Dance Book Club Anyone?

Recently I discovered that my university’s library has a small collection of dance-related books. I first went searching for them when I wanted to read Conditioning for Dance. Unfortunately, at the time, despite the library listing the book as being there, I couldn’t find it. I did however find Conditioning for Dancers. I haven’t read much of it (I’ve got some serious course reading to do now that my last semester of college has started and I’m enrolled in a Popular Fiction course–hello a novel a week). It looks really useful though, and it has some useful stretching techniques I’ve spotted as I flipped through the book. I also grabbed Dance Analysis: Theory and Practice, since I figured it might provide some helpful insight for writing critiques of dance performances.

When I read this article over at 4Dancers about The Pointe Book, I had to check to see if it was at my library. The books contains almost everything you’d want to know about pointe shoes, from their history, how to get fitted for pointe shoes, how to sew ribbons and elastic and care for them, how to teach pointe, information about pointe related injuries and treatment, and perhaps one of my favorite features of the book, sample pointe classes ranging from the first day pointe class from the American School of Ballet to adult pointe level

Cover of "The Pointe Book"

classes.

I also picked up Ballet 101, a complete guide to learning and loving ballet (which I haven’t read any of) because my knowledge of actual ballets is kind of lacking. I want to pick up a copy of The Ballet Companion as well; it looks like it could be a good resource.

Have you read any dance books? Which ones would you recommend?

Floor Barre (and why can’t I take ballet in a swimming pool?)

dance-academy-heatwave-cart-c19In a post on my old blog (around the time I first injured my ankle/leg), I posted about how I wished I could do ballet in a pool. I’ve always really enjoyed swimming (I was a lifeguard full-time for four summers and part-time for two summers). I first got the idea from an episode of Dance Academy entitled Heatwave where the academy holds their barre class in the pool because it’s too hot and the air conditioning in the studio is broken.

While I have messed around with barre exercises a little in the pool, I don’t really have a place where I can put this into practice as my school only has lap swimming at odd times. So I’ve been looking into floor barre, or doing exercises normally done at the barre while sitting or lying on the floor, as an alternative.

This Dance Advantage article entitled “How Low Can You Go?”  lists several benefits of floor barre, including it being good for injuries, developing strength, and helping to improve with movement execution (including realizing what you might be doing wrong with bad habits).

While there are no floor barre classes in Philadelphia (that I could find) you can find a list of instructors of the method developed by Zena Rommet here. Another book I’ll be looking into checking out at the library is Maria Fay’s Floor Barre.

Would you ever consider doing floor barre or taking a floor barre class?

Beginner Ballet Tips: Exercises for Pointe

Just some quick exercises to strengthen for pointe using a barre while wearing pointe shoes. I’ve been working on some of the exercises we do in class, but I figured I could definitely use something I could work on at home since my pre-pointe classes are only running every other week at this point.

As always, don’t try these exercises without any prior pre- pointe or pointe  experience, and be careful.

How do you practice pre-pointe or pointe safely at home?

Core Activation and Pilates

Curso de Instructor de Pilates

Check out this link for Grown Ups at the Barre about core activation and how important it is for ballet dancers.

I completely agree with the author, there is no substitute for actually attending a Pilates class, but like she says, we’re busy adults and it’s not always possible (not to mention, sometimes crazy expensive, and shelling out for ballet classes every week can be enough of a stress on your bank account).

She links to a video on the Five Principles of Pilates as a great starting point for those who can’t make it to a real class.

Do you do workout DVDs?

Ugly Feet

(Note: This is a repost from my old blog, so some of you may have already read it)

KAITLYN JENKINS, EMMA DUMONT

Dancers (especially ballet dancers, because of dancing en pointe) are known for having rather beat up feet. It’s been brought up on several dancing-focused shows like Breaking Pointe, Dance Academy, and of course, on Bunheads, where the girls enter an Ugly Feet contest for dancers (and win).

Despite that all the major ballerinas having less-than-pretty feet, I didn’t expect this to become a problem for me, since I only take once or two classes a week.

But, ugh, I was wrong. At class on Tuesday, two of my toenails cut into the sides of my toes (I keep my feet well-groomed mind you) and my left big toe’s nail started peeling back again (I slipped once in the pool locker room and OUCH! bent my entire toenail back).

On top of all that, my ankles often get black and blue (because they’re so weak) which results in me taping them like crazy (although the bright pink KTTape I just bought I must say looks pretty cool).

I think I see a pedicure in my future.

Do you have “Ugly Feet” because of dancing? What do you do to make your feet pretty again?

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post to help me enter in a DanceAdvantage contest: Top Dance Blog Contest 2013: Recreational Dancer

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