Summer Playlist

Beach DancingHello all – hope everyone’s summer is going good.. as we move into August, here’s a list of the songs that have been getting the heaviest rotation on my summer dance playlists!

Ballet Class – I like to use Sunny Choi’s tunes during our stretch to keep things fresh – links open in YouTube

22 (Taylor Swift Cover) – Sunny Choi
I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift cover) – Sunny Choi
Just Give Me A Reason (P!nk Cover) – Sunny Choi

Stretch / Lyrical Class

All I Want – The Kodaline – EP – nice and slow for stretching
Pompeii – Haunt – EP
Gone, Gone, Gone – The World from the Side of the Moon (Deluxe)
Red Hands – R.E.V.O.

Tap Class
Wake Me Up – Avicii – love this one!
You Make Me Feel So Young – Michael Buble – my favorite off his newest album
Wild – Royal Teeth
Mountain Sound – Of Monsters & Men
I Love It (Radio Edit) – Icona Pop

Jazz Class
People Like Us – Kelly Clarkson
Cups (Pitch Perfect’s “When I’m Gone”)- Anna Kendrick
Treasure – Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines (Radio Edit) – Robin Thicke

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Teaching Tip: Spaghetti, Meatballs and Pancakes, Oh My!

This creative movement idea was inspired by this Fruit Tree post at Maria’s Movers and the comments from Zan (of Hullabaloo Danceshop).  Zan describes her “turnip dance” in the comments and I loved the idea so I’ve been trying it out with my Modern I / Creative Movement class (ages 8-10).  We have changed it to fit our needs and the kids have come up with different food names (since most of them have never eaten a turnip).  We tried to keep it to somewhat healthy foods.

Our food stretch goes like this (movements in parentheses):

Spaghetti, toast and… pizza?
Ok there’s no pizza stretch.. yet!

Flat as a pancake (lie on back)
Round like a meatball (contract and roll into ball on side)
Stretch like spaghetti (stretch long on side, keeping balance)
Flat as toast (lie on belly)
Up like a banana/mermaid (cobra or mermaid pose*)
Flat as toast
Stretch like spaghetti
Round like a meatball
Flat as a pancake (repeat other side)

The only trouble is they always say they’re hungry after we do this stretch!

*Some days we do cobra pose (leaving feet on the ground and using hands to push up to stretch back) and some days we do mermaid (lifting feet and kicking arms off ground balancing on belly) – also known as superman pose.

Happy dancing!

Thera-bands for Dancers, Part 2: Preparing to Exercise

Exercise bands, Thera-bands or similar resistance training are often suggested for dancers to increase the strength with at-home practice.  What exercises should dancers do and what can be done safely at home, without a teacher to observe incorrect habits being formed?

We will be exploring these questions and more during our series:  Thera-bands for Dancers

Today’s post contains some exercise tips to keep in mind during all of your resistance band exercises:

  • Warm up the muscles you plan to exercise and stretch after you’ve exercised.
  • Maintain good posture, such as keeping your wrists in line with your elbows.  If you start to lose your posture, stop, reposition and start again.
  • Remember to keep breathing during the exercise.  Exhaling during the difficult phase and inhale during the easiest.
  • Use slow, controlled movements
  • Maintain the natural width of the band, to keep it from sliding or digging into your body.

Reminder:  While TheraBands are endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and are versatile, portable and easy-to-use, you should consult with your doctor or health care provider before beginning a resistance program or any exercise program. While using the band, stay attuned to your body.  If any exercise hurts… stop!  Don’t over-do.