Blog Archives

How to improve your dancer’s posture

Recent studies have show that up to 40% of children have poor posture – a lot of this is linked to too much slumping in front of screens and a general disposition to slouching. Heavy school bags also play a part.

Dance requires proper posture – not just to see the graceful lines, but also to move easier, and breathe better.

So on this Technique Tuesday – here are 5 ways that both we at class and you at home can help improve your dancer’s posture.

1. Demonstrate and show videos or pictures

Most classes see a move or combination demonstrated and the children aim to copy this, this is part of their learning. Posture is the same. Our teachers try to demonstrate good posture in classes – and especially when teaching moves.

“Most dancers learn visually, so they’ll try to mimic proper body position, but often they don’t understand the roots of where it’s coming from,” Chelsie Hightower, a performer on “Dancing with The Stars,” explained to Dance Spirit.

For this reason, it’s often helpful to show your children pictures or videos of proper posture when standing or sitting – see below.

Good Posture 
Head over heart, heart over hips
shoulders down and relaxed
face forward and don't drop the chin
breathing should be easy and going into the belly

2. Stretching

Stretching is a great way to not only maintain good posture and ensure that the muscles front and back are working equally, but can be used to correct poor posture

  • Chest and shoulder stretch: If they slump forward (that head dropped looking at the phone pose) this activity is often helpful for dancers who slump forward. Have them lie on their backs with their arms stretched outward and elbows bent into a bench-press position. They just need to squeeze their shoulder blades together without arching their backs and hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 4 times.
  • Butt bridge: Another area that can cause bad posture is the hips being tight in one area and not strong enough in another. This is a great one to help. Get them to lie on their backs with their knees bent and feet on the floor. Have them squeeze their butts and push their hips toward the ceiling. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat four times.

3. Core Exercises

I’m not suggesting 3 year olds start on the sit ups. Dance itself will help with this and we do incorporate these in class in fun ways. We have plank challenges, we do V sits – using pilates, yoga and even some boxing excerises along side the ballet, jazz and acro work. The core is the full surrounded mid section – not just the ‘abs’. If this is something older dancers want to work on drop me a message (leanne@reactdance.co.uk) or catch me in class.

4. Fun with props

We can do this from teeny tiny to teens and older. Props can be a great way to check on the posture – bean bags or books on the head while we move will show if they slouch or drop their chin, or walk with an emphasis on one side. It can even be a fun game to play at home.

Good posture notes for dancers

5. Practice Makes Permanent

Posture needs to be in their minds the whole way through – class, through practice, at home. Its not about constantly walking around like you’re attached to a stick! But remembering to hold yourself upright and tall with all the elements described above.

I always say practice may not make perfect but it will make permanent – it means it will become easier to sit, stand or dance with good posture if you work on it regularly than it will to slouch!

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The value of Preschool Ballet

This blog will look at why it’s important for you to see value in your child’s pre-ballet and beginning ballet classes.

You have LOTS of options for extracurricular activities these days, even for pre-school aged children and younger! While at a young age, most extracurricular activities provide a lot of the same benefits to children (social interaction, following instructions, etc.), but our preschool ballet programme is designed to offer something a little extra special

  • We run our preschool sessions on a theme – The Nutcracker or Cinderella or the Enchanted Forest and so we hold short, 5-10 minute parent observations at the end of every block of sessions
  • Each new theme will include a small parent information pack with our objectives – including what your child will be working on in class as well as one or two activities you can practice with your  child at home. This allows you to have some fun dance time together at home and also let you see the progress your child is making.
  • It may seem like there isn’t a lot of technique – but this is by design. They will learn all the basics for their age and appropriate dance level, and we gradually introduce the correct terms and develop their technique once we have the basics – we don’t want any overwhelm!
  • It is more than just becoming a ballet dancer. Children a learning so much more than helps them OUTSIDE of ballet: interacting with other children, making friends, taking turns, following instructions, and working hard toward a goal, just to name a few.
  • We have themed sticker charts and certificates for students at the end of each session – so you can see what they have achieved and also lets our amazing students show their progress. It gives them something to be proud of.

So why not book a place on our next course – January will see us follow the classical ballet Cinderella – 2pm Mondays at Church of the Ascension

Benefits of Ballet

So we’ve now covered all our classes and what’s happening this term such as our ballet blog here. To help you understand why we are so passionate about dance at React Dance Academy, the next few blogs will look at the benefits joining these classes would have for your child. There will always be over lap, but sometimes there are some specific benefits to each form of dance. Today we look at Ballet.

Ballet as a great foundation

Starting your child’s dance journey with ballet is an excellent way to ground them in good dance technique. It helps with almost all other forms of dance as there is so many parts to remember – posture, foot positions, arm positions that have been established and well recognised for years. Therefore taking ballet allows your child to focus on developing precise technique that will only help them whatever they choose to do with their dance careers – be it just for fun, dancing with the Scottish Ballet, or becoming a world famous hip hop dancer.

Ballet enhanced focus

You will notice a ballet class is quite disciplined and a lot more structured than other forms of dance. Almost all ballet classes follow the same format. The discipline required is also greater than in other more free flowing classes such as freestyle or lyrical. The precise nature of the dance form means students need to concentrate on several elements at once, while making it look effortless! Ballet dancers are excellent at this!

Controlling their body

Aside from the general dance benefits of improved co-ordination, flexibility, and so on. Ballet helps students focus on the precise control of movement – each step being deliberate and in a required position – looking at turnout at all times, posture, neckline, arm line. Students become better at controlling their body in motion and have an excellent balance.

Physical benefits

Dance is a fantastic form of fitness – especially for children as it doesn’t seem to stop in the class room – they dance at home, at friends, in the park – make routines together. It’s fun and so isn’t work for them. Keeping children active is so important, and offering something that inspires them daily is a wonder of dance and ballet – the more they practice the stronger and more flexible they become!

Confidence

As ballet has been around so long, the technique is well established – so achieving the steps, exercises and movements is a great way to develop a student’s confidence. Their self confidence increases – as does their happiness to perform – in groups and even solo. Confidence as they have developed strong skills and technique.

A bit of culture

A student in love with ballet will enjoy so many more cultural experiences – from listening to classical music in class and then falling in love with Tchaikovsky, watching the ballet on YouTube or at the theatre, learning about it’s history, reading new books and looking at art. It’s a great way to develop their cultural knowledge

Friendship

Dance is a wonderful way to make friends – and ballet is no exception – the work that goes into team routines and performances, duets in class, feedback and creative expression means children and young people develop a “dance family” – those their to support them on their dance journey!

 

We’ve love for your dancer to be part of our dance family. React Dance Academy holds ballet classes every Monday at Church of the Ascension, Kenton – please see our timetable for times (and speak to us about ages as these are suggested – we know each child is different). Then please contact us and we can send you more information.

For our pre-school ballet (under 5 or nursery and preschool) please visit our dedicated preschool class website