How to do flexible dance moves
How to Boost Your Flexibility
"How can I get more flexible?" It's a question every dancer has asked themselves at one time or another. Whether you're attempting your first split or trying to nail a crazy high extension in your new dance uniform, flexibility is one of the key components to being a great dancer. If you want to improve yours, it can certainly enhance your rehearsals in the studio and performances on the stage. Just make sure you take the right approach. Here are some tips to help you in the process.
Tip #1: Take your time.
There's no fast way to get more flexible. So don't look for some quick fix on the Internet that will magically elongate your dance moves. It doesn't exist and you could actually wind up hurting yourself in the process. In fact, when you try to make too much progress too fast, you're going to end up with some kind of sprain or strain in your muscles, tendons or joints.
Instead, take a gradual approach. Try to slowly and patiently improve flexibility so that your muscles have the time they need to safely adapt.
Tip #2: Warm up first.
Another vital tip to improving your flexibility involves warming up first. If you start stretching with cold muscles, you're going to wind up with an injury because your muscles aren't limber and ready to stretch in the way you want them to. Doing so can also cause muscle instability that impacts both your strength and agility.
So rather than jumping into difficult stretches or exercises to enhance flexibility, warm up first with a few minutes of cardio. This can be as simple as some jumping jacks or running in place for a couple of minutes. Then ease yourself slowly into your first stretching pose and take it from there.
Tip #3: Listen to your body.
When it comes to stretching and building flexibility, everyone's body is different. What's easy and comes naturally for one dancer -- who's more limber -- might take months of work for another. That's why it's important to listen to your body and pay attention to what works for you. Some dancers are naturally built to be more flexible, so don't compare yourself to others during the process.
When you're holding your stretches, also be careful that you don't hold them for too long. In the beginning of class, aim for holding your stretches no longer than 15 seconds. Toward the end of class, however, you can hold stretches for longer - from 60 to 90 seconds.
Tip #4: Perform dynamic stretches before class and static stretches after.
According to Dictionary.com, a dynamic stretch is "a type of sports fitness routine in which momentum and active muscular effort are used to stretch and the end position is not held."
These types of stretches -- such as shoulder rolls, torso twists, and arm swings -- are best used just after warm up, at the beginning of class. Some other good dynamic stretches for the lower body include hip circles, forward and backward lunges, and leg swings. Regardless of which you choose, dynamic stretching is ideal for the start of class because you're getting your heart rate up, while also stretching and warming up muscles.
Static stretching, on the other hand, involves holding a certain stretch for a specific period of time. This is usually best done toward the end of class, during your cool down period. You should hold these stretches for at least 30 seconds, or even up to 60 or 90 seconds -- especially if you have a particular muscle you're trying to enhance flexibility in. At the end of your dance class, your muscles will be nice and limber, so you'll be able to push them further during static stretches.
Both dynamic and static stretches are good ways for dancers to improve their flexibility. However, it's best to avoid ballistic stretching, which incorporates bouncing movements where the muscles and tendons are rapidly stretched and relaxed. This can cause strain and can even damage tendons, joints and muscles.
Tip #5: Use strength training.
If you're trying to improve your flexibility as a dancer, then add some strength training to your workout routine mix. While flexibility improves the length of your muscles, strong muscles mean you can hold your dance positions for longer.
Tip #6: Don't push too hard.
If you're having sharp or severe pain, chances are, you've taken things too far. Don't continue on or try to push through the pain. Pain is your body's way of signaling that something is wrong. Likewise, don't stretch for too long before a big performance. Doing so can actually cut down on your ability to perform your jumps properly.
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10 Top Stretches and Exercises to Improve Dance Flexibility
by Stelle World on 0 comments
Flexibility is an important part of dance. Dance flexibility can take up to 6 months or a year of constant discipline depending on the age of the dancer. It can be frustrating for dancers who expect to see results right away.
Here are a few stretches and exercises to improve dance flexibility for young dancers.
1. Standing Hamstring Stretch
This stretch is great for the neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Start off standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and rest your arms by your side.
Exhale as you bend forward from the hips and lower your head to the floor. Try to keep your head, shoulders and neck relaxed as you do this stretch.
Wrap your arms around the back of your legs and hold. Experts suggest that you hold a stretch for 10 seconds to 3 minutes. If you go into a stretch and feel as if you immediately want to release it is a sign that you need to spend more time stretching this area as part of your dancer workout plan.
When you are done holding your stretch bend at the knees and roll your way back up to a standing position.
2. Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis muscle is located outside the butt. It is a deep internal hip rotator. Your deep internal rotators produce a lot of movement at your hips and stretching these muscles should be apart of your daily ballet workout.
Sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you. Cross your left leg over your right and place your left foot flat on the floor beside you. Then place your left hand on the floor behind your body.
Put your right hand on your quad or bring your elbow to your knee and press your left leg to the right. You should feel a twist in your body when you are performing the stretch correctly.
3. Lunge With Spinal Twist
This stretch helps open up your hips and improves mid-back mobility, which is a necessary part of ballet turns.
Start with your feet together and take a big step forward with your left foot. Now your feet should be in a staggered stance. Bend your left knee as if you are lunging. Keep your right leg straight behind you.
Your toes should point downward to the ground. You will feel a stretch in your right thigh. Now place your right hand on the floor beside you and twist your upper body to the left. Reach your left arm up toward the ceiling and stretch as if you are trying to touch the ceiling.
Hold the stretch and then repeat on the other side.
4. Tricep Stretch
An area of deep stretching often overlooked by dancers is the arms. Most dancers focus on the legs but you will also need arm flexibility to complete many ballet positions.
For a tricep stretch stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms up over your head. Bend your right elbow and reach your hand behind your head to touch the top middle of your back.
You can gently pull your elbow toward your head yo get a deeper stretch. You should feel the stretch in your neck, shoulders, back, and triceps. When you are done holding the stretch repeat on the other side.
5. 90/90 Stretch
This is another great stretch for dancers because it hits both hips at the same time. Sit with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle out in front of your body. Keep your foot flexed and your sole should be facing the left.
Let your leg rest flat on the floor as you place your left knee to the left of your body. Bend the knee so that the foot faces behind you. Be sure to keep this foot flexed too.
Try your best to keep your right glute on the floor and move the left glute as close to the floor as possible. This may not be possible if you have been dancing a lot and are super tight in your glutes or hips.
Hold the stretch and repeat on the other side.
6. Frog Stretch
Another one of our dance tips for flexibility is to not sit crossed legged. Crossing your legs can lead to tight hips. Here is a stretch you can do if you do happen to sit cross-legged a lot.
Get down on all fours and slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart behind you. Turn your toes out and rest the edge of your inner thigh on the floor. Shift your hips back toward your heels and keep your feet flat on the floor.
If you can move from your hands to your forearms for a deeper stretch.
7. Butterfly Stretch
This simple stretch helps the hips, glutes, back, and thighs. Sit on the floor with your back tall and your soles together. Bend your knees out to the side.
Hold your ankles or your feet, engage your abs, and slowly lower your upper body toward your feet as low as you can go while at the same time pressing your knees down into the floor.
8. Shoulder Squeeze
This stretch relieves poor posture and releases tension in the back. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Clasp your hands together behind your lower back and straighten and extend your arms.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together for a few seconds and then release. Repeat this stretch for 5 to 10 times.
9. Side Bend
This easy stretch keeps the groin, and hips inner thighs flexible. Kneel on the floor with your legs together. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Extend your left leg out beside you.
The reach your right arm up and rest your left arm on your left leg. Gently bend at the torso and right arm to the left side of your body. Try to keep your hips facing forward as you hold the stretch. Then repeat on the other side.
10. Neck Stretch
Most dancers forget to stretch their necks. A good neck stretch can positively impact the rest of your body.
Drop your right ear down to your right shoulder. Press down on your head to deepen the stretch and hold. When you are done, complete the stretch on the other side.
Keep Working on Your Dance Flexibility
No one has ever become flexible overnight. To improve your dancer flexibility, stretching should be apart of your daily routine. Just keep at it and you’ll start to see a noticeable difference.
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- dance, flexible dancing, stretching
types of flexibility and basic stretching exercises
A flexible body, elastic muscles and mobile joints are the key to beauty and health at any age. Flexibility is not only innate, but also an acquired quality. Without a doubt, every dancer should have it.
What is flexibility
Flexibility is the ability of the body, namely muscles, ligaments and joints, to give maximum amplitude in various movements and physical exercises.
The flexibility of the body depends on genetics, the structure of the joints, the elasticity of the tendons. This indicator is also related:
- with age. Children and adolescents tend to be more flexible than adults;
- with floor. Women are naturally more flexible than men;
- with the level of physical fitness and fitness.
Types of flexibility as it happens
There are several varieties:
- Dynamic flexibility is the maximum possible range of motion in a joint without any outside help. For example, standing against a wall, the athlete raises the leg to the highest possible level and holds it for several seconds. Also, the dynamic view is fixed when performing exercises, for example, with swings; nine0015
- Passive (static) flexibility always exceeds active dynamic. It is achieved with an external impact on the joint. For example, the athlete or his partner holds the raised leg with the hand in maximum amplitude;
- Special refers to the mobility of specific joints. Different sports and dances require different levels of joint mobility;
- Anatomical. Habitual daily movements in terms of joint mobility are very limited. Use of the reserve of pledged flexibility up to 95% occurs only during special classes;
- Excessive flexibility is dangerous, as the stability of the joint is lost and the maximum stretching of muscles and ligaments is reached. This is fraught with injuries (dislocation, rupture, sprain).
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Why flexibility is important for dancers
Good flexibility is the key to beautiful amplitude movements and speed of changing positions
A flexible body is more responsive, plastic and enduring. Good amplitude in the work of all joints gives excellent coordination between all parts of the body. nine0003
These motor indicators are extremely important in dance. Movable joints and stretch-responsive muscles make the body supple, able to quickly perform complex movements and ligaments.
Flexibility can be improved by regular stretching.
What exercises help to develop flexibility
Stretching (from the English "stretching") always begin with a quality warm-up of the whole body. Pulling muscles and ligaments is possible only in a heated state. To do this, it is enough to perform a warm-up of 2-3 dynamic exercises, involving all the main joints. nine0003
- Neck . Grab your head with your right hand and press your ear against your right shoulder, stretching the left side of your neck. Lock the position for 30 seconds. Repeat with your left hand.
- Spine, thoracic . Starting position on all fours. Bend your back down and lift your head up, remaining in the position for 10-15 seconds. Arch your back up, lowering your head down. Hold the position for another 15 seconds. Repeat several times at a slow pace. nine0071
- Spine, back of thighs . An exercise from the arsenal of yoga "Downward Dog". Place your feet and hands on the floor shoulder-width apart and bring them closer until you reach the body in an inverted V. The foot is completely on the floor, legs are straight. For greater effect in position, you can sway slightly, creating a arch in the back.
- Spine, core muscles . Lying on your stomach, bend your knees, bring your feet to your buttocks. Wrap your arms around your feet and pull your legs back and up. The thoracic spine takes the maximum deflection. The position is fixed for 20-30 seconds. nine0071
- Hip Extension . Lunge forward with your right foot and shift your weight onto it. Tilt your body forward and lean on your elbows. Maintain the position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
- Lateral Thigh Extension . Sitting on the floor, spread your legs as wide as possible. Place your body and arms on the floor as far as possible. Stay in position for up to 30 seconds.
Tips from experienced choreographers for stretching
Flexibility exercises are performed at a calm pace, the muscles are stretched until a slight tolerable pain appears. In each position, you should stay up to 20-30 seconds, holding the maximum amplitude of the stretch.
For general flexibility development, it is enough to stretch 1-2 sessions per week as a small addition to the main workout. The presented set of flexibility exercises is one of the possible options for this form of training.
If increasing the flexibility of the body is the main task, then it is worth doing stretching in the format of a full-fledged lesson. We recommend starting stretching under the guidance of an experienced instructor. nine0003
Benefits of working with a coach:
- safety : no risk of injury;
- effectiveness : the coach selects the exercises based on the physical data of the student;
- speed : a professional instructor uses techniques to achieve maximum results in the shortest possible time.
The dance studio "La Boca" is open for stretching and stretching. Classes are conducted by a professional ballerina Victoria Krivtsova and an international master of sports in Latin American dances Olga Dubravina. Lessons are held in small groups and with an individual approach to everyone. nine0003
Sign up for a trial session and experience the benefits of stretching with a professional.
How important it is to be flexible for dancers (and not only)
How important it is to be flexible for dancers (and not only)
How important it is to be flexible for dancers (and not only for them)
Today, many people dream of a beautiful stretch, and especially splits, and not only those who practice dancing. The studios and online stretching courses that have appeared in a large number actively support this trend. nine0141
But how important is it to have a good stretch if you are dancing? Is it possible to start p ole dance if you are absolutely wooden, and will a good stretch help in social dancing? About this, and also about why everyone wants the cherished twine so much, what obstacles can be on the way to flexibility and how to prolong youth, "Plyas" talked with Anastasia Lan, a stretching teacher, and Artem Bagdanov, the founder of the largest publics about dancing and stretching in VKontakte and the founder of an online school for the development of flexibility. nine0141
August 31, 2020
How important is it to be flexible when you start dancing?
Anastasia: It is not necessary to be flexible or start stretching first and only then any dances. Even if these are the areas in which flexibility is needed - aerial gymnastics, canvases, pylon. At the initial stage, you can not have flexibility and good stretching, but develop it gradually. nine0003
The question here is different. Before engaging in the development of amplitudes, it is important to restore the norms of movement, remove clamps and various compensations in the body. What is compensation? When we move in our daily life not as nature intended, but as we are used to, some of our muscles are activated more, others are not involved at all. We come to the hall, we start to move in the dance, our movement is unnatural due to the fact that our strong muscles are trying to compensate for the work of our weakened muscles. Efforts are distributed incorrectly and exorbitant loads may occur in different parts of the body. It is harmful. nine0003
I train and give students stretching through movement, active stretching, which helps bring the body into natural ranges of motion, engage the right muscles, strengthen them, distribute the load throughout the body. That is why it is very important to combine dancing with stretching. To adjust your body to a healthy, harmonious mode of movement.
Artem: It doesn't matter at all to be flexible when you start dancing. Because when you start doing anything, your initial data at the time of the start practically does not matter much. What matters is what you learn along the way. nine0003
I have before my eyes a large number of examples of people who started dancing from scratch and were completely inflexible, non-plastic, non-rhythmic, non-musical, but gradually developed all these qualities.
And the topic “I'm inflexible, so I probably shouldn't start” is either a beautiful explanation not to do, or a kind of unspoken request to the interlocutor to support, cheer, dispel doubts.
When you start doing anything, your background at the time of the start is of little importance. What matters is what you learn in process
How important is stretching depending on a particular dance style?
Anastasia: In many directions, already mentioned aerial gymnastics, contemporary and even in ballroom dancing, stretching creates spectacle, opens ranges, expands the possibilities of movements. When you are not closed in any framework, you can impress the audience, the judges. Naturally, flexibility directly affects grace as well, and grace adds a lot to the scores. nine0003
When you stretch, you educate your whole body, straighten your posture, shape lines. And even in such directions where super-amplitudes are not needed - for example, vogue, or oriental dances, hand movements, body movements become completely different when you develop flexibility. Movements become qualitatively different, and absolutely everyone notices this. Greater body control, greater precision, isolation, expressiveness.
Different people come to your classes. Tell me, why do they need stretching, what does it give them? nine0205
Anastasia: There are two categories of students. The first is dancers, aerialists (pylon, canvases), who already know why they need flexibility, and then apply it in their dance directions.
The second category is people who start stretching just to be more flexible. They begin to work with their body, begin to feel it softer, more mobile, and already from this state they begin to think how to apply it. And they decide to go either to dance directions, or they want something more extreme, like a pole and canvases. When a person acquires flexibility, he wants to use it. nine0150
When a person gains flexibility, he wants to use it
Why do many today want to “sit on the splits”, and not just improve general flexibility? How did it become a fixed idea?
Anastasia: There is a general trend - we all want results. For example, when we do fitness, we immediately want a sculpted body. But we don’t want to sit down 500 times, do push-ups 300 times and work out for six months. nine0003
When people come for stretching, it is important for them to see the final goal: what do I want from stretching. General flexibility is a vague concept and difficult to imagine. It is easier to present goals in specifics. And in specifics, we consider certain composite figures as goals, which for us are a familiar demonstration of flexibility - these are twines, bridges, puffs.
I come to the stretch, I try to imagine the end goal and I imagine the splits. And the reason why they want twine so much is most likely this. We are so accustomed to: in order to develop, we must see the final goal, where we are going. nine0150
Artem: Twine is a spectacular element. And, probably not a fixed idea, but a challenge idea. Moreover, this challenge was thrown a long time ago and came from the idols of the modern adult generation, who showed the world that flexibility is possible not only among ballerinas and gymnasts.
It used to be that twine is a gift from God and natural gifts. But then it turned out that this is not so. The first non-professional media performer of the twine was the Wolf from "Well, just you wait!", Which in issue 15 of 19At the age of 84, he demonstrated a longitudinal ballet split and a stretch. After him was Van Damme "Bloodsport", "Kickboxer", then there were Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan. And so this idea appeared in the minds of the male part of humanity. Interest was fueled by martial artists, karateka, masters of kung fu and yoga.
For example, when I was at school, the splits were performed by a man, a biology teacher, he studied in the wushu section, it was 1987, that is, before Van Damme.
At the end of the 90s, it was the turn of women - and in the cinema the splits were performed by Mila Jovovich, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman. In the same way, at the end of the 20th century, bodybuilding was fashionable as an idea of developing the strength and image of a modern person, just as the idea of twine as a standard of flexibility is now popular. nine0003
What is the twine challenge? The fact that, on the one hand, everyone can come to this if they apply enough patience, discipline and effort, and on the other hand, not everyone can come to this, because they are simply not ready to do anything for this. And this cannot be bought with money, but can be achieved only by one's own labor.
Today, twine is available to everyone, and I think that this is wonderful, because what used to be literally beyond the limits of human abilities, today has become possible and accessible to the most ordinary people thanks to the accumulated experience and modern knowledge about the human body. nine0150
It used to be that twine was a gift from God and natural gifts. But then it turned out that this is not so
Why is the idea of developing general flexibility less popular than the idea of twine?
Artem: I wouldn't say that. She is less specific. I would say that the split is an understandable, measurable and spectacular visualization. And an emotional reason to start improving yourself, your body, to improve. And when a student comes and plunges into the topic, then, as a rule, interest in twine is quickly replaced by other, more valuable interests and practical applications of these abilities, which are difficult to explain to an uninitiated person. Therefore, the twine remains the hallmark of the development of flexibility. nine0003
People more often come to the idea of developing flexibility as such at an older age, after they lose their former flexibility. And we have about half of these students. They don't need twine. They want to fully move and enjoy life.
Is it possible for everyone to stretch, or are there any limitations in terms of physiology or age?
Anastasia: Everyone can sit on the longitudinal twine, joints may not allow the transverse twine. But if we are talking about general flexibility, about the normal functioning of the body - this is available to everyone, and I would strongly recommend stretching for everyone. nine0003
Yes, maybe we have some kind of articular restrictions that will not allow us to “sit down” on the transverse or limit our limit in minus longitudinal ones, but it doesn’t matter. Because flexibility is not only splits right, left and transverse. Flexibility is a very multifaceted quality, and here you can develop in many directions. And there are even no contraindications for practicing reasonable stretching, especially stretching through the movement of the body, with the restoration of normal working amplitudes and norms of movement, which are absent due to the fact that we do not use our body as it is basically intended. nine0150
Everyone can sit on the longitudinal split
How important is flexibility in everyday life, outside of dance and sports?
Artem: Let's remember what flexibility is? This is the ability to make movements with maximum amplitude. We do not think about it when we are young, flexible, mobile and used to the fact that any movement is available to us by default. The child does not understand the importance of flexibility when he calmly takes his foot in his mouth or puts it behind his head, sits in Turkish or "bent over three deaths" at the desk. He has it by default from birth, and he does not know how to do it differently. nine0003
But due to various circumstances, flexibility fades over time. Sedentary lifestyle, generally low physical activity, injuries, illnesses, etc. And at some point, as they say, "bang - and you're a tree." Someone at 14, someone at 40, someone at 60. And a person often thinks about the importance of flexibility only after he loses it. For example, when he cannot raise his hand to turn off the light in the room, or raise his leg to put it in his pants.
Someone puts up with it, says at the age of 30 “old age is not a joy” and turns into a young old man or a young old woman. He continues to cherish his bad hypodynamic habits, endure pain, learns to live with pain, adapts to it, and by 50 he finally curls up into a bagel. nine0150
The child does not understand the importance of flexibility when he calmly puts his foot behind his head, sits in Turkish or “bent over three deaths” at a desk. He has it by default from birth, and he does not know how to do it differently
Before the invention of antibiotics, at 40-45 years old, a person was already considered an old man, and people lived 50-60 years. Now we are told the average duration is 80-90 years, and in the near future 100-120. And it's not science fiction. I visit my parents, they are already retired. And I say hello to their neighbors who are at least 15-20 years older and who were old when I went to school... 90 years is the reality of today.
And someone wants to remain young, active and mobile until old age. And the very idea is unacceptable to him that at 60-65 he will cease to be able to independently raise his hands up and then for 35 years he will ride in a wheelchair or walk with a walker.
Therefore, for example, WHO has long recommended that adults, in addition to daily activities and work, engage in physical activity of at least 75 minutes a week - aerobic exercise and strength exercises. For additional health benefits - up to 300 minutes per week. And after 65, be sure to add exercises to develop flexibility and coordination to your workouts. Look around. By the age of 60-65, many people in the cities are no longer capable of any exercise, they would have to walk to the store, groaning on painkillers. Not to mention the development of flexibility. nine0003
And among people who are dancing or active, I see a different picture - I see vigorous 80-year-old women dancing flamenco and doing yoga, I see 85-year-old men who ride scooters, go hiking, rafting on rafts.
Therefore, the issue of maintaining and developing flexibility as a healthy habit - the same as brushing your teeth - is a question of the quality of all life. And it is better to start doing it now, "so that later it would not be excruciatingly painful.