Every jump in ballet is preceded by a counter-movement, namely, a plie, and this is exceedingly effective in getting more height out of a jump (try jumping from straight legs and see what happens), not to mention protecting the achilles tendon from injury. In fact, people have studied jump height and found that maximum vertical height in a jump is higher using a counter movement than not (3). So it makes sense that we bend our knees before jumping.
Since dance is the art of motion, in order to become a proficient dancer one must understand how the body moves from the inside; how the muscles and bones work to leap, turn, kick, stretch and fold. A pretty sophisticated idea for a young dancer. Since learning is a layered experience, introducing the concepts of anatomy now will allow them to build upon this foundation in the future.
If you are stretching with the goal of long-term changes in your flexibility (for example, you can’t do the splits and would like to), save your stretching routine for after class or between barre and center when your muscles are “warm.” Generally speaking, both of the stretching techniques above have acute (short-lasting) effects on your range of motion before activity, but don’t really increase your overall flexibility.
I was so wowed by this image when I saw it appear in the Sunday Snapshot pool. The distal reach of the dancer’s arms create a striking diagonal and, of course, the musculature of a dancer’s back is always an absorbing feature. I was very taken by the angular shape of the body and play of shadow and light, and I thought you would be too. About the Photographer: Dave Wood is a part-time photographer from Denver, Colorado. His primary focus is on black and white images of the nude human form.
Learn to work and strengthen you abdominal muscles effectively and in a way that will support you most in your dancing.
Although we sometime use the word turnout as a noun or a position (i.e. “Your turnout could be better.”), it is more appropriately thought of as an action, a verb. Because outward rotation is not the body’s natural state, the work does not stop once the position or desired degree of rotation has been attained. Instead, outward rotation of the hips requires continual action within the body, even when the rotation is held in a position (like ballet 5th).