair and nails.
After a long period of training, endurance, general strength indicators of the body and working capacity increase. Complex, dance movements that require constant reflection allow you to train the human brain. As a result, the ability to absorb information, process it and remember it improves. In general, regular dancing slows down the aging process of body tissues. The systematic acceleration of blood flow, which helps to improve the course of metabolic processes, contributes to a lower percentage of tissue wear, as well as their more efficient operation. And regular classes in a team, but with pleasant, incendiary music, have a beneficial effect on the moral state of a person - one of the aspects of strengthening physical health. In the process of exercising, endorphin is released, which is a means of preventing the appearance of neurosis, stress and unreasonable fears.
Home free dances and more: injury prevention measures
The most important rule of any active exercise is safety, which means the absence of contraindications. Most dance directions are contraindicated for people with diseases of the heart, joints, as well as the musculoskeletal system, and trauma. Also, you should not engage in a period of exacerbation of diseases of the internal organs.
The best dances are a sensible choice based on the advice of a doctor. In order to choose your ideal direction, as well as the rhythm, intensity and frequency of training, you need to undergo a complete examination. Experts say that some diseases and age are not a hindrance to the performance of dance movements, but everything needs a measure and a reasonable approach. Despite the general usefulness of the lesson, it is important to adhere to some rules:
- warm-up before the start of the session is required;
- increase in load and difficulty of movements should be gradual;
- at each stage it is important to listen to your feelings, the presence of pain and severe discomfort should not go unnoticed;
- exposing your body to dance loads, do not forget about adequate sleep and proper nutrition, then the desired result, whether it is weight loss or recovery, will come much faster.
For a healthy person, the optimal frequency of classes can be 3 times a week. It doesn’t matter if the choice fell on exercises in the gym or the best dances at home from video or from memory - you need to choose comfortable ammunition. Comfortable shoes, clothes, preferably made from natural fabrics are a good choice.
How to choose the best dances for yourself?
Free dancing is a great alternative for those who do not have enough time to attend group classes. However, it is group dance training that gives the maximum benefit in terms of physical activity, and is also carried out under the constant supervision of a specialist.
When choosing the best dances for yourself, you should take into account not only the pleasantness of the team, but also the remoteness of the location of the hall, but also your own goals. The fact is that different types of choreography allow you to get a load of different intensity on different parts of the body. So, in more detail about some types.
Collective Irish dance classes allow you to tone your leg muscles and improve their appearance. Also, a constant cardio load helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Classes in Latin American dances require prior physical fitness. This direction tones all muscle groups, helps to intensively lose weight and pump up the body. However, the intensity of work that this direction implies is not “too tough” for a beginner because of the excessive load on the heart and the body as a whole.
Step is a form of activity that allows you to prepare your body for a more difficult level. This type of dance trains the human muscular and cardiac system in a more delicate manner.
Oriental dances, belly dance or bellydance, as they say recently, is a direction for improving not only the physical condition, but also the mental one. In addition to strengthening the muscles of the back, abdomen and hips, oriental dances give women self-confidence, allow them to feel more relaxed, and also skillfully control their own bodies. And the increased flow to the pelvic organs during classes serves as a prevention of their diseases.
Pool dance, or pole dancing, cannot be mastered by a beginner. However, this is perhaps the highest level of physical training in the world of dance. Strip plastic exercises help strengthen the muscles of the whole body, improve orientation in space, allow you to feel your body at 100%, and also contribute to maximum calorie consumption, which is the main condition for losing weight. Despite this, with a well-planned diet with sufficient protein intake, this type of dance contributes to an increase in muscle mass, helping to get "appetizing forms."
Hip-hop classes are equated with full-fledged fitness training. The load goes to all muscle groups, and loud moving music does not give a chance to get hung up on the complexity of the exercises performed. Time passes unnoticed, giving a lot of benefits and pleasant emotions.
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Benefits of dancing for children
Dancing is a versatile activity, an interesting and fun pastime. Regardless of age, gender, occupation and dance experience, people are involved in this wonderful world - the world of music and diverse choreography.
Dancing is good for everyone. Especially for children, whose body and psychology are continuously and intensively formed until they reach adulthood. At this time, parents should make sure that their children receive the “right” load. Children who are constantly dancing, develop comprehensively - physically, psycho-emotionally and socially . And such activity is fascinating and cannot get bored. If sports training is far from suitable for everyone due to possible contraindications for health reasons or simply because they are boring for some, then dancing is a completely different story. They suit almost everyone.
Harmonious physical development
Modern realities of life are such that children often have to be in a static position. Lessons at school, doing homework, sitting at a computer and with gadgets - all this, at least, harms posture, the condition of the spine, and vision. The cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems are not naturally strengthened, so there is an increased risk of future health problems.
Dancing is the development of flexibility, dexterity, grace, muscle strength . The child learns to control his body, to subordinate it to coordinated movements. By regularly dancing and growing up, he is physically harmoniously formed.
Stable psycho-emotional state
It has long been no secret that physical activity has a beneficial effect on the psychological state, since the body and psyche are closely interconnected. During training the child gets the opportunity to give a "safe" outlet to excess energy and negative emotions , relieve stress.
Intellectual and aesthetic development
Yes, dancing also contributes to the development of intelligence. After all, in order to memorize the necessary steps, turns, combinations, combinations and games, you need to train your memory, be attentive to details. The child learns to navigate in space and time. Moreover, the child develops such qualities as initiative, perseverance, independence, purposefulness.
Of course, dancing for children is also the education of good taste . Understanding music, coordinated movements, the development of plasticity, good choreography, beautiful costumes work to form an artistic perception of the world and artistry.
Where do you think such a dance as the polka appeared? Despite the desire to immediately point to Poland, take your time. In fact, the polka originated in the Czech Republic. But in this country another famous dance appeared - the polonaise.
Children who have been dancing for a long time often differ from those who do not attend any circles and sections. Working in pairs or groups, such girls and boys learn to find a common language, build communication with the opposite sex, peers and people of other ages. In addition, children's dance classes can satisfy the need for communication, which is not covered in full during school hours. This is just a plus. The acquired skills will obviously not be superfluous when the child grows up.
Dancing is ideal for those children who cannot stand monotony and boring pastime. For the most active, you can choose the most mobile directions (including those that allow improvisation). In fact, while playing, such children will develop physically, mentally and socially. And for this you don’t have to force them to go to training. They don't want to miss classes for anything.
Children who attend dances on a regular basis feel more confident and free . A lot is decided by the ability to move beautifully and smoothly, the ability to easily communicate with different people. Among their peers, they command special respect, as they know how to do what many do not know how. Thanks to self-confidence, children learn to set goals and work hard to achieve them, showing independence. And this purposefulness, perseverance remains with them for the rest of their lives.
Open lessons, concerts for parents, performances at competitions help overcome fear of publicity . Even the most shy will eventually say goodbye to their anxiety. Perhaps only pleasant excitement will remain. In addition, children learn to deal with failures and overcome difficult moments with dignity. Everyone faces mistakes, and the child will begin to understand this without losing heart, without stopping and moving on. This will build his character. He will be "strong" not only in choreography, but also in other areas of life.
The ability to choose from a wide variety
Probably no art can offer such a variety of directions. It will not be difficult to choose a dance style that suits a child in terms of age, temperament, character, interests and characteristics of physical development.
Due to the fact that a variety of types of dances can be taught within the walls of one school, the desires of students are not limited to any one direction. If, for example, a child wants to try himself in a different style, he will not have to change the studio, get used to other conditions. He will be able to attend the lesson at any time and understand whether he likes the new one. If not, no one will prevent the child from testing himself in some other style. As a rule, as a result of such trial and error, children choose for themselves some particular dance direction (or several) that can completely absorb it.
When can I send my child to dance?
You can introduce children to dancing and perception of music almost from birth - of course, starting from the simplest movements and gradually enriching the "arsenal" with more complex passages.