Dancers are strong. Performers on stage are true athletes – demonstrating endurance, strength, poise, posture, grace and so much more.
It doesn’t come easy – but it does come with dance. Even for young children. Many dance technique exercises – ie ballet barre work, corner work in freestyle, tap practice – are designed to strengthen and build endurance.
Why be strong?
Being strong gives the dancer the ability to perform. It is not about big muscles or looking muscley, it is about the strength and how efficient that muscle is. It lets them control their own body better, manage moving their body weight both slowly and fast. It prevents injuries – especially to joints – such as knees and ankles which can dislocate easily.
How – is it the same for all dance?
Not really. All types of dance require a basic level of strength – usually in their core and legs. Some styles develop more specific strength – street for example is a lot of lower body work – so they have strong legs, breakdancing incorporates more upper body strength for arm holds and balances. Contemporary has a great deal of core strength, ballet, a lot in the legs and ankles.
How to be a strong dancer?
Practicing in class – the steps and techniques at the start are designed to prepare the children for their class, their muscles for the work that they have to do, and their minds for what movement patterns to make.
To develop strength their needs to be an element of overload – meaning pushing to work harder to the point of being tired. 2 kicks will not work, 8 kicks is getting their.
There MUST BE BALANCE for children – it is still meant to be fun. But the stronger they are the healthier they will be and the better dancer they will be come.
But before we panic – just think about what we learned on Monday and you will be fine!
Botofogo (or Boto- fogo)
This is a dance step in Samba but is used in various other styles too.
It is a step taken across the body, for example on the right foot, with a flat foot. Then followed by a “ball change” movement onto the left foot using a side step with a little weight transfer. Then step back onto the right foot – flat footed.
It is a 3 part step done in two counts – 1 and 2. The first two steps are quicker than the third, on the beats “one and” and the final step slower on the 3 beat or count 2.
A step ball change can be a triplet, as can a botofogo.
It is the counts that are important for this step so getting your children to udnerstand the music and its beats is key.
To help them understand the counts – start listening to different types of music and clap along to the basic beat -“1,2,3,4” – try it with faster and slower tracks.
Then try clapping “1,&,2,&,3,&,4,&” these are the half beats so in a 4 beat bar you clap 8 times.
Then try mixing it up with “1,&,2,3,&,4” so you clap the rhythm of a triplet (quick, quick, slow)