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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Head over heels

We are so excited to be bring an acro dance element to React Dance Academy starting September – so we are running 2 sessions for you to come along and try!

We’ll be looking at what we need to build strong foundations in safe acro dance practice – ensuring that we are strong and flexible and ready to develop our acro skills!

These workshops will be an introduction to group acro (including some basic balance and lifts) and solo acro (basic tumbling), filled with fun and excitement! All ages are welcome to come along with some or no experience. This is not gymnastics, there is a dance element to this class!

Please wear tight fitting clothes (leotard, leggings, vests, jazz pants, shorts) and bare feet. Please also bring a drink. We are downstairs in our studio, in Kenton Park Sports Centre, Anfield road!

Book in here at reactdance.class4kids.co.uk/camps or call 07969125975 or email leanne@reactdance.co.uk

I’m happy again

What a glorious feeling! We love to dance and ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is one of our ultimate favourite musicals! It’s known and loved the world over for its amazing tap routines and comic storyline!

We may not all be Gene or Debbie, but this will be a fantastic workshop where we can learn some of the steps and combos, and create our own versions of those classic tracks – Singin’ in the Rain, Good Morning, and Make em Laugh.

It would be amazing if you had tap shoes, but we get that you may just want to try the style over the summer – that is completely fine! Just give us a call and we can suggest what will be best!

tap dance workshop in Kenton, Newcastle based on singin in the rain for children aged 5 to 12

This workshop will run in our studio, downstairs in Kenton Park Sports Centre, Anfield Road from 10am to 1pm. Open to all to come along so book in http://reactdance.class4kids.co.uk/camps or call 07969125975 or email leanne@reactdance.co.uk!

Dance for Confidence – Dance for Success

It’s the start of a new school year, many different activities are on offer (but so too comes the colder, darker evenings!). So sometimes at this point, enrolling them in performing arts may seem to come down the bottom of the priority list.

But there are many reasons why performing arts should play a key role your child’s education, be it in school or as an extra curricular activity. In many studies, researchers are now linking involvement in the arts to better child development and higher student achievement.

HIGHER ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Studies such as this report from the Arts Education Partnership suggest schoolchildren exposed to dance, music and drama are more proficient in reading, writing, and maths. In countries with the highest rankings in maths and science, such as Japan, Hungary and the Netherlands, arts and music education form a mandatory part of the school curriculum. Children also learn to take instruction from adults and respect authority.

CONFIDENCE & SELF-PRESENTATION SKILLS

One of the most obvious benefits of performing arts is the development of skills in self-presentation. A child must learn how to present him or herself in front of an audience, be it big or small. They develop the ability to converse with adults in a mature manner. Participation in the arts allows them to grow their self-esteem and self-confidence, developing poise and learning to overcome anxieties.

Performing arts are also about social interaction and cooperation. Your child will no doubt make life-long friends with those who share the same passion as they do.

React Dance Academy Summer Show: Photo Margit Kurvtis

A MEDIUM FOR SELF EXPRESSION

The arts allow for deep self-expression from a child’s heart. It can help them make sense of their emotions and develop new ideas to express themselves. For example, musical children may find their “happy place” when they are playing songs to themselves that reflect their emotions. Or maybe the dancer is better able to express their emotions through physical movement rather than vocally.

Performing arts are also great exercise – even opera! A singer must be physically fit and have a good lung capacity to reach and hold notes for a period of time. Some performing arts are based on cultural history, which may allow a child to connect with their ancestry or ethnic background.

PROBLEM SOLVING & PERSEVERANCE

Performing arts help teach children both self-reliance as well as collaboration with others in order to reach a goal. They learn that there are many different pathways to develop a skill.  For example, a child learning a musical instrument may also participate in an orchestra to open them up to another style of music and performance to benefit their solo work.

Performing arts develop reasoning and creative thinking, as well as motivation, concentration and teamwork.

EMPATHY & COMPASSION

Performing arts help promote interpersonal skills. Some of the previously mentioned benefits can come through participation in sporting activities, but performing arts also promote and develop certain skills and characteristics such as empathy and compassion for others. The creativity involved in performing arts extends to emotional creativity and can open children to new ways of seeing the world. In group settings, there’s less of a focus on winning or losing, and more about working together as a team towards a shared performance goal, as well as the child’s individual journey of development.

For example in musical theatre, children may have to learn to work behind the scenes as well as on stage. By having to carry out a variety of tasks and roles, they are able to look at the world from different vantage points.

Whether it’s acting in a play or performing in a dance, encouraging your child in performing arts is a great way to create a well-rounded education.

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