What I’ve noticed with working with many dancers over the years is at times, ankle mobility, hip mobility or lumboplevic stability can negatively affect alignment during dance movement.

The plie is a fundamental movement not only in ballet but in all dance forms. It is the preparation for jumps, turns, acoustic sounds and all propulsion.

This is why regardless of the dancer’s main discipline, I assess plie.

Another common misconception is that turnout (external “outward” rotation of the hip joint) is generated equally by both hips.

This is not the case. The favoured gesture leg and vs supporting leg can present with contrasting mobility.

In this dancer, the right ilium has an anterior tilt due to tightness in the deep hip flexor (iliopsoas). What most forget is that the deep hip flexor is also an INTERNAL rotator of the hip. In other words, it opposes turnout.

During her dance conditioning session, we focused on the engagement of turnout from the deep external rotators of the hip joint using bands and tactile cues in addition to focusing on foot, spinal and pelvic alignment.

The result was level heels at the bottom of grand plie which improved a balanced turnout generation from not hips as well as stability from the lumboplevic area.

The awareness gained from this can continue to dance training in class and can prevent any injury from developing in the ankle, knee, hip or spine in the future.

Here is another example of dancer demonstrating similar alignment issues on the opposite side.

Being aware of these alignment issues can be overlooked in a class setting when the dance educator is responsible for a general overview of the movement. This is why private dance assessments and conditioning in conjunction with manual therapy by a knowledgeable practitioner is key to the success of a dancer with serious goals.

Unlock facility to unlock artistry.

If you are or have a dancer that would like to be assessed, book your appointment online.

This is one of my favorite dance conditioning sequences that I developed to challenge balance, core and coordination. Using a small pilates ball increases the level of difficulty to maintain the lines in the lower limb and spine. Breath control and ease of movement are all challenged here. This exercise prepares for choreography and provides musicality that gets you out of your head and back into your body.

In one exercise, the following will be developed and challenged:

1. Dynamic core stability
2. Ability to move in neutral spinal alignment
3. Strong leg lines
4. Controlled, graceful ports de bras
5. Diaphragmatic breath without compromising transverse abdominus engagement
6. Thoracic extension
7. Lumbopelvic stability
8. Pelvic floor activation and endurance (hello!)
9.Musicality

And most importantly,

You are conditioning while you dance.

Dance gets you out of your head and back to your body so you can begin again.

You don’t have to be a dancer to try this out.

What dance skills do you think this will prepare you for?

Here are 2:
1. Barrel turns
2. Side tilts

Comment below to add to the list.

Stability must be established before movement. In dance, the shoulder girdle must be strong to support the movement of the performer’s arms. Arm movements help to counter the movements of the legs and neck. In dance, movement will not be controlled or graceful without strength and stability in the shoulder girdle, abdominals and pelvis.

Endurance in the scapulothoracic muscles ensures the following:
1. The dancer avoids developing tension in the upper traps
2. Graceful movement in the arms and shoulders
3. Balance, jumps and turns are effortless

Here is a lat pull down and core strengthening exercise on the Pilates Tower Trainer.

Dance inherently trains the body about spatial awareness, balance and the emotional connection to music.  It is the simplest way to develop your ability to listen to your body’s internal cues.

Many of my patients are disconnected to their bodies. The onset of injuries shock them, their strain is annoying and pain is an inconvenient symptom. What they don’t realize is that the body has been whispering messages to them for many years. It is only until the body “goes on strike” with a debilitating injury, that my patients start to listen then come to my office.

Move!  Fshutterstock_109846025eel joy in your movement, are you free? are you restricted?

It’s time to listen.

running-outside-with-waterbottle1

It’s easy to believe that you can continue at the same pace and intensity from where you left off last spring when you haven’t trained all winter. The weather is warmer and you may have registered for some races to motivated you.  Here are some tips to keep your goals realistic and increase activity in a healthy way.

1. Are your shoes still good?

Even if they look good they may have run it’s course (no pun intended).  Running/walking shoes should have a cushiony and supportive upper (ball of the foot part of the shoe). There should be some resistance when you bend your shoe in half from the sole.  If you can do this too easily, then you need new shoes! The more mileage you have, the more often you need to replace them. Even if you are a minimalist runner, meaning you are anti-cushioning, running footwear must still be up to date.  This will not deter your ability to feel the road.

2. Be realistic. 

If you’re a bit rusty, be honest with yourself and don’t pick up from where you left off last spring. Increase your level of intensity in a gradual way. There are many apps and resources that can help you with a running training program.  When you use an objective method to increase your running distance, injuries can be prevented. If you signed up for the Toronto Nike 15K run in June, Nike has great information here: http://content.nike.com/content/dam/one-nike/en_us/running/nwes-toronto-15k/training-program.pdf The information integrates information on how to safely increase your running distance and incorporate cross training.

3. Cross Train

Strength conditioning of your core muscles like transverse abdominus, obliques, glut medius and pelvic floor will help prevent IT Band issues, low back and knee pain that often develop from an unstable lumbar and pelvis. Remember, distance running is about endurance not power, so make sure that your muscles are ready for the distance.  Overall resistance training of upper and lower body will also improve performance.

4. Stretch it out

Working out new muscles will cause muscle soreness as your body adapts to your new activity. Stretching will reduce muscle stiffness and pain. Keeping the fascia mobile will help to prevent injury and improve motion. Also, don’t just focus on your legs.   A loose jaw, neck, chest and hand help to ensure that breathing is effortless during your runs.

5. Begin!  A body that hasn’t run in a while will think of many excuses. Just get started and remember you run for the joy.  Enjoy being outside.  Running is fun.

If you need help with your alignment. I am happy to get your body back into shape.  A body that is aligned can absorb shock better and injuries can be prevented.  Chiropractic, acupuncture, myofascial release and kinesiotape are all tools to keep you moving. Email info@dblessyl.com for more information.

Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life.