Whether you are a dancer, gymnast, or runner, sports nutrition plays a very important role in optimizing the beneficial effects of your physical activity. You can enjoy different advantages like better performance, injury prevention, and quick recovery if you make the right decisions with your hydration and nutrition.
To support your health and goals there are different types of sports nutrition to include in your diet. As a dancer you have to assure that you consume a healthy and balanced mix of foods that will keep your strong during training and capable of giving the best performance.
What are the three main sources of energy?
Today we are going to explore some of the important elements of the dancers’ diet that provide fuel for performance. Support your training sessions with the following three energy nutrients:
The first and most important nutrient that dancers should include in their daily nutrition plan is carbohydrates. Some dancers may consider carbs dangerous because they can increase their weight, making them think that they will not be capable of maintaining their figure. That is not quite true. While some excessive carbs do get stored as fat, they are a crucial source of energy for your body and irreplaceable in the post-exercise recovery process. Your body stores most carbs you eat in the form of glycogen, along with quite a lot of water – almost three grams of water for each gram of glycogen. So if you notice an increase in your weight after eating carbs, it is mostly not due to the fat, but rather to the water.
One thing to pay attention to when eating carbs is the GI (Glycemic Index) which stands for the amount of increase in the blood glucose levels after eating certain foods. It’s a good idea to avoid foods with a very high GI (such as sugar, white bread) as they contribute to the risk of diabetes and obesity. Your go-to food should be rich in carbs and low in GI, such as whole-grain breads, fruit, many grains (especially barley, oats, quinoa), and – surprisingly enough – pasta.
Good fats are essential for a healthy body. Some vitamins (such as A, D, E) need to first dissolve in fat in order for the body to be able to absorb them. Fats are also a great source of energy for performance – it is recommended that up to one-third of our calories come from fats. Aim primarily for healthy (unsaturated) fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, or salmon.
In addition, dietitians advise to limit the saturated fats found in animal products and some vegetable oils (coconut and palm) to under 10% of your total calories.
But most important, do watch out for the artificial trans fats that are nowadays used widely in fried and baked products, sweets and snacks. In the ingredients lists the trans fats often hide behind the words “(partially) hydrogenated oil” – if you see this phrase, it’s a good idea to steer clear of the product.
One of the most important nutrients that should be included in the dancer’s diet is proteins. Make sure to consume a healthy amount of proteins in the form of eggs, milk and cheese, fish, meat, and pulses (beans, peas, lentils). There are no side effects of proteins and your body needs them to repair the muscles after exercise, making you stronger and safer from injuries during the performance.
Where is energy stored?
Your body has several ways to store energy: As sugar in the blood immediately after eating, as glycogen in muscles and liver, as protein in muscles, and as fat.
As your muscles and liver can only store a certain amount of glycogen (100 grams in liver and 500 grams in the muscles for an average person), all carbs that are consumed beyond this amount are stored in the adipose (fat) tissues of the body.
How does the body use nutrition to produce energy?
A common question that most of the dancers and athletes ask is how the body derives its energy from foods we ingest daily.
Carbs, fats, and proteins have energy trapped within the bonds between the atoms that they consist of. This energy is released when the foods are broken down into their basic components. Some of the energy is conserved and used to make a high-energy molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), while the rest of the energy is lost as heat. ATP, considered to be the energy currency of life, is the body’s direct source of energy that keeps everything going. When you want to use your muscles to move and perform, your body cells break down the ATP molecules to release energy.
As the very first source, your body uses the sugar in your blood – which is a bit like starting your car in a low gear: It gives immediate access to energy, but is very inefficient (a lot of it is lost as heat). Once that is used, you’ll be using a mixture of glycogen from your muscles and liver, along with fats and sometimes even proteins of your muscles. In general, the higher the intensity of the exercise, the more energy will come from glycogen compared to fat. Always keep in mind that fat requires longer time and lots of oxygen to be converted to energy. It means, if you deplete your glycogen resources and continue to exercise at a high rate without refuelling, your body will start breaking down your muscles to generate energy.
- Bean, A. (2017). The complete guide to sports nutrition. Bloomsbury Publishing.
- Van Loon, L. J., Greenhaff, P. L., Constantin-Teodosiu, D., Saris, W. H., & Wagenmakers, A. J. (2001). The effects of increasing exercise intensity on muscle fuel utilisation in humans. The Journal of physiology, 536(Pt 1), 295.
Training for ballet dancers is both systematic and rigorous. Grand rond de jambe en l’air, a circling of the gesture leg from front to back (or vice versa), is an integral component of classical ballet. This movement is introduced at the barre, but is revisited many times during the center work portion of the class. Successful grand rond de jambe en l’air requires stability, flexibility, consistency in leg height and maintenance of a vertical torso.
Sports scientists from the Texas Woman’s University and University of Wyoming used 3D motion capture technology to understand the biomechanics behind this challenging move. This is what they discovered when comparing the movement of expert and novice ballet dancers.
Skilled dancers have greater movement of the pelvis in response to the movement of the leg. While exaggerated movement or obvious lifting of the pelvis is not desired, allowing the pelvis to tilt helps the dancer achieve the desired range of motion without increased muscular effort.
The Balanchine technique of ballet emphasises that a more open pelvis facilitates maximum range of movement of the leg, and that the clarity of the leg position is more important than keeping the hip perfectly placed. Anatomically there is a limited range of pure leg movement at the hip, therefore the onset and the complicity of the pelvic movement seems to be a key element in the skill and elegance of grand rond de jambe en l’air.
2. Pelvis strategy
Skilled dancers use certain movement strategies to achieve perfection of the ronde de jambe en l’air. For example, when transitioning the gesture leg from dévant to á la seconde, they rotate their pelvis to the right and tilt it anteriorly and to the left. Moreover, they don’t not just stronger, but also earlier than novice dancers. This allows them to carry the leg from one position to the next without any major additional effort.
In addition, the skilled dancers delay the internal rotation of the thigh in the á la seconde position using a large pelvic motion. Finally, they separate the movement of the pelvis from the movement of the upper body in order to maintain the verticality of the trunk.
3. A word of caution
Beginner dancers should use the pelvic movement with a great deal of caution. First, a change in the pelvis orientation changes the mass distribution of the body around the hip joint of the standing leg, which makes it harder to control balance and increases the burden on the standing leg. In addition, range or ease of pelvic motion for the novice dancers may be limited by their flexibility, muscle extensibility, and level of motor control.
3. It’s not about muscle strength
The technique used by the skilled dancers does not particularly require more muscular effort. Therefore, hip muscular strength, especially the gesture leg, is not a limiting factor for a novice dancer.
4. Standing leg
During the execution of the grand rond de jambe en l’air, more burdens are placed on the standing leg, especially its hip abductors. These muscles serve to orient the pelvis over the standing leg and to facilitate the balancing movement of the pelvis in relation to the gesture leg. This is turn allows to limit excess or undesired movement of the pelvis.
It is thus very important to include emphasis on the standing leg in teaching grand rond de jambe en l’air – and in fact other movements requiring full range of motion at the hip.
To sum up, the clues to getting the perfect rond de jambe en l’air are:
- Allow for greater pelvis motion throughout the entire movement phase while maintaining the trunk orientation (pelvis strategy).
- Work out the optimal timing of the pelvic tilt that allows for more effortless carrying of the gesture leg.
- Focus on both gesture and standing legs: While their actions are different, their contribution to the desired movement is the summation of their individual roles. Achieving an aesthetic ideal in dance requires synthesis of the whole body.
Kwon, Y. H., Wilson, M., & Ryu, J. H. (2007). Analysis of the hip joint moments in grand rond de jambe en l’air. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 11(3), 93-99.
Wilson, M., Lim, B. O., & Kwon, Y. H. (2004). A Three-Dimensional Kinematic Analysis of Grand Rond de Jambe en l’air Skilled Versus Novice Ballet Dancers. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 8(4), 108-115.
Mathematics and dance are deeply intertwined. Mathematical concepts can be used to understand dance at a more profound level and to create better choreographies, and at the same time dance analogies can make math lessons more vivid and accessible for the students.
Geometry – with its shapes, patterns, angles and symmetry – is perhaps the most apparent field of mathematics present in dance. Looking at a solo dancer frozen in one position, we can see the lines of the body, their angles and directions in relation to each other and to the room. In a moving group of dancers, we notice the lines and shapes created by the ensemble, their change with the music, and the patterns of beats that cause those changes.
|Look at this dancer in a grand plié in the second position on relevé, hands straight above the head. Her legs and the floor form a rectangle, meaning that the thighs are parallel to the floor and the shins are perpendicular to the floor. Thus, the angle at the knees is ninety degrees.
Her arms form a V-shape, so that an imaginary line connecting her palms forms a triangle. The dancer’s body is symmetrical around her spine.
Looking at her from above, the dancer’s body should follow as straight of a line as possible (that of course depends on how well the dancer can turn out her hips).
|Now, consider a dancer coming out of an attitude. Her spine is perpendicular to the ground. The extension of the front leg forms the axis with respect to which the back leg and the upper body mirror each other. As a consequence, the line passing through the front leg bisects the angle formed by the back thigh and the spine.|
|In addition, the line tangent to the curve of the upper body at the hips dissects the angle formed by the dancer’s thighs.
Finally, the arms form an ellipse with the dancer’s head being the lower focus.
In couple dances, apart from individual lines of each dancer, we also have shapes and patterns caused by the interaction of two bodies.
|In this tango pose the man’s and the woman’s bodies are in similar arrangements; in fact, one could construct the woman’s pose from the man’s using three simple actions: reflection, rotation and rescaling.
The rescaling causes the woman’s pose to become shorter and wider – her back leg reaches farther than the man’s back leg. She is exaggerating the movement to get lower, into the position of surrender typical for argentine tango.
Pieces involving more than one dancer often use the idea of translation. Translation of a pose is when several or all dancers of an ensemble perform the same movement at the same time. The geometry of translation, i.e. the location of each dancer, is independent of the pose and only subject to choreographer’s wish.
|The dancers form two parallel lines; the simplicity of the formation’s geometry emphasizes the beauty of proper ballet technique. However, depending on the feel of the piece, the choreographer might choose to place his dancers in a pyramid or a differently organized formation. Since dancers are three-dimensional creatures, their movements and poses exhibit different geometrical relations depending on the angle at which we are observing the piece.|
In addition, with groups, sometimes the formation has to be taken apart in order to see the geometric relationships – a challenging but very interesting task.
|Two dancers on the outside are in the same translated pose; their bodies define a splitting line for the remaining two ladies. Those fill in the vertical levels while bringing the ensemble together through the shapes their bodies create. The dancer in the front has the same leg arrangement as the outside ladies; she is exaggerating the knee bend to get into her position. The dancer in the back is opposing the other’s downward action. The dancers’ positions form a zig-zag line on the dance floor.|
Dance is always dynamic, and the changes in formations and shapes are the icing on the cake of dance geometry. The choreographers – often intuitively, sometimes knowingly – use the rules of mathematics to create pieces that look light and fluid. One of ways to ensure that is to consider all dancers together and look at the path travelled by the center of attention mass (CAM) of the ensemble. To calculate the CAM, instead of recording the body masses of the dancers, we would assign the weights based on the type of movement performed and how likely the moves are to attract the audience’s attention. For example, dancers that are off-stage would have zero weight, and a dancer leaping across the stage would carry more weight than a dancer frozen in a pose somewhere on the side. Or, depending on the atmosphere of the dance, a dancer crouching down and being still could have more weight than dancers moving around him. Thus, the weight of each dancer would vary throughout the piece, and so would the position of the CAM.
Geometry in dance is unavoidable. The moment a dancer enters the floor, his or her body and moves create shapes and patterns that simply wait to be noticed by the audience. Mathematics provides a helping hand in making these shapes perfectly aligned and therefore most pleasing to the eye.
Full text: Wasilewska, K. (2012). Mathematics in the world of dance. Proceedings of Bridges 2012: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture, 453-456.
In love with dancing but not sure where to start? Let us make you acquainted with the box step, a dear friend of any dancer. It is the best basic figure that can give you an effortless introduction into the world of dancing. The box is most common in American-style Waltz and Rumba, and can be danced both alone and with a partner. The principle of the box is always same, and the only thing that differs between dances is the rhythm of the step.
- Rhythm for the box step in waltz: 1-2-3, 4-5-6.
- Rhythm for the box step in rumba: 12-3-4, 12-3-4, or slow-quick-quick, slow-quick-quick. As you see, each “quick” equals to one beat, and each “slow” equals to two beats.
How to dance the box step
Place feet together and face your partner. Keep in mind that all steps should be of the same size for both.
- Move forward/backward: Leader steps forward with the left foot. Follower steps back with the right foot.
- Move to the side: Leader steps with the right foot to his right side. Follower steps with the left foot to her left side.
- Bring feet together: Leader places the left foot next to the right foot. Follower places the right foot next to the left foot. Both feet should be together.
- Move forward/backward: Leader steps back with the right foot. Follower steps forward with the left foot.
- Move to the side: Leader steps with the left foot to his left side. Follower steps with the right foot to her right side.
- Bring feet together: Leader places right foot next to the left foot. Follower places left foot next to the right foot.
Box step in waltz: 1-2-3, 1-2-3
Box step in rumba: Slow-Quick-Quick, Slow-Quick-Quick
In ballet we have five basic positions of feet
And five positions of arms
As ballroom dancers move up the competitive ranks, travel becomes not only the norm but an elemental necessity – whether it is for competition, coaching, taking lessons, performing, or judging. Top couples move not only on the ballroom floor but also around the world – and the more elite is the dancer’s status, the more travel becomes part of his or her status and identity.
Where do we go?
Large annual events such as dance camps and major competitions are surely important destinations. They serve as hubs bringing together top-skilled dancers and teachers, provide an opportunity to take lessons or get inspired by the crème de la crème and evaluate one’s level.
Mind you, there is no such thing as the competition location, because competitions occur at different locations as part of an ongoing, annual cycle. A similar pattern repeats itself as competitors travel to work with different coaches, at competitions, studios, or dance camps, and as coaches are brought in to coach at different locations.
Putting these pieces together, we start to see the dynamics by which ballroom community members live their lives and how fundamentally travel shapes them. We can begin to understand how and why such circulation itself can be said to serve as a “destination” within dancesport, since being in circulation emerges as a goal – a cornerstone of membership, competence, and identity.
Why do we do it?
Access to top quality coaching
Ballroom dancers start their careers locally, but as they climb up the competitive ranks, they eventually outgrow the training available to them nearby, regionally, or, for the best of the best, nationally, so they start to travel in order to receive better coaching. At lower levels, this usually involves travel to various “dance camps,” but as competitors continue to succeed, increasingly they bring in more advanced coaches or travel for regular coaching sessions.
Being up to date
The goings on of the competition circuit set the parameters and the direction in which norms are evolving for the larger world of ballroom practices. Participants take careful note of which competitors were there and how they placed in the competition. They ask whether there were any new partnerships. Which judges were there? Who was the DJ? Who was the photographer? Were there any particularly noteworthy new dresses and new trends? Was there a special performance and, if so, by which couples? Where was the event held, how was the accommodation, food, access to the local attractions?
All these items are part of the knowledge and activities that constitute the competition circuit. They are elements that can be confusing to the newcomer but become comfortingly familiar to the regular participant. Yet, as people come and go, as partnerships start and end, as champions arise and retire or get dethroned, the configurations shift. One needs to be there to stay “in the know”. Yet more than just familiarity with current goings-on is at stake.
Just as the dancing and costumes of ballroom dance competitors are designed to help them be seen on the competition floor, their wide-ranging travel raises their visibility and status as competitors and performers. This dynamic continues later in their careers as former competitors travel as coaches and judges. While little monetary reward comes from winning competitions, the most successful competitors are offered opportunities to perform and coach. Similarly, there is very little money to be earned by judging, but being a frequent judge, especially at the prestigious events, generates more demand for one’s services as a coach.
Being an expert is acting like one. In the case of competitive ballroom dancing, acting like an expert is certainly about how one dances but also about one’s participation in the ballroom community’s annual circuit. Active top competitors and coaches cannot leave the circuit without losing their status. For example, regardless of dancing ability, it is impossible to be credited as a ‘national level competitor’ (let alone finalist or champion) without actually competing at the national championships. This same dynamic is at play locally for newer competitors and geographically more broadly for top dancers.
Certainly, competitors of past years may be recalled with reverence and greeted with fond reminiscences and nostalgia, but their position as active participants in the ballroom world quickly shrinks when they are no longer seen regularly.
Whereas the casual participant is unlikely to invest the considerable time and money that go into developing competitive dancing, serious participants book multiple lessons per week – and even per day, with lessons typically priced from $50 to over $200. Perfecting a single step at the highest levels in the world can, quite literally, amount to $10,000 a step!
And precisely because other participants know the costs of participation, those who participate powerfully demonstrate their commitment to belonging. And the belonging, in turn, serves as a declaration of identity— who else would go to the trouble and expenses, after all?
Dancesport community is quite elitist. Travel is fundamental as a signal of one’s belonging within the competitive ballroom world. It provides the context in which ballroom identities are formed, and the arena in which the members mark their belonging by being seen.
What does it take?
First, it’s the cost and effort: the ballroom training, teaching, partnering, and competition opportunities regularly clash with the national residency restrictions, standards of living, and visa eligibilities.
Furthermore, serious dancesport competitors, judges, and vendors often spend more time on the road than at home each year. This has consequences for one’s family and non-dance friends, as holidays, birthdays, and various anniversaries are regularly missed. This creates a gradual disconnection, so that while dancers may enjoy coming home to their residences after a competition, they eventually start to feel out of touch and isolated if they stay there too long.
In fact, home residence stops being “home”. Instead, home comes to be found in a routine set of practices, a repetition of habitual interactions, in styles of dress and address, in memories and stories in one’s head. Home can be defined as place where one best knows oneself. And so, for more serious participants, the competitive ballroom circuit itself, with its familiar persons, practices and activities, becomes home.
The globe trotter Maurizio Vescovo
Italian-born and- trained Maurizio Vescovo partnered with Hungarian-born-and-trained Melinda Torokgyorgy. They lived in Italy, represented Hungary, and regularly trained in England for ten years. After winning the Amateur World Championship and competing together as professionals for another year, they dissolved their partnership. Maurizio went on to partner with Lithuanian Andra Vaidilaite and dance for Canada, while his former partner Melinda chose to partner with Andrej Skufca and dance for Slovenia.
Looking more closely at the image of Maurizio and Andra, we see not only the partnership between an Italian and a Lithuanian dancer, dancing for Canada, seen on the picture competing in the US, but also the international judges standing behind them, including:
- Michael Wentink: former World and Blackpool Professional Latin finalist, originally from South Africa. He competed as a professional for South Africa, US, and Japan (seen on the photo at the far right).
- Donnie Burns, MBE: former World and Blackpool Professional Latin Champion, from Scotland, president of the World Dance Council (WDC) (second from right).
- Rufus Dustin: former Professional US Champion in American style, International Latin, and Theatrical Arts, and World Exhibition Champion (third from right).
- Maxim Kozhevnikov: former World and Blackpool Professional Latin finalist, World Latin American Showdance Champion, and US Professional Latin Champion, originally from Russia (seen at far left).
Who the hell is Jim Gray?
Jim Gray and Sunnie Page lived in Oregon when they won the national Novice Standard title in 2001. With no significant dancesport population in the state at the time, it is understandable why a somewhat shocked and obviously disappointed fellow competitor was later overheard in the men’s changing room saying, “Who the hell is Jim Gray?” What this person failed to realize was that Jim and Sunnie traveled to New York on a monthly basis, staying for up to a week at a time, to receive coaching from then U.S. National Standard Champions and World Standard Finalists Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova. They also took lessons from the visiting coaches Jonathan and Katusha brought from England. In the years that followed, Jim and Sunnie went on to compete in Blackpool, England, the most prestigious ballroom competition in the world, and they used these trips as opportunities to seek out and obtain further coaching from many of the best in the world.
Rond de jambe par terre is one of main ballet exercises that increases the turn-out of the legs. Translated from French, it means circling the leg on the ground. You can do demi- (or half)-rond, or full rond de jambe. In the full rond de jambe, the toe traces a semi-circle on the floor around the body. The working leg moves steadily with the toe on the ground from the front to side, side to back and then past the stationary heel. Demi-rond de jambe means that the toe follows only half of this trajectory: From front to side, or from side to back, and then returns to the starting position.
Exercises for demi-rond de jamb:
Start in first position. First do two exercises en dehors:
a) On the first two beats of music, slide the foot of the extended working leg to the front;
on further two beats slide the foot to the side;
on the next two beats bring the foot to first position;
hold still in this position for two beats.
Repeat the exercise 4 times for each leg.
b) On two beats of music slide the foot to the side;
on two beats slide it to the back;
on two beats bring the foot in first position;
on two last beats hold still in this position.
Repeat the exercise 4 times for each leg.
Finally, repeat the exercises en dedans:
Perform the same movements as above to the reverse side:
Slide the foot first to the back, then to the side; thereafter, to the side, then to the front.
Exercises for full rond de jamb:
Start in first position. En dehors:
On the first and second beats of music, slide the working foot to the front, pointe tendu on the floor.
On the third and fourth beats, slide the foot to the side, pointe tendu on the floor.
On two beats of the following measure, slide the foot to the back, pointe tendu on the floor.
On the third and fourth beats, bring the foot back in first position.
Repeat the exercise 4 times en dehors and 4 times en dedans for each leg.
Working leg: The leg you are moving, as opposed to your standing leg
First position: Heels together, toes turned out to the maximum
En dehors: Forward direction
En dedans: Backward direction
Pointe tendue: The toes are fully pointed
Vera S. Kostrovitskaya, 100 Lessons in Classical Ballet. Limelight Editions, New York: Limelight Editions, 1993. Translated by Oleg Briansky.
Stretching is commonly used by athletes to increase their range of movement, as a warm-up or a cool-down. But do you know that there is more to stretching than just lowering into your favourite lunge or a split? There are three common stretching techniques:
The traditional and most common type of stretching, where a specific position is held with the muscle on tension to a point of a stretching sensation and repeated.
There are two types of dynamic stretching: active and ballistic. Active stretching involves moving a leg or an arm through its full range of motion to the end ranges and repeating several times (think grand battement in ballet). Ballistic stretching includes ‘bouncing’ at end-range of motion; however, because of increased risk for injury, it is no longer recommended.
Pre-contraction stretching involves a contraction of the muscle immediately before it is stretched. The most common type of pre-contraction stretching is called PNF: proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, where the athlete contracts the muscle in question at 75 to 100% of maximal contraction, holds for 10 seconds, and then relaxes. The resistance can be provided by a partner or with an elastic band or strap. Recent studies show that even weaker contractions of 20 or 60% may be just as effective.
An extensive review by Dr Phil Page of Louisiana State University compared research on these three stretching techniques. That’s what he found out:
First of all, all three types are effective for improving flexibility and muscle extensibility, although men seem to respond better to contract-relax stretching, while women benefit more from static stretching. The greatest change in range of movement with a static stretch happens between 15 and 30 seconds, and no increase in muscle elongation occurs after 2 to 4 repetitions.
Your flexibility increases already after eight weeks of static stretching; however, often static stretching training studies show an increase in range of movement due to higher stretch tolerance (ability to withstand more stretching force), and not extensibility (increased muscle length), which is the actual goal of stretching.
Quite a few studies found that the pre-contraction technique brings the highest immediate gains in the range of movement. The reason for this remains unclear. Many have assumed that muscle experiences a refractory period after contraction known as ‘autogenic inhibition’, where muscle relaxes due to neuroreflexive mechanisms, thus increasing muscle length. Some researchers have speculated that the increases in range of movement are related to higher tolerance to stretching. Finally, it is possible that the pre-contraction stretch lowers the excitability of a muscle which allows the muscle to relax.
Static, dynamic, and pre-contraction stretching can all be used as part of a warm-up routine to increase range of movement prior to exercise. But keep in mind that static and pre-contraction stretching right before exercise may decrease muscle strength and performance in running and jumping. This phenomenon has a name of “stretch induced strength loss.” The volume of stretching may also affect performance: For example, one research study found that 4 repetitions of 15-second holds of static stretching did not affect vertical jump, while 6 repetitions reduced performance. In contrast, dynamic stretching during a warm-up does not decrease muscle power or performance.
In general, stretching performed as part of a warm-up prior to exercise reduces passive stiffness and increases range of movement during exercise. Athletes requiring flexibility for their sports – such as dancers – will benefit most from static (ladies) or pre-contraction (gents) techniques. Dynamic stretching may be better suited for athletes requiring running or jumping performance during their sport.
Full text: Page, P. (2012). Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation. International journal of sports physical therapy, 7(1), 109.
«The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style»
«The mirror is not you. The mirror is you looking at yourself»
«I often say that in making dances I can make a world where I think things are done morally, done democratically, done honestly»
«Someone once said that dancers work just as hard as policemen, always alert, always tense, but see policemen don’t have to be beautiful at the same time»
«Ballet is not technique but a way of expression that comes more closely to the inner language of man than any other»
«Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance»
«I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself»
«Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion»
«You do an electic celebration of a dance! First you do Fosse, Fosse Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna! But you keep it all inside»
«You don’t enter a dance studio and say “I can’t do that.” If you do, then why are you in the studio in the first place? »
«I am a cloud – in trousers»
«Dance is a physical and mental workout. Once you get your body moving, you’ll see a difference»
«I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance, and I learned to dance by watching Charlie Chaplin act»
«Plié is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master»
«Ballet technique is arbitrary and very difficult. It never becomes easy… it becomes possible»
Agnes de Mille
«The effort involved in making a dancer’s body is so long and relentless, in many instances painful, the effort to maintain the technique so grueling that unless a certain satisfaction is derived from the disciplining and the punishing, the pace could not be maintained»
Agnes de Mille
«When you perform you are out of your self, larger and more potent, more beautiful. You are for minutes heroic. This is power. This is is glory on earth. And it is yours for the taking»
Agnes de Mille
«It is a temptation to exploit one’s technique because an audience is easily reached this way, but they cannot be moved by technique alone and to move an audience is the role of dance as an art»
«Choreography is mentally draining, but there’s a pleasure in getting in the studio with dancers and the music»
«God gives talent. Work transforms talent into genius»
«Master technique and then forget about it and be natural»
«Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away»
Antoine de Saint Exupéry
«Ballet is only good when it is great»
«Good choreography fuses eye, ear and mind»
«Hold your hands out gently. Ask others to do the same. See how different each person looks. Each person has their own unique and natural beauty. Use this natural beauty when you dance. Respect your individuality»
«Striving for a connection with the audience is essential because you are in the moment it is a give and take relationship. Catching someone’s eye during a performance makes it more special»
«To touch, to move, to inspire. This is the true gift of dance»
«The journey between who you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place»
Barbara De Angelis
«So many dancers rely on some sort of magic happening on the stage. They never, for various reasons, work full out in rehearsal. That’s very uncreative. They don’t discover the kinds of things that add up to a remarkable performance»
«The body is the source of amazing energy. This thing wants to live. It is a powerful engine. The brain (is) a reservoir of images, dreams, fears, associations, language. And its potential we can’t even begin to understand. Movement begins to negotiate the distance between the brain and the body and it can be surprising what we learn about each other»
Bill T. Jones
«Nothing happens in the body without happening in the brain first… dancing is 95% mental»
«The trained dancer must not only have grace and elegance, but also the leap of an Olympic hurdler, the balance of a tight-rope walker and panther-like strength and agility»
«Glorious bouquets and storms of applause are the trimmings which every artist naturally enjoys. But to move an audience in such a role, to hear in the applause that unmistakable note which breaks through good theatre manners and comes from the heart, is to feel that you have won through to life itself. Such pleasure does not vanish with the fall of the curtain, but becomes part of one’s own life»
Dame Alice Markova
«The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking oneself seriously. The first is imperative and the second disastrous»
Dame Margot Fonteyn
«When you fall, try it again… everyone falls the first time!»
«Technique is what you need to do to dance well, principally to make it feel good to your partner. Style is everything else you do when you dance, hopefully to make it look good to your partner, and your audience»
«It’s not magic! It’s physics. The speed of the turn is what keeps you upright»
«Nothing so clearly and inevitably reveals the inner man than movement and gesture. It is quite possible, if one chooses, to conceal and dissimulate behind words or paintings or statues or other forms of human expression, but the moment you move you stand revealed, for good or ill, for what you are»
«The dancer believes that his art has something to say which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing… there are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words. There are movements which impinge upon the nerves with a strength that is incomparable, for movement has power to stir the senses and emotions, unique in itself. This is the dancer’s justification for being, and his reason for searching further for deeper aspects of his art»
«I had to learn that slower is faster. If you practice every day with patience and correctness, you will get there. It’s like preparing for a jump. You can’t rush. You must summon the appropriate energy with split-second timing and have an understanding of purpose to get up in the air. It requires training, confidence and mental effort. You can’t have a vocabulary without the alphabet»
«Dance every performance as if it were your last»
«Do it big, do it right, and do it with style»
«I have no desire to prove anything by dancing. I have never used it as an outlet or a means of expressing myself»
«If the dance is right, there shouldn’t be a single superfluous movement»
«Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained»
«This search for what you want is like tracking something that doesn’t want to be tracked. It takes time to get a dance right, to create something memorable»
«Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire»
«I danced with passion to spite the music»
«Choreography is simpler than you think. Just go and do, and don’t think so much about it. Just make something interesting»
«Do you want to be a poet of gesture or do you want to be a physical entity? »
«Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance»
«First comes the sweat. Then comes the beauty if you’re very lucky and have said your prayers»
«God creates, I do not create. I assemble and I steal everywhere to do it – from what I see, from what the dancers can do, from what others do..»
«I could never make a ballet by wrinkling my brow and concentrating. If you set out deliberately to make a masterpiece, how will you ever get it finished?»
«I don’t want dancers who want to dance. I want dancers who have to dance»
«One is born to be a dancer. No teacher can work miracles, nor will years of training make a good dancer of an untalented pupil. One may be able to acquire a certain technical facility, but no one can ever ‘acquire an exceptional talent.’ I have never prided myself on having an unusually gifted pupil. A Pavlova is no one’s pupil but God’s»
«The choreographer and the dancer must remember that they reach the audience through the eye. It’s the illusion created which convinces the audience, much as it is with the work of a magician»
«I’m dancing to the music of the madness inside me»
George C. Wolfe
«The choreographer cannot deliberately make a ballet to appeal to an audience, he has to start from personal inspirations. He has to trust the ballet, to let it stand on its own strengths or fall on its weaknesses. If it reaches the audience, then he is lucky that round!»
«It always takes two. There’s the speaker and the listener, you and the audience. You’ve worked long hours and it comes down to that moment, that performance. The goal isn’t just to improve yourself, but to transport people»
«Some dancers dream about successful careers…and some dancers wake up and do the hard work that’s necessary to achieve them»
«Dances without purpose have false starts and stops»
«Long experience has taught me that the crux of my fortunes is whether I can radiate good will toward my audience. There is only one way to do it and that is to feel it. You can fool the eyes and minds of the audience, but you cannot fool their hearts»
«There are two basic elements to classical ballet. They are quality and quantity. Quantity is how much a dancer can physically do… the element that gives an artist the freedom to concentrate on quality, while quality is how he or she does it…quality of movement… the most difficult phase… requires long and arduous training»
«A dancer, if she is great, can give to the people something that they can carry with them forever. They can never forget it, and it has changed them, though they may never know it»
«Every movement that can be danced on the seashore without being in harmony with the rhythm of the waves, every movement that can be danced in the forest without being in harmony with the swaying of the branches, every movement that one can dance… in the sunshine, in the open country, without being in harmony with the life and the solitude of the landscape – every such movement is false, in that it is out of tune in the midst of nature’s harmonious lines. That is why the dancer should above all else choose movements that express the strength, health, nobility, ease and serenity of living things»
«I am seeking that dance which might be the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the body’s movement»
«If we seek the real source of the dance, if we go to nature, we find that the dance of the future is the dance of the past, the dance of eternity, and has been and always will be the same… The movement of waves, of winds, of the earth is ever the same lasting harmony»
«It has taken me years of struggle, hard work and research to learn to make one simple gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write one simple, beautiful sentence»
«Let us first teach little children to breathe, to vibrate, to feel, and to become one with the general harmony and movement of nature. Let us first produce a beautiful human being, a dancing child»
«My art is just an effort to express the truth of my being in gesture and movement. It has taken me long years to find even one absolutely true movement»
«Perhaps he was a bit different from other people, but what really sympathetic person is not a little mad?»
«The dancer of the future will be one whose body and soul have grown so harmoniously together that the natural language of the soul will have become the movement of the body»
«The only dance masters I could have were Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Walt Whitman and Nietzsche»
«The real American type can never be a ballet dancer. The legs are too long, the body too supple and the spirit too free for this school of affected grace and toe walking»
«To express what is the most moral, healthful and beautiful in art this is the mission of the dancer, and to this I dedicate my life»
«Do the steps that you’ve been shown, by everyone you’ve ever known, until the dance becomes your very own»
«Enjoy the process of learning to dance. The process of our profession, and not its final achievement, is the heart and soul of dance»
«The better dancers get, the crazier they are. Or free, if you don’t like crazy»
«Every teacher will tell you that you cannot dance classical technique with perfection, there is no such thing, there is no way. So you have to adapt the technique to your abilities or to your deficiencies. Learn to cheat!»
«Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement after censure is as the sun after a shower»
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
«If you look at a dancer in silence, his or her body will be the music. If you turn the music on, that body will become an extension of what you’re hearing»
«You don’t enter a dance studio and say “I can’t do that.” If you do, then why are you in the studio in the first place?»
«The really great dancer is perhaps a rarer phenomenon than great musicians, painters or sculptors. This is because dance is a consummation of all these arts. The dancer, in addition to the qualities that pure dance demands, must be sensitive to and have an uncanny ear for music, must have a painter’s sensibility to the significant line, a sculptor’s approach to form, an architect’s vision of space and a trained actor’s responses to dramatic situations»
K. Subhas Chandran
«Bravura has nothing to do with technique. It’s all about timing and oozing life»
«I think most dancers would agree that the art of ballet chooses the dancer, not the other way around»
«It is not the movements that make a dance beautiful, it is the emotions that inspired the movement that make it beautiful»
«Technique – bodily control – must be mastered only because the body must not stand in the way of the soul’s expression»
«After I perform, I hope the audience is excited, inspired, and taken away from their everyday grind or work. Perhaps even inspired enough to get up and dance themselves»
«The dance, more than any other art, lives through the genius of its interpreters»
«Dance for yourself. If someone understands, good. If not, no matter»
«All dance has expression. If there is no expression, I prefer the circus. The performers do more dangerous, more difficult technical things than we do. But we are dancers. We have to express and we have to project»
«Discipline is the mother of the art. Discipline is not militaristic, the dancer must be relaxed»
Maestro Hector Zaraspe
«A choreographic idea flows only as fast as the initiator can communicate it to bodies and see them realize it»
Marcia B. Siegal
«It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers»
«Movement without meaning is just exercise»
«Dance from your heart and love your music and the audience will love you in return»
«The vocabulary and manner of classical ballet express a high order of discipline and restraint, a sense of harmony with forces larger and more lasting than the individual»
Marcia B. Siegal
«A dancer must listen to his body and pay homage to it. Behind the movement lies this terrible, driving passion, this necessity. I won’t settle for anything less»
«Dancers today can do anything, the technique is phenomenal. The passion and the meaning to their movement can be another thing»
«Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths»
«First we have to believe, and then we believe»
«Freedom to a dancer means discipline. That is what technique is for – liberation»
«I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living…. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God»
«I did not want to be a tree, a flower or a wave. In a dancer’s body, we as audience must see ourselves, not the imitated behavior of everyday actions, not the phenomenon of nature, not exotic creatures from another planet, but something of the miracle that is a human being»
«In a dancer, there is a reverence for such forgotten things as the miracle of the small beautiful bones and their delicate strength»
«It is difficult to see the great dance effects as they happen, to see them accurately, catch them fast in memory. It is even more difficult to verbalize them for critical discussion. The particular essence of a performance, its human sweep of articulate rhythm in space and in time has no specific terminology to describe it by»
«It takes ten years, usually, to make a dancer. It takes ten years of handling the instrument, handling the material with which you are dealing, for you to know it completely»
«It’s what I always wanted to do: to show the laughter, the fun – the joy of dance»
«Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired»
«Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired»
«The spine is the tree of life. Respect it»
«Theater is a verb before it is a noun..»
«There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. And if you block it it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it»
«Think of the magic of that foot… upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle and the dance…is a celebration of that miracle»
«To learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same»
«To me, this acquirement of nervous, physical, and emotional concentration is the one element possessed to the highest degree by the truly great dancers of the world. Its acquirement is the result of discipline, of energy in the deep sense. That is why there are so few great dancers»
«We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life, to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life. This is the function of the American dance»
«You will only get out of a dance class what you bring to it. Learn by practice»
«I came to see that movement is one of the great laws of life. It is the primary medium of our aliveness, the flow of energy going on in us like a river all the time, awake or asleep, twenty-four hours a day. Our movement is our behavior, there is a direct connection between what we are like and how we move..»
«Be responsible, a good communicator, a good team player, while pursuing individual dreams, and understanding the pitfalls of being a perfectionist – a common characteristic among ballet staff and students around the world»
«The only weapon I had was my dancing. With that I fought like a general without an army. If I could have saved all the energy I wasted on my struggle, it would have sufficed me to cover a dozen ballets»
«The only way to do it is to do it»
«If you dance with your heart your body will follow»
«To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?»
«My goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance»
«The dance can be re-born with each song and in a different way by each couple»
«Dancers are made, not born»
«I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself»
«The problem is not making up the steps but deciding which ones to keep»
«There comes a moment in a young artist’s life when he knows he has to bring something to the stage from within himself. He has to put in something in order to be able to take something»
«Even today when I rehearse, I give it everything that I’ve got. If I’m in a performance and the lights go out, I glow in the dark. When you’re working before an audience, you have to make them feel like they can touch you. That’s the dancer within, reaching out»
«Everyday there must be something I can’t do, otherwise it’s boring»
«Dancers work and live from the inside. They drive themselves constantly producing a glow that lights not only themselves but audience after audience»
«Most people think of ballet as children in little tutus. They don’t know it is sweat, blood and tears as well!»
«A real ballerina must fill her space with her own personality»
«The more you understand the music, the easier you can dance»
«Dance has to unfold with the grace of a tree giving out leaves, flowers and then tiny fruit. Nothing so beautiful can be done in haste»
Pandit Birju Maharaj
«Good dancers awaken the joy in our hearts, we have seen them ablaze on stage, videos, on our streets, in the theaters, in our homes, schools and they have successfully ignited the love of dancing in our soul. At least, this is the major reason why dancers are born and made»
«People in the audience, when they’ve watched the dance, should feel like they’ve accomplished something, that they’ve gone on a journey»
«For a dancer, to be able to perform well, most of his waking hours must be devoted to preparing for the holy white instant of performance»
«So many dancers leave me untouched, unmoved. A dancer should be able to raise an arm and make someone cry, in the way Isadora Duncan did. It is a necessity for any art to move you»
«Awesome dancers have discovered the inner passion that transforms their movement into art»
«Poise is the finest point of balance it is possible to attain, both mentally and physically. The various parts of the physique having been adjusted truly to the centre of gravity, poise lifts the whole being to a point so delicate that it almost defies definition… Poise, the great law of equilibrium, is that second in infinity when action ceases and there is rest»
«Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration»
«I have performed for thousands when they found me exotic, the vogue, daring, but I have danced, at any given time, for about ten people… They were the ones that left the theater forever different from the way they were when they came in. All of my long, long life, I have danced for those ten»
Ruth St. Denis
«I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep, too fine for words»
Ruth St. Denis
«Our bodies are at once the receiving and transmitting stations for life itself. It is the highest wisdom to recognize this fact and train our bodies to render them sensitive and responsive to nature, art and religion»
Ruth St. Denis
«The real message of the dance opens up the vistas of life to all who have the urge to express beauty with no other instrument than their own bodies, with no apparatus and no dependence on anything other than space»
Ruth St. Denis
«We should realize in a vivid and revolutionary sense that we are not in our bodies but our bodies are in us»
Ruth St. Denis
«What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence»
«Even if you weren’t born with a genetically perfect body, you can take something like a hand, where everyone has the same capabilities, and you can make it speak. You can make it speak in many different ways»
«Dancing’s not work. You can’t call it work. A day I don’t dance is a day I don’t live»
Serpent of the Nile
«It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer»
«Then come the lights shining on you from above. You are a performer. You forget all you learned, the process of technique, the fear, the pain, you even forget who you are you become one with the music, the lights, indeed one with the dance»
«People tend to look at dancers like we are these little jewels, little cardboard cut-outs, and yet we have blood and guts and go through Hell»
«The dancer, or dancers, must transform the stage for the audience as well as for themselves into an autonomous, complete, virtual realm, and all motions into a play of visible forces in unbroken, virtual time… Both space and time, as perceptible factors, disappear almost entirely in the dance illusion»
Susanne K. Langer
«Although we do come from a silent profession, it is important for us to verbalize what we want to say. (As I tell my students): you could love someone all your life, but if you never say it how are they going to know? There comes a point when you have to say what you mean, which makes you scream louder when you dance. »
«Dancers are a great breed of people. And they really want to do is dance so you don’t have to beg them to work. However, dancers sometimes build walls around themselves because they are presenting themselves all the time: dancing is very much a confession»
«The only way you can be different is to be yourself. If you don’t find your spirit and reveal it, you just look like every other dancer»
«When you are on stage you don’t see faces. The lights are in your eyes and you see just this black void out in front of you. And yet you know there is life out there, and you have to get your message across»
«I just know that when I go on stage, I give everything I have, not only my legs, not only my feet, not only my body. I try to tell a story. Sometimes I’m able to cry because I feel like it. Sometimes I’m able to love because I feel like it»
«Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard»
«Persevere, don’t let someone tell you’re not good. This business is very subjective»
«You have to believe there’s something at the other side. And you have to have faith in yourself. You have to think that you have the tools to accomplish it»
«Our profession creates illusions. It is not a matter of having a perfect body, but of dancing in such a way as to look perfect»
«Practicing is not forced labor, it is a refined art that partakes of intuition, of inspiration, patience, elegance, clarity, balance, and above all, the search for ever greater joy in movement and expression»