Shadow

Dance exercise program for back and leg strength

According to dancer teacher, choreographer and artistic director to the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Robert Cohan, building strength in the back and the thighs is essential if dancers are able to take their own weight via their backs and thighs when moving upwards from the floor [The Dance Workshop, George Allen & Unwin, 1986]. With increased strength, this movement may be executed with control, grace and minimal unsteadiness. During dance routines, the dance teacher must ensure that the correct technique is practiced to avoid injury and to aid those who might find the exercises difficult at first.

Dance exercise program for back and leg strength

Dance Lesson Plan on Floor Exercises

The dance teacher may differentiate for diverse abilities within the dance class by omitting certain movements and prescribing extra exercises. The Sun Salutation yogic movement is ideal for developing flexibility and strength in this area. The breaths must be controlled with the movement and pauses to occur to a count of four. Warm ups are advisable first.

Preliminary Floor Exercise to Promote Leg Strength

The floor sequence for developing back and leg strength may be divided into three sections at first, and then practiced as one continuous movement when the students are ready. The first part is as follows:

Begin by placing the hands and knees on the floor with feet tucked under.
Push the hands against the floor as though to force the body weight back onto the feet.
Move back onto the heels in a crouched position. Try to relax the legs and remain balanced in this position for a count of four.
Push the feet against the floor and allow the hands to fall back onto the floor.
This movement may be repeated slowly several times.

Follow Up Floor Exercise for Hamstrings

Begin by placing the hands and knees on the floor with feet tucked under as before.
Slowly straighten the knees and lower the soles of the feet to the floor, keeping the hands on the floor.
Adjust the body weight so that it is equally distributed throughout the hands and feet. The body should form an inverted V shape. Again maintain to a count of four.
Gently fold the knees to return to the original position. This movement may be repeated several times.

Exercise to Develop Flexibility in the Spine

Begin by placing the hands and knees on the floor with feet tucked under as before.
Form an inverted V shape as instructed in the follow up.
Keeping the hands and feet on the floor, twist the body gently from the lower spine to the right, so that the right hand and foot are taking more weight than the left.
Turn the head to face the right.
Allow the left knee to bend and the left shoulder to twist downwards and the left elbow to touch the floor. Pause for a count of four.
Straighten up to the V position.
Repeat for the left side of the body.
The movement may be repeated slowly several times.

Differentiation in Dance Student’s Ability

The back and leg sequences may be adjusted to form one continuous movement when the students show improvement in flexibility and strength in the back and the thighs. However, each dance student will develop at his own pace and may require adjustment in the routine. With further practice, the students may discover further ease in rising to a standing position during a dance routine.

Dance Sequence for Improving Back and Leg Strength

Moving to a standing position with control and grace during dance routines requires strength and flexibility in the back and the legs otherwise the dancer may wobble or even lose balance. The dance teacher may formulate floor exercises to help the dance students maintain control during this movement when performing a dance routine.

Strengthening Exercises for Dancers

The following exercises will help you to strengthen your feet and ankles and better prepare you for the strenuous performance season ahead.

Ankle Alphabet. Sit on a chair and lift your right leg slightly, so that the foot can dangle in a relaxed position and not touch the foor. Using your right ankle and foot only, trace the letters of the alphabet in the air, A to Z. When complete, switch legs and trace the alphabet with your left ankle and foot.

Plantar Fascia Stretch (Arch Stretch). Stand on a stair or small platform. Slide your right foot back until only the ball of the foot is on the stair, with the heel behind you. Push your right heel down toward the floor until you feel a stretch in the arch of your right foot. Hold this position for three seconds, and then switch feet. Repeat this stretch once more on each side.

Toe Curl. Sit on a chair and put a towel, tee shirt, or other piece of material on the floor in front of you. With the balls of your feet resting on the edge of the fabric closest to you, slowly bunch up the towel and bring it towards you by curling and uncurling your toes. This exercise can also be done while sitting on the floor, with knees slightly bent.

Gastroc Stretch (Calf Stretch). Stand in a lunge position, facing a wall, with your right foot back, leg straight, and left leg bent. Keeping your right heel on the floor, lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your right calf. Hold this position for five seconds, and then switch legs. Repeat this stretch once more on each side.

Heel Raise (Eleve). Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart, hands on your hips. Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet into eleve. Hold this position for five seconds, lower your heels to the floor, and repeat four more times.

Heel Raise (Eleve) Single. Stand on your left foot only, with the right leg bent and right foot off the floor. Repeat the eleve exercise five times, rising onto the ball of your left foot only. Repeat this exercise with your right foot only. Remember to engage your core muscles in your abdomen, and keep your focus on one point, so that you can balance through this exercise.

Toe Raise. Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart, hands on your hips. Slowly rock back onto your heels, lifting your toes off the ground. You will want to lean slightly forward to counterbalance your weight. Hold this position for five seconds, lower your toes to the floor, and repeat four more times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.