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I would like to start a thread dedicated to dance training and BW strength training exercises that compliment a dancer's skill set. I see there are at least a few of us on here, let's have a common meeting area.

 

Topics I'm interested in discussing include, but are not limited to:

 

Introductions: What form of dance do you do? What's your background?

 

Troubleshooting: What challenges do you face during class/practice, and, are you working to improve outside of class?

 

Goals: What movements or techniques do you aspire to do?

 

General: share tips, rant, and ask questions

  • Like 3

Olivia Benson


Began 1/14/14

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My training is primarily in ballet. I took classes throughout grade school and high school, and then majored in dance at UC Irvine. I only completed 2 years of the program before taking a very long sabbatical. 

 

Now it's been almost 10 years, with the occasional class here and there. I still love dancing, and I would love to start training again more regularly. The challenge for me is that jumping back into ballet is so difficult physically. Plus, surmounting the social hurdle of being an outsider at a new school is tough. 

 

Ideally, I would love to become involved in a contemporary/modern/lyrical technique. Does anyone in Portland, OR take a class like this and love it?

 

To get back in shape I've been doing BW strength training. As a dancer, my #1 weakness was my core, so I've been planking! One very cool, incredible challenge I am aspiring towards is the planche. I expect the progression towards the planche will keep me busy for quite a while.

 

Does anyone have suggestions for exercises that would improve jumps and leaps? Like, increasing height off the ground? I want to become a jumping master!

Olivia Benson


Began 1/14/14

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You know, for the Adventurer's mini challenge this week I picked trying out dance and I was wondering if there was a dancers' forum somewhere!

I've literally just started (apart from a couple of years of highland dancing when I was about 7 and 8, and ceilidh dancing in gym during high school sometimes) but I'm really interested in learning Bollywood dance and ballroom dancing. My big problem is just keeping up for more than 15 minutes at a time!

 

Good luck with the planche!

  • Like 2

Sarah Barr - Level 13 Warhobbit

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I dance Ceroc, or Modern Jive as it is sometimes called (not competitively, just socially) and I find the most useful exercises are anything that strengthens your core (planks are indeed great!) and pistol squats. This is particularly noticeable with dips. If I can hold my core tight and take most of my own weight through whichever leg my weight is on at the time (hence the pistol squats) the man I am dancing with hardly has to do anything! I have had guys comment that I am easier to dip than other, lighter girls, simply because I am strong enough to support myself and not become dead weight in his arms! 

  • Like 1

Level 4 Halfling Ranger

"I see the girl running, with no shoes on her feet, jumping shade to shadow, in this deafening heat." - Passenger 

 

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Olivia, assuming your leap technique is good (which seems like a safe assumption) I would think that strengthening your legs would be a good step towards improving leap height. Some variation of squats for strength and some sort of jumping exercise for explosiveness maybe? 

 

I do modern, jazz, and a little tap. Have done a bit of ballet. I've been dancing for about six years. Having started so late, I don't expect I'll ever be as good as the people who started as little kids, but I've improved a lot and really enjoy it. 

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Race: Ferret | Class: Assassin | Level: 4 | STR: 6  DEX: 3  STA: 1  CON: 5  WIS: 7  CHA: 3


Battle Log | Challenges: 1, 2, 3

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You know, for the Adventurer's mini challenge this week I picked trying out dance and I was wondering if there was a dancers' forum somewhere!

I've literally just started (apart from a couple of years of highland dancing when I was about 7 and 8, and ceilidh dancing in gym during high school sometimes) but I'm really interested in learning Bollywood dance and ballroom dancing. My big problem is just keeping up for more than 15 minutes at a time!

 

Good luck with the planche!

That's an awesome challenge! What do you think you'll try this week? Do you live somewhere that has a lot of classes to offer? Ballroom seems like a good option because you can usually find enough people interested in it, even in smaller communities. Plus, unlike some other dance forms,  as a complete novice one can start dancing and moving right away. 

 

I looked at some bollywood videos, looks very fun and high energy. Lots of detailed hand and eye movements too, which, I think, is fairly unique to classical Indian dance.

 

Let us know how the challenge goes this week!

Olivia Benson


Began 1/14/14

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I dance Ceroc, or Modern Jive as it is sometimes called (not competitively, just socially) and I find the most useful exercises are anything that strengthens your core (planks are indeed great!) and pistol squats. This is particularly noticeable with dips. If I can hold my core tight and take most of my own weight through whichever leg my weight is on at the time (hence the pistol squats) the man I am dancing with hardly has to do anything! I have had guys comment that I am easier to dip than other, lighter girls, simply because I am strong enough to support myself and not become dead weight in his arms! 

You are so right! I just recently started working on pistols and they are tough, really give my gluts DOMS! I don't have very good form yet though. I have to hold my foot to keep my leg up and maintain balance.

 

How long have you been doing Ceroc?

Olivia Benson


Began 1/14/14

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Having started so late, I don't expect I'll ever be as good as the people who started as little kids, but I've improved a lot and really enjoy it. 

 

Maybe... I think flexibility is easier to achieve and maintain when developed at a young age, and certainly, at least professionally speaking, age is never on a dancer's side.

 

That said, there are a couple things I can think of in your favor, if you'll allow me to explore. For one, a lot of kids (myself included) don't take their training very seriously until later. You're experienced enough to know what you like and what you want to be able to do, allowing you to be focused, and, artistry seems to flourish with maturity. 

 

And having said that, I will also admit that having 12 year olds dance circles around you is just no fun, no fun at all. ;)

  • Like 1

Olivia Benson


Began 1/14/14

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You are so right! I just recently started working on pistols and they are tough, really give my gluts DOMS! I don't have very good form yet though. I have to hold my foot to keep my leg up and maintain balance.

 

How long have you been doing Ceroc?

 Yeah, balance and flexibility are essential for pistols - that's what makes them hard actually - I know a lot of guys who can easily back squat twice their bodyweight but still can't do a single pistol squat. I've been doing Ceroc since about July last year, so not very long. The footwork is super simple though so you pick it up a lot faster than West Coast Swing, which is what most of the more advanced dancers eventually progress too. 

Level 4 Halfling Ranger

"I see the girl running, with no shoes on her feet, jumping shade to shadow, in this deafening heat." - Passenger 

 

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Haha me too! I danced a lot of lindy hop a while ago, until I got to a point where I couldn't really improve without a steady dance partner... Now I just started belly dance and love it so far! I have to say it's a lot harder than lindy hop, lindy is a lot more in your face. :P The small subtle movements like shimmies are really challenging for me. But then again, I just started so there's plenty of time to improve! 

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That's an awesome challenge! What do you think you'll try this week? Do you live somewhere that has a lot of classes to offer? Ballroom seems like a good option because you can usually find enough people interested in it, even in smaller communities. Plus, unlike some other dance forms,  as a complete novice one can start dancing and moving right away. 

 

I looked at some bollywood videos, looks very fun and high energy. Lots of detailed hand and eye movements too, which, I think, is fairly unique to classical Indian dance.

 

Let us know how the challenge goes this week!

 

 

Hey!

I'm in Edinburgh, and I'm pretty sure there are a couple of dance schools that do Bollywood dance! I just tried dancing along to some instructional videos on Youtube this week, and once I can keep going through a whole hour I'm going to find a class and sign up. (I don't want to pay £160.00 for 8 weeks of lessons and then end up having to sit down 20 minutes in each time!)

The videos were fun though, and I think all the hand gestures in particular are really elegant.

 

Haven't looked into ballroom dancing yet, I want to ensnare a friend and drag them with me first!

  • Like 1

Sarah Barr - Level 13 Warhobbit

STR 18 | DEX 7 | STA 17 | CON 38 | WIS 28 | CHA 12


 Challenges:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 20  21  22  23  24  25 (Current)

Accountabiddlydoodlies Group                 Current Weight: 106.1kg                      Recipe Book               

"I hold... that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life's set prize" - Robert Browning

Instagram (Things I have painted or made.)

To-Do List
Idiot Jar Limit: £5.00        Current Idiot Jar Total: £0.00     Current Idiot Jar Forfeit: [TBD].

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Yeah, it's just hard to loosen it up! Especially since I have belly dance class after acrobatics where everything's supposed to be super tight! The hip shimmies I think will loosen up in a while, but shoulder shimmies! Oh my! :o Those are just not happening anytime soon. Luckily we don't have any choreographed into the routine. 

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Hey!

I'm in Edinburgh, and I'm pretty sure there are a couple of dance schools that do Bollywood dance! I just tried dancing along to some instructional videos on Youtube this week, and once I can keep going through a whole hour I'm going to find a class and sign up. (I don't want to pay £160.00 for 8 weeks of lessons and then end up having to sit down 20 minutes in each time!)

The videos were fun though, and I think all the hand gestures in particular are really elegant.

 

Haven't looked into ballroom dancing yet, I want to ensnare a friend and drag them with me first!

That's so smart. Gosh, youtube is an amazing resource.

Olivia Benson


Began 1/14/14

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I would think that strengthening your legs would be a good step towards improving leap height. Some variation of squats for strength and some sort of jumping exercise for explosiveness maybe?

 

In my head, I keep coming back to your idea of training for "explosiveness" because I think it's such a perfect word to describe what I feel I'm lacking. What kind of jumping exercises were you envisioning? Something like jump squats? I wonder if something as simple as changement to strengthen the feet and ankles would be beneficial too...

Olivia Benson


Began 1/14/14

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In my head, I keep coming back to your idea of training for "explosiveness" because I think it's such a perfect word to describe what I feel I'm lacking. What kind of jumping exercises were you envisioning? Something like jump squats? I wonder if something as simple as changement to strengthen the feet and ankles would be beneficial too...

 

I was thinking of box jumps or tuck jumps, both of which I find more explosive than jump squats. But maybe jump squats can be done explosively, and starting from what is essentially a deep plie might have some benefit. You could try working through your feet too while doing them. I'm just thinking out loud here; I've never tried this.

 

On the topic of dance-related exercise, does anyone have any favourite dance conditioning exercises that they'd be interested in sharing? I know that conditioning would probably vary a lot among dance styles, but I'd be interested in hearing what people do. 

  • Like 1

Race: Ferret | Class: Assassin | Level: 4 | STR: 6  DEX: 3  STA: 1  CON: 5  WIS: 7  CHA: 3


Battle Log | Challenges: 1, 2, 3

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Yay, a dance thread! I dance ballet, I had a few years when I was younger until the teacher moved away and now I'm trying to get back into it. I've tried tap (I love to watch it, but I didn't do very well), and jazz (also like to watch, really didn't go well for me). I'm trying to get back in shape and regain some measure of flexibility so I can really dance again. When I danced before, I was 11-13, so I was really small and still energetic. Now when I'm supposed to do things, I know where my leg should go, but it just doesn't!

 

I was thinking of box jumps or tuck jumps, both of which I find more explosive than jump squats. But maybe jump squats can be done explosively, and starting from what is essentially a deep plie might have some benefit. You could try working through your feet too while doing them. I'm just thinking out loud here; I've never tried this.

 

On the topic of dance-related exercise, does anyone have any favourite dance conditioning exercises that they'd be interested in sharing? I know that conditioning would probably vary a lot among dance styles, but I'd be interested in hearing what people do. 

 

I've read a little about plyometric type exercises, is that what you're thinking of? When I danced before, jumps were my favorite thing. True, I only weighed 50 pounds back then, but at the time I used to jump on our trampoline constantly, so I've wondered if doing plyometrics would help regain some of my jump height.

 

For dance conditioning, I enjoy reading the Dance Project blog. She has all kinds of useful exercise articles and videos, and a free four-week training program. It seems like some ballet studios like to do everything old-school, no-pain-no-gain, so it's nice to read about teachers who are actually trying to help dancers stay healthy and dance longer. I also like The Ballet Blog. Not everything is free there, but it's written by a dance physiotherapist, and she has some good articles.

  • Like 3

Aspiring Master Artisan and Ballerina

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I can't recall where I read this, but I'm pretty sure there have been discussions about vertical jump height in the BW or assassins forum where they recommended raw strength before plyometrics to increase explosiveness as a first action. I could be mistaken though so I might have to find those threads again. :)

 

For lindy I have to say cardio was always my weak spot hahaha. Which I didn't do anyway. :P But I imagine pretty much any dance style would benefit from core conditioning. I'm just speculating here, I'm curious to hear what everyone else does to.

  • Like 1
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Hi everybody,

 

I have a very little background in dancing. I took some jazz and tap lessons many time ago but had to leave due to constant changes in lessons times. I've restarted my tap lessons a few months ago, and I've been lucky enough to find a tap company offering lessons for amateurs. Very different from what I've learnt before (much better, much easier!).

 

I can't say much but to confirm what's already said: my jumping, speed and ability improve at the same pace my planks improve.

 

 

For dance conditioning, I enjoy reading the Dance Project blog. She has all kinds of useful exercise articles and videos, and a free four-week training program. It seems like some ballet studios like to do everything old-school, no-pain-no-gain, so it's nice to read about teachers who are actually trying to help dancers stay healthy and dance longer. I also like The Ballet Blog. Not everything is free there, but it's written by a dance physiotherapist, and she has some good articles.

 

Thank you very much. I'll take a look.

 

Nice day to everybody!

  • Like 2
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I did some intro to ballroom / latin with my wife a couple years ago and loved it, we did waltz, cha cha, rumba, tango, foxtrot and swing. We only did the entry level courses though unfortunately, as we couldn't make the time commitments to  the higher levels, but I loved it and would really like to go further. Swing in particular was my favourite of the dances we learned.

  • Like 2

This too, shall pass.

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Hi all, I'm a dancer too! I do ballet, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, and whatever's in between. I've also recently took up tumbling again. I've danced for my high school's dance program and am now on two dance teams in college.

 

One of the challenges I face when dancing is my lack of hip and shoulder mobility. Also, being more flexible on the left side is annoying when everyone choreographs to the right side.

 

I want to be a master turner and jumper. I want to be able to get my legs to split in 180 degrees effortlessly in multiple ways. I want to build the strength to do a really high developpe and hold it there. I want to artistically incorporate my gymnastics skills (aerials and back handsprings and such) into my choreography without breaking anything on the hard wooden floor. I'm a little greedy with my goals.

 

When it comes to jumps, I would recommend heavy squats and deadlifts. I'm not sure if that's actually what got my jumps better, but I started doing heavy squats and deadlifts, and coincidentally my jumps got higher, presumably from stronger legs. People say that Olympic lifting develops power and a higher vertical, and I'm looking into learning how to clean, jerk, and snatch.

 

So does anyone have advice on how to build legs that can sustain themselves at unusual angles for long amounts of time? How to safely increase shoulder and hip mobility? 

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No such thing as too greedy with goals. :D I also want to do ALL the things!

 

I'm also really curious about how to do developpes (those are basically high leg lifts right?). I have decent hip mobility (at least on my left side, my right hamstring got injured last year) but if I try to lift my leg it gets to 90 degrees at the most. I have understood that it's partly a technique thing and partly a strength thing, but what is the technique??

 

When it comes to hip and shoulder mobility I've made by far the most progress when doing intense contortion type stretching (loaded stretches, holds ~few minutes at near max intensity) for pure flexibility combined with mobilizing niggly points. For shoulders bridge work is great! Have you checked out the assassin mini-challenges btw? :)

  • Like 1
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Yay, a dance thread! I dance ballet, I had a few years when I was younger until the teacher moved away and now I'm trying to get back into it. I've tried tap (I love to watch it, but I didn't do very well), and jazz (also like to watch, really didn't go well for me). I'm trying to get back in shape and regain some measure of flexibility so I can really dance again. When I danced before, I was 11-13, so I was really small and still energetic. Now when I'm supposed to do things, I know where my leg should go, but it just doesn't!

 

 

I've read a little about plyometric type exercises, is that what you're thinking of? When I danced before, jumps were my favorite thing. True, I only weighed 50 pounds back then, but at the time I used to jump on our trampoline constantly, so I've wondered if doing plyometrics would help regain some of my jump height.

 

For dance conditioning, I enjoy reading the Dance Project blog. She has all kinds of useful exercise articles and videos, and a free four-week training program. It seems like some ballet studios like to do everything old-school, no-pain-no-gain, so it's nice to read about teachers who are actually trying to help dancers stay healthy and dance longer. I also like The Ballet Blog. Not everything is free there, but it's written by a dance physiotherapist, and she has some good articles.

 

+1 on the Dance Training Project. Her site is the best source of dancer training and health information I've come across. 

 

Hi all, I'm a dancer too! I do ballet, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, and whatever's in between. I've also recently took up tumbling again. I've danced for my high school's dance program and am now on two dance teams in college.

 

One of the challenges I face when dancing is my lack of hip and shoulder mobility. Also, being more flexible on the left side is annoying when everyone choreographs to the right side.

 

I want to be a master turner and jumper. I want to be able to get my legs to split in 180 degrees effortlessly in multiple ways. I want to build the strength to do a really high developpe and hold it there. I want to artistically incorporate my gymnastics skills (aerials and back handsprings and such) into my choreography without breaking anything on the hard wooden floor. I'm a little greedy with my goals.

 

When it comes to jumps, I would recommend heavy squats and deadlifts. I'm not sure if that's actually what got my jumps better, but I started doing heavy squats and deadlifts, and coincidentally my jumps got higher, presumably from stronger legs. People say that Olympic lifting develops power and a higher vertical, and I'm looking into learning how to clean, jerk, and snatch.

 

So does anyone have advice on how to build legs that can sustain themselves at unusual angles for long amounts of time? How to safely increase shoulder and hip mobility? 

 

Every body is different, but I've found that frequent, low-intensity stretching has really helped my shoulder flexibility. Not that it's good now - but it's improved, anyway. But I've heard other people say that frequent (i.e., daily or nearly daily) stretching was too much for them. I think you need to experiment and see what your body responds to. 

 

No such thing as too greedy with goals. :D I also want to do ALL the things!

 

I'm also really curious about how to do developpes (those are basically high leg lifts right?). I have decent hip mobility (at least on my left side, my right hamstring got injured last year) but if I try to lift my leg it gets to 90 degrees at the most. I have understood that it's partly a technique thing and partly a strength thing, but what is the technique??

 

When it comes to hip and shoulder mobility I've made by far the most progress when doing intense contortion type stretching (loaded stretches, holds ~few minutes at near max intensity) for pure flexibility combined with mobilizing niggly points. For shoulders bridge work is great! Have you checked out the assassin mini-challenges btw? :)

 

90 degrees is pretty good. Technique involves engaging hip flexors and low abdominal muscles to help you raise the leg, rather than relying on quad strength. Specifically, I've heard from multiple sources that engaging the iliopsoas is necessary to lift your leg above 90 degrees. Find these muscles and learn to use them and your lift should improve. 

Race: Ferret | Class: Assassin | Level: 4 | STR: 6  DEX: 3  STA: 1  CON: 5  WIS: 7  CHA: 3


Battle Log | Challenges: 1, 2, 3

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