- To get my middle splits a while ago, I would do wall stretch twice a day. I would stretch for a song, then roll on top of my middle splits, then practice tilts/pitches. Then I would do the same thing over again later during the day. After a few weeks, you should start seeing improvement. However, you need to be careful while stretching. Don’t push yourself too much or overdo it.
- Stay in wall stretch for around 3 minutes once or twice a day! If you want more of a challenge, you can put ankle weights on for a minute or longer.
- It also helps to over stretch slightly to get them flat! But be careful when you overstretch, don’t push yourself, or do it for too long.
- TUTORIAL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpqz3hSYU_s
- For me, I stretched my hamstrings A LOT. Every day, for 10 minutes at least is great. Also get into a deep lunge to loosen up your hip flexors for your splits. I would rotate from stretching my hamstrings to stretching my lunge on and off, until I felt stretched enough to go into my splits.
- To get them faster, stretch every day and take a shower or run around to get your muscles warm before you stretch.
- Also watch rhythmic gymnastics videos before you stretch, they will motivate you. Ha I swear it works.
- Over stretching: Get a mat, or stack a few books on top of each other. Don’t push yourself too much, or overstretch on something that is really high. Also, over stretch for 30 seconds to a minute to deepen the stretch. Here is a photo:
- Most people with flexible backs are usually born with them, but you can also stretch your back to get it more flexible.
- Holding backbends are great. Try to walk your hands as far as you can towards your ankles, or go on your elbows and then try to press your chest into the ground while in a backbend to get a better stretch. You can also try to straighten your legs while in a backbend. Here is a picture of that: And below, here is a picture of the seal/cobra stretch, which can also help loosen up your back.
Feet Flexibility, and How To Create a Better Pointe
- Take a tennis ball and continuously move it from the center of your foot to your toe with some pressure, to warm up your arch.
- Thera bands can help strengthen your feet, and exercise them so that they pointe the right way. There are a lot of thera band tutorials on YouTube, that are helpful.
- You can also stretch your feet by pushing them to the floor with your hands, and really pay attention to how you pointe them while dancing, and during ballet classes.
- There is also this foot stretcher called the “Pro Arch” that’s supposed to stretch your feet. Its
- Quite expensive though: http://www.discountdance.com/dancewear/style_PA1.html (Picture on the right.) The first picture shown below is another tool used to stretch feet: http://www.footstretch.com/en/
Back Splits/Strait Leg Scorpion
You have to have a really flexible back to do this! You also need to have your splits, and flexibility in the shoulders.
1. Work on your scorpion, and hold it for as long as you can.
2. Once you have a good scorpion, then try to walk your hands closer down your leg towards your knee, and straiten your leg.
This will take a lot of practice, balance, and back/shoulder/hamstring flexibility.
For tilts and pitches, you really need flexibility and strength. Work on stretching your hips and hamstrings. Wall stretch has helped a lot. You also need to work on strengthening your legs and lower abdominal region.Doing plank and leg lifts really help with that! For me, I used to do wall stretch for about a song, then I would hold onto something, like my bed or a wall, and practice holding my pitch. I would hold it with my arm while holding onto a wall, then I would let go of my leg and try to hold, and eventually I would let go of the wall and try to hold. Doing this everyday will help a lot!
Jumps and Leaps
Many people have been asking about how to improve their jumps or leaps, so here are some important things to remember:
1. PLIE. The deeper the plie, the higher the jump!
2. STRENGTH. Leaps and jumps take a lot of strength, so strengthen those legs.
3. FLEXIBILITY. Flexibility will help make standard leaps or jetes, side leaps, ring leaps, etc., a little easier. If you have your splits flat and squared, your legs should generally go up higher in your leaps.
I’ve heard of this exercise from a follower: set up two chairs with their backs facing each other (think wood dining room table type chairs), hold on to the backs of the chairs with each hand, so that you’re standing in between the chairs, using them to lift yourself of the ground, then do the switch leap without actually moving across the floor, just suspended by the chairs. Or you can practice switch leap jumps on a trampoline or a mini tramp if you have one.
Important things to have strong or multiple pirouettes are:
1. Strong/high releve
2. A clean spot
3. Strong core
4. Deep plie and a clean prep before you turn.
1. Stand in front of a mirror. Turn in a slow circle around yourself, looking at your face the whole time, up until the last second where you have to snap your head around. Continue doing these slow circles, and eventually speed it up a bit.
2. Once you feel comfortable with this, try doing some chaine turns. Start them out slow, and do three in a row. You can do these in your bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc. Try to pick something eye level on the wall that you can look at while you spot. Eventually start doing more, and do them faster. You can also try this with pique turns.
3. Now try to spot while doing a single pirouette. Use the same technique that I mentioned in the first step. Start out with a slow single pirouette, and spot something eye level on the wall. Eventually work up doing faster and multiple turns.
A LA SECONDES AND FOUETTES
1. Strong/high releve
2. A clean spot
3. Strong core
4. Deep plie and a clean prep before you turn.
5. Keep your leg at 90 degrees throughout turning.
6. When you bring your leg into passe (if you are doing fouettes), make sure that your toe is touching your knee the whole time, don’t let it disconnect.
A LA SECONDES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxjRM9XflZs
Here is a website that has exercises for your calves: http://www.fitness-training-at-home.com/calf-exercises.html
Using thera bands are also a great way to work on the strength in your ankles and calves. There are some great video tutorials on YouTube!
Wrap a theraband around the ball of your foot and hold the ends so that it is taut. Wing, sickle and point and flex your foot 32 times each. Move the theraband to your other foot and repeat.
- Spell out the alphabet in the air with your toes. Then circle your foot en dehors and en dedans 32 times each. Repeat on your other foot.
- At the barre, do slow elevés and relevés in first, second and fifth position 32 times each. Then, do slow one-foot relevés 16 times on each foot.
- Place a towel flat on the floor and use your toes to pick it up. When finished, flatten the towel and switch feet.
Of course you need to have a good cartwheel and some strength, but its alot about getting past your mental thoughts about doing it! Aerials can be scary, and putting your hands down at the last second is a mental thing! Its almost like your mind is telling you to put your hands down, but your body is telling you not to. If that makes sense……sorry if I’m being confusing! You really just need to go for it!
Heres some things that have helped me:
- Practicing on a trampoline. If you have a tramp, that would be great, but if you dont, maybe you can go to a local gymnastics center. A lot of gyms around where I live have things called “open gym”, its usually a few hours, and anyone can come and use the floors, the tramps, etc. Thats something that you might want to look into!
- Practicing on a mat. I’m guessing you are already practicing on a mat, but if you’re not, then use a mat!
- Run fast before you hurdle!
- On your hurdle, swing your arms up and around in a backwards circle before you push off, it helps you get more height!
- While doing your aerial, hold your arms tight against you, and clench your fists tightly! It helps to not put them down.
- Try to picture your back leg getting around faster, to get all the way around.
- Watch videos of aerials on youtube to get motivated.
- Tell yourself NOT to put your hands down.
I hoped this helped! Just keep on working on it. Some people get them in a month, some people get them in 7 months, its different for everyone.
How to Get Better Turn Out
First, always turn out from the hips, NOT the knees.
Advanced butterfly: Lie in the butterfly with your feet flexed and together. Have someone else push your knees down while you try to straight your legs completely to first position without letting yourself turn in.
Advanced frog stretch: Get into your frog position. Then press up like you are doing a cobra stretch.
Posse turnout exercise: Stand however gives you the best balance (turned out, parallel, it doesn’t matter) Bring one leg to passé parallel, and rotate it out and in, slowly, out and in, about 10 times. Then push a little farther when you turn it out, past 180 even, letting your hip go up a little to get that extra stretch. 10 times again.
These exercises should help! I found them off this great website and there’s a ton more turn out exercises listed! Here’s the link:
GOOD SONGS FOR LYRICAL/CONTEMPORARY DANCES
Dance Competition and Convention Advice
- Every convention and competition is different.
- At most convention/competitions, the first day is about 6 hours of classes, where guest teachers teach. Most rooms are crowded because there are so many dancers, and the floor is almost always on carpet. Usually they put down a smallish wooden/plastic floor thing thats slippery, so the floors are never very good! And it is ALWAYS freezing cold at conventions! So make sure you wear sweats or leggings and warm up/stretch good before you start dancing.
- Usually classes are around 45 minutes to an hour long, where you learn a combo, and you then perform it in groups, so you kind of have to catch on pretty quick! There is usually all types of styles including tap, ballet, etc, so bring all types of dance shoes and extra dance clothing just in case.
- Usually at the end of the first day, the competition starts about two hours later, and you get ready there, if you are performing in group dances.
- If it is a convention/competition, the stage is usually smaller. They put up the stage themselves, so there isnt a backstage, and there aren’t any curtains. There will be a judges table in front of the stage, with around 3 judges. After you compete, they do awards, and announce first place, second, etc.
- The next day, there is also usually more convention classes, and there is usually a scholarship audition. During the audition, you will learn a combo, its usually around 8 eight counts, and you will audition it in groups. Don’t freak out. They are a little nerve wracking, but remember to smile and try to have good energy and stage presence. Also wear nice, bright colors, and have your hair up! Do not look messy or unprofessional. They will either announce the scholarship winners then, or at the ending show. The scholarship auditions are always optional, so you dont have to audition if you dont want to! You also usually have to improv before and /or after you perform the dance.
- At competitions where there is no convention, they usually take place at a high school, where there is a real stage, curtains, a back stage, dressing rooms, etc. You compete your dances, and there will be awards after the competition.
- If it is your first competition, try not to worry about it too much. They are a great experience.
BALLET POSITIONS: http://www.pbt.org/community-engagement/basic-ballet-positions
BALLET TERMONOLOGY: http://www.abt.org/education/dictionary/index.html
WEBSITES TO BUY LEOTARDS AND OTHER DANCEWEAR:
INFO ABOUT COLLEGES AND DANCE PROGRAMS: http://www.danceu101.com/college-guide
MY FAVORITE DANCE VIDEOS: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=FL4B59S4jc2-h6IkWsi-Hspg&feature=mh_lolz
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