Happy holidays to you all. I hope you all have a great break from dance. I can hear the sighs of Parents, so happy to not have to drive kids to dance after school and have some free afternoons. What will you do instead of spending time in your car, back and froth to dance and home? Will you put your feet up and read a book, watch a movie? Whatever you do, enjoy.
To those who are already missing dance, there are lots of things you can do over your holiday. Yes there are many students who will already be missing dance. I know I find it difficult to adjust to holidays. The routine of my week is part of life. Most times, I only know what day of the week it is, because of the classes I taught yesterday. As previously stated in the Blog https://www.focusondance.com.au/why-did-you-choose-to-be-a-dance-teacher/ .
Only yesterday, we had a short Saturday Eisteddfod day, as it was the start of the school holidays. I was home by 11.30am. This was a little strange. What to do? It was a little boring, but I did find some things to do. Reading is one of my favourite ways to spend my spare time. Though I find that after a while, I need to move. After spending so much time at dance, it is hard to just sit.
There are lots of things dancers can do to keep themselves active and motivated over the holidays.
This does seem a little obvious, I know, but it is a great idea. You can practice what you learnt in term one. This will help you to remember you exercises and you will not have to re-learn them when you get back to dance. Your dance teacher will be so happy with you.
Even if you don’t practice your exercises exactly as you learnt them, you can practice your technique. Remember what your teacher told you when you learnt the step and work on improving those things. For example when you learnt changements (to jump and change), the things you need to do are: begin with a good demi plie, push off two feet and stretch your legs and feet in the air, landing in a turn out plie. Keep your back up straight throughout. You can work on these things.
Improve Your Feet
You can always be improving your feet. While watching a movie, you can be practicing to stretch your feet, flexing and stretching. If you use a towel or a theraband to add resistance, this will help even more. Just place the band behind your feet and hold each end in either hand. flex and stretch and pull on the towel or band to make it harder. Your muscles will get stronger the more you do this. You will have lovely stretched feet.
Balance is such an important part of every type of dance. Many elements depend on balance to achieve the movement correctly. Pirouette, just don’t work, if you can’t balance. Some days it is easy to find your balance and things go well, some days, not so much. To improve your balance, you need to learn how to lose it and fight to get it back.
Start using a chair as a barre. Rise onto demi pointe on one foot. Make sure you have your core muscles engaged and pulled up. Pull up through your leg, especially your knee. Lengthen through your spine right through the top of your head. When you feel secure, let go of the chair and balance. Count and try to increase the number each time you let go. Do this on both feet.
Eventually you can try this without the help of the chair to start. Walking down the hallway, you can stop and try to balance, see how long you can hold it. If you get the wobbles up, that isn’t a bad thing. Try to bring yourself back to centre. This is great way to learn how to balance. You will work out what it is you need to do to be balanced and bring this to class.
Work on Your Core
Core strength is so very important to dancers. In ballet it helps to keep our posture and make everything easier. While doing our Acro tricks, it helps to keep control of our movements. Core strength in contemporary and lyrical is vital to help create the illusion that it is all so easy.
You can work on your core anytime. I tell my students that they can work on their core while waiting in line at the tuckshop at school. Just pull those muscles through to your spine and hold them there. While your Parents are busy talking to their friend at the shop, you can be working on your core strength and not bothering them with your “can we goes?. Your Parents will be so happy.
Just Jump into Holidays
The more you jump, the better you will get at it. That is a little obvious I know, but so true. The muscles in your feet will get stronger the more you use them. Little jumps in first position over and over will help to increase your elevation (how high you can jump) and make jumps easier. Hops on one foot and then the other will help those jumps from one foot improve. Do you want to jump higher? Then jump more.
When you tell someone you dance, they immediately do a twirl, trying to resemble a pirouette or dance turn and ask if you can do the splits? If you can’t do the splits, you can improve by stretching over the holidays. Make sure you are warm before you do. Go for a walk, jump around a lot, go through your barre exercises for ballet. Bodies that aren’t warm can get injured if you stretch them too much. You don’t want to hurt yourself over the holidays and miss more dance when it starts back.
Work on Your Fitness
Go for a walk, around the block or around your house. Play chasing games with your friends. Swim, if you are lucky to have access to a heated pool (it is getting a cooler here). Skip, play tennis, basketball, or something, but don’t get injured. Just keep moving and getting motivated. Make it fun. For some tips go to https://justtesa.com
Make up Holiday Dances
Listen to music and make up your own dances. This will get you moving and it will be fun. Get some friends together to help. Put on a concert, your Parents will love it. At the end of term, my students get to make up their down dances in class see the Blog https://www.focusondance.com.au/tired-dancers-can-learn/. After weeks of their teacher telling them what to do, it is good for them to be able to show what they would like to do. Some dances are very imaginative.
One of the best ways to learn and be inspired is to watch dance. Every bit you can. Watch a dance movie (making sure it is age appropriate). Watch performances by professionals, on DVD, U tube or better still live. Go to a competition if there is one on. You may even know someone who is competing you can support. Watching other dancers is a great motivator and will hopefully make you want to dance more. Be inspired by the talent around you and use that to improve your own dancing.
Keep dancing, just because it is holidays, doesn’t mean you have to stop. If you love to dance, show that to everyone. When you are bored, dance. Work on the things I have mentioned above and anything else your teachers have said you might need to work on. They will be very impressed when you get back to dance if you have used these holidays to improve. Who doesn’t want to impress their teachers?
Happy Holiday 🙂
Keep on dancing