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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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!
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!
Most of us started dancing simply because we loved it. But did you know ballet provides more benefits to children than just joy of movement?
Our Monday Preschool Ballet class (2pm at Church of the Ascension, Kenton) is not only full of fun but has some fantastic benefits for your children!
- Ballet classes will stretch a child’s imagination as they dance the roles of different characters in ballet class. Ballet is telling stories through movement – which is why our preschool classes are based on some classic Ballets and full of story and movement.
- Ballet keeps children moving, which is important and beneficial to the growth and development of their bodies. It helps them to stay active, release extra energy, improve muscle development, core strength and balance, flexibility and joint mobility. It also increases cardiovascular and overall health.
- It relieves stress. Yes, even young children can be stressed. Dance boosts endorphins and has a meditative quality. It’s even been called “moving meditation”! (Adults – you can come dance away the stress to with our dance fitness classes!)
- Dancing doesn’t just exercise the body; it also exercises the brain! Ballet classes use a lot of classical music, as well as some popular tracks and nursery rhymes. This mix of music challenges the brain and improves memory and interpretation
- Ballet is good for self-esteem and confidence. Aside from learning new skills and improving their ability – the small achievements we celebrate each week are a great way to encourage your child to continue to work and develop each week
- Even small children begin to learn self-discipline as they learn to follow directions and to try their best in class. From waiting their turn for demonstration, to teamwork, and positioning – all of these small parts of class encourage this strong sense of discipline.
- It’s fun! Children get to act out roles as they are dancing. Who doesn’t want to be a fairy, a prince, a Nutcracker or forest animals!
Happy Freestyle Friday – how are you jazzing up your day!! Next up on our blog is the benefits of taking part in Freestyle and Jazz classes. This is a different branch of dance to ballet, tap and theatre.
High energy classes
While other forms of dance do require a lot of work – freestyle and jazz incorporates a much great time of high energy work – the style itself – full of kicks, leaps, jumps, spins and movement around the floor, is very aerobic based.
It also requires great flexibility – especially as they progress in their work with splits both on the floor and in the air, as well as back bending being popular steps.
Dancers will greatly improve their fitness (and burn off lots of energy) at these classes.
Great for all to get involved.
This style has a few basic moves that are then accentuated with varying lines, positions, arm movements and body movements. A simple kick can be performed in so many ways. It is a great form of dance to allow your child to express themselves.
Working with other dancers
Freestyle and jazz has a few different elements – we create solos, duets, trios, team combinations, we do class work and of course performance pieces. So your child will be working alone, in small groups and big groups which is a great way to develop confidence and co-operation and team work.
Rhythm is key
Freestyle was born out of the popularity of Saturday Night Fever and the Disco era – young people and adults expressing themselves to popular music. Jazz has its routes in tap, street, cultural and free expression. Rhythm is the key – dance with the rhythm but do so with you own style
We’ve love for your dancer to be part of our dance family. React Dance Academy holds freestyle and jazz classes every Wednesday 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 and dance programme (under 5 or nursery and preschool) please visit our dedicated preschool class website