bad tumblr queue!

so you guys may have noticed that my queue never seems to work properly…I’m terribly sorry about that!

07/26/2011
21:00
i have hyper extended and kind of bowed legs so when i stand in first, its hard to get my thighs to not have gaps, and if i do i usually have to squeeze them so much i lose the right placement of my lower back, do i just need to strengthen?

First I’m going to direct you to basic info on bowlegs.

Then I’m going to say that the short answer is YES! You need to strengthen! And you need to be as aware as you can as often as you can. The best way to improve will be slowly and diligently by practicing correct placement in the classroom.

Dancers with hyperextended and bowed legs tend to have a “swayback,” so it’s possible that when you squeeze your legs together and feel like you’re losing your placement of your lower back, you may actually be right on, as weird as it feels. This is a good video about correct ballet posture. Normally I would say she tucks her pelvis too much, but she’s overcompensating for a swayback. Look in the mirror, relax into your hyperextension, and see if you have a swayback. You may need to overcompensate!

Hyperextended and bowed legs generally need strengthening in the hamstrings (inner thighs), glutes/rotators, and supinators/pronators (ankles and lower leg muscles). You may also need to work on using your psoas rather than your quad muscles. Here’s a post on using your psoas that should be helpful. It includes exercises for the inner thighs (hamstrings). This post and this post on turnout will also be a big help, and include exercises for glutes/rotators and ankles.

Do you have any pain associated with ballet turnout and posture? Specifically in your knee and hip joints? If so, you should see a physical therapist and speak at length with a teacher that knows your dancing. They will be able to help you with more specifics than I can!

Hi can you please give advice and stretches on how to imrpove an arabesque that is at 90 degrees?

Hi there! I’m glad to hear that you’ve achieved 90 degrees! Time to push it, eh? Continue with any stretches or exercises you are already doing, pushing yourself to do more reps, hold things longer, stretch a little further, etc. Push yourself to lift a tad higher and hold a extra few seconds in class, etc. It will come in time!

Additionally, check out these posts on penché. Then check out this post on back flexibility.

If you still have questions or something more specific than I’ve addressed in those posts, please let me know!

And remember that not everyone’s body has potential to be a contortionist!

my teachers are always slamming on me for having horrid ballet walking/running in variations. i never thought walking would be so hard but i absolutely can not get this! any advice for how i can fix it?

Yes, ballet runs/walks are quite challenging! (Keep it a secret from the Muggles!) We used to practice walks and runs every day after grand allegro. Watch any videos of professional ballet dancers, find the spots in Classical variations where they are running or walking, and study study study!

I’m not sure what specific corrections you’ve been given, but the main things to think about in ballet walks and runs are:

  • High demi pointe!!!! Lift those arches! You should be walking around in your highest possible relevé. Exercises and pointers for demi pointe.
  • in walking, make sure your weight is forward over your big toes and medial metatarsals (ball of the foot) and your torso is lifted with good posture (let your head float up like a balloon)
  • belly button to spine for better control of all your limbs, especially when running
  • always present the heels forward as you would in a piqué arabesque or a tendu
  • avoid shuffling the feet (you know what I mean!)
  • Fully extend the legs out in front of you all the way to a pointed toe when you run…like you would when you take flat-footed ballet steps not up on your demi-pointe. When you run, your torso isn’t forward like a normal human running. Your heels and toes lead, not your torso. If you watch professional ballerinas running, notice how their legs actually flit out and extend fully in front of their bodies. It feels really bizarre and awkward at first, like you’re doing some weird mazurka step kicking your feet out in front…but look at how they do it, and compare it to how a normal person runs. Pay attention to how the ballerina’s legs extend and point out in front. It’s almost like that one part in the dance of the Little Swans where they do those funny little kicks out in front and behind. They’re constantly switching weight between feet, but each exchange is a quick extended kick out to the front. One foot continuously replaces another, there is no dwelling in between. Does that make sense? Start out slowly until you’ve mastered the motion before increasing your speed.
  • EDIT: I forgot to mention the importance of a soft plié in running/walking as well as the importance of articulating the feet as they peel off and on the floor into a point. Think pas de cheval and flic-flac for the articulation of the feet. Keep a soft plié so you don’t look like the Tin Man, but keep your weight and momentum constantly traveling forward over your toes. Keep the head light and lifted.

I hope that helped. It’s difficult to explain ballet runs in typed words. I tried to find videos but all that came up were pre ballet students and non-dancers trying to look graceful in ridiculous shoes. I’m going to keep trying to find good examples and see if I can make a good slow motion gif of runs and walks (eventually!)

Let me know if you have a more specific correction that I didn’t address here.

im at a summer intensive and i cant turn for my life. i can on my right, but my left is just terrible and my teacher is getting pretty frustrated with me. she told me i could do a single.......i was furious....

Cheer up!

Multiple pirouettes are simply sustained single turn balances with multiple spots!

Once you’ve mastered a single pirouette, the multiples will come…it’s all mind over matter. Since doing multiples on the left doesn’t seem to be working for you, your teacher’s tactic may be to try to encourage you to perfect your singles and boost your confidence in them before you start adding more turns. If you keep doing multiple pirouettes in frustration and fatigue, your body will learn inefficient and incorrect muscle memory. Even worse, you will lose confidence, and pirouettes are all about confidence! Better to build correct muscle memory on the singles before adding more spots.

Or maybe she is just trying to light a fire under your ass… ;)

Take your frustrated energy and turn it into something positive! It will do you no good to direct it at yourself or your teacher.

If you feel like she’s getting frustrated with you, remember that your teacher is only human. Maybe she feels like she’s been giving you the same correction over and over and doesn’t feel like you’re taking her advice? Just a thought. I don’t know if you’re still at that intensive with that instructor, but something you might want to do is ask her after class to give you a couple of pointers. That will show her how dedicated you are.

Chin up! Pirouettes are about confidence! Multiples are simply extra spots added to a sustained balanced single turn. Be okay with returning to the base in order to improve on the more advanced. Professional ballet dancers still have to do pliés and tendus every day. And it’s okay to get frustrated and upset, but don’t let it fester. Turn that energy into a positive and use it to your advantage!

Hello! I recently created a blog dedicated to Mos Wanted crew and I was hoping you could check it out and if you like it follow? And possibly promo it to your followers? It would mean alot! Thanks so much! Here's the name of the blog: moswanted-crew

This is a secondary blog so I can’t follow, but danceaintelitist’s followers will see this post :)

Stumbled on your blog recently and I swear it's one of the most helpful and inspiring dance tumblrs I've come across.

Thank you so much for the tips and advice, I've a competition coming up and your posts are just heaven sent :') MUCH LOVEE!!!

Much love to you! I love hearing that you find this blog helpful! Merde on your competition (if it hasn’t already happened!)

07/08/2011
14:07
wow your blog is amazing :)

Thank you so much!

stimulatingintellect started following you

thank you for all the love darling :*

How can I get to be able to do things like this? * sorry I know its a RIDICULOUSLY long url,

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40230000/jpg/_40230243_gymnast_legs144.jpg&imgrefurl=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/sa/special_events/gymnastics/newsid_3762000/3762241.stm&usg=__aeXhyJmNzneOK4ITpE8tR_ug4z4=&h=167&w=144&sz=10&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=dIlTOWtGZ9QqIM:&tbnh=130&tbnw=114&ei=q672TcD5GIbUgAfpqLSUDQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dgymnastics%2Blegs%2Bover%2Bhead%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1680%26bih%3D858%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=450&vpy=114&dur=711&hovh=133&hovw=115&tx=87&ty=73&page=1&ndsp=52&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0&biw=1680&bih=858

Hello darling!

Those darn gymnasts! Let me know if you get there, because I’ve never been this flexible, that’s for sure! Part of it IS natural, some people can’t ever be quite THAT bendy. Looking at the picture, you can see that it’s pretty much all lumbar spine, abs/psoas, hamstring, and hip socket flexibility. Her neck is pretty whacked, too (too much IMHO).

YOGA! Yoga is absolutely the best way to increase your flexibility. Yoga increases your overall soft tissue elasticity, which will greatly enhance your ability to push your ballet stretches! Start with a guided beginner’s yoga routine that has a focus on low back and hip/pelvic girdle flexibility. Search YouTube and Netflix until you find a routine that you like with an instructor that you like. Slowly work your way up and allow your body time to change and adjust. It’s always best to start out low key and pain free. Stretching should feel GOOD.

Here are stretches to eventually work your way toward in yoga:

Here’s a fun little gravity-assisted stretch you can do using the back of the couch while watching TV:

EDIT: I should also refer you to this penché post. Scroll down to check out the stretches for back, hamstrings, and arabesque!

if youre going to an SI is eating 1200 calories still ok? or should you be eating more if youre trying to lose weight when youre there

NOT RECOMMENDED!!! 1200 calories a day is what you burn WITHOUT doing ANY extra exercise (i.e. a regular day at school sitting, typing, and moving around a little bit)! A summer intensive is the OPPOSITE of no extra exercise Xp

Better to eat small healthy snacks like yogurt or a handful of almonds throughout the day to keep your metabolism rolling. Then eat smaller portions of healthy meals at meal times (leave a couple bites on your plate and skip dessert and soda pop). Add a little exercise in the morning, like a short walk or some jumping jacks and crunches to start the day with a higher metabolism. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast (protein and/or fruit) to get your metabolism up in the morning. (Skipping breakfast and depriving yourself of food puts your body in “starvation mode” so that it tries to retain any calories you eat rather than burn them). Eat when you’re hungry.

Bear in mind that you might actually GAIN muscle mass during the intensive, so you might even gain weight. Don’t panic. Look at your body and how your clothes fit. Numbers on a scale don’t really mean anything.

Go here to calculate how many calories you need to function in periods of high activity and how many calories you need to cut per week to lose a couple pounds of fat a week. BUT REMEMBER MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE THAN FAT and you will most likely gain muscle at the SI.

Oh yeah, and drink lots of water and get lots of rest! Health = good.

I think dancers have the best bodies but for those of us who are not great dancers, what exercises do you recommend to get the toned lower body and stomach?

Pilates Pilates Pilates!!!

I recommend any guided beginner’s Pilates routine, which can be found on Netflix and YouTube. Do not try to do too advanced of a routine without a live instructor. It’s too easy to do the exercises incorrectly, which can snowball into other problems.

Moira Stott-Merrithew is very good. An excellent beginner’s routine is “Stott Pilates: Pain-Free Posture.” It’s gentle, it’s not crazy difficult, and it’s a really nice, well-rounded workout that will tone your body and improve your posture (which makes you LOOK thinner too!)

i have a friend ( and this isnt one of those im saying its my friend but its really me moments its really my friend, hahaah ) who dances and she absolutely couldnt ever lose weight just dancing so when she went on break from it she didnt wanna gain anything so she .. i dont think this qualifies as an eating disorder but she cut waaaaaaay down and just eats like two small healthy meals a day and she lost like 7 pounds in two weeks. is that just water weight or actual weight?

Hmmmm…I’m just speculating, but a good chunk of her weight loss probably IS water weight. The first few pounds of weight loss are almost always water weight, especially when you lose the weight by cutting back on caloric intake, and especially when you lose those first pounds fairly quickly. And 7 pounds in 2 weeks IS pretty quick. A healthy, natural, sustainable weight loss rate is 1 to 2 pounds per week!

It’s definitely NOT healthy to only eat two small meals a day. That’s water weight loss and weight loss from your body “eating itself” because it’s not getting enough calories to function! On average, women need something like 1200 calories a day just to sit and sleep and breathe and perform involuntary body functions! (At my age, height, and weight, I need 1700 a day if I don’t do any exercise). And in the long run, dieting like that doesn’t do any good. When you lose weight from suddenly switching to a diet that can’t and shouldn’t be maintained long term, you’re just going to gain it back eventually! It’s better to simply eat healthier, diverse foods and add cardio exercise to your lifestyle to form new habits that can be maintained.

So short answer: yes, probably a good bit of water weight :) Knock some sense into that girl!

EDIT: You can calculate things like what a healthy weight loss rate is for you and how many calories to burn a week to achieve that by clicking here. And remember, it’s not best to lose weight by simply cutting back on caloric intake. You should also BURN some of those calories by adding some cardio exercise!