Dear Katie: My Hip Flexors are Constantly Sore
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
My hip flexors are constantly sore. What am I doing wrong technically, and how can I ease the pain? I've tried stretching and massage, but nothing seems to help much.
It sounds like you're gripping your hip flexors without realizing it. To keep that from happening, think about standing nice and tall, creating an extra inch of space in your waist. Don't tuck your pelvis or arch your back; just lengthen. Work on maintaining that sense of length when you dance. Dancers tend to grip their hip flexors when they're trying to flatten the turnout of their supporting leg, particularly during steps like grands battements and développés. Don't let your pelvis tuck when you lift your leg.
Also, make sure you're massaging your psoas muscle, which is in your stomach area (a quick web search will show you exactly where). Tight hip flexors are sometimes due to a tight psoas.
My father's in the army, so my family moves all the time. It's hard to find good, consistent dance training when we're never in the same place for long. What can I do to make sure my technique keeps improving?
I just married a military man, so I understand what you're going through. When you're constantly moving, it's helpful to keep a technique journal. Write down all of your corrections. When you move to a different studio, reread your journal. If the teachers at your new studio are giving you the same corrections you've been getting all along, you'll have a road map for what you specifically need to work on.
Also, do a lot of research when you're searching for a new dance school. Read faculty bios, look at the class schedule, and see if there are any performance opportunities. Taking the time to find the right school is important.
I know changing schools can be scary, but in the end it might be a good thing for you. It's helpful to hear different people's opinions about your technique! Make a conscious effort to think of your frequent moves as opportunities rather than problems, and stay focused on improving each and every day.
I love pointe, but even though I've been on pointe for a year now, I haven't developed calluses on my toes—I just keep getting blisters. How can I get calluses to form? Or am I doomed to have blisters for life?
I feel your pain! I had horrible blisters before my calluses developed. They do take a while, but the exact time frame depends on the amount of time you're spending on pointe. If you dance in your shoes every day, your calluses will develop more quickly. If you only have pointe class once a week, it'll take longer.
If your blisters persist no matter what, visit a professional pointe shoe fitter. Your shoes could be too narrow, or too wide. Sometimes shoes that are too big create more friction, which means more blisters. Once I found my correct size, I almost completely stopped getting blisters—and the same might be true for you!
For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.
Some might say Charlize Glass' fame kicked off with a single three-letter word. In 2014, Beyoncé shared a video of the then–12-year-old dancer performing to "Yoncé" on Instagram, along with a simple caption: "WOW!"
But by that point, the hip-hop mini had already performed at the MTV Video Music Awards and on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and won first runner-up with her crew, 8 Flavahz, on "America's Best Dance Crew." And her Queen Bey Insta shout-out wasn't even the pinnacle of her tween career: She earned a spot on The PULSE On Tour as an Elite Protégé for the 2014–2015 season, and performed with Missy Elliott at the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show in 2015.
These days, the 16-year-old spends her time touring the country as Brian Friedman's assistant at Radix Dance Convention and blowing up YouTube and Instagram with her class-video cameos. And while the Char Char we fell in love with was a hip-hop cutie pie, the more mature artist we see today is sure to rock the dance world for years to come.
Love choreographing, but having a hard time finding a place to present your work? It's an all-too-common problem for choreographers everywhere—and especially for younger artists, who tend not to have the kinds of resources their more established peers do.
Enter the Young Choreographer's Festival. Every year, YCF presents works by talented choreographers between the ages of 18 and 25. And it's currently accepting applications for its 2018 event.
If you follow ballet darling Juliet Doherty on Instagram—which you probably do—you already know that the two-time Youth America Grand Prix gold medalist is a self-proclaimed "plant-powered ballerina." Doherty has followed a vegan diet for four years now, and though she never forces her lifestyle on her followers or IRL friends, she does love sharing her daily eats and the plant-based meals and snacks that help her perform at her best. Curious as to what that entails? Here's a day in the life of Juliet's meat-and-dairy-free diet.
Few things are as beautiful as a seamlessly executed grand rond de jambe: There's something majestic about the high arc of the leg from front to side to back (or vice versa). But many pitfalls line the road to effortless grands ronds, especially in the tricky side-to-back and back-to-side transitions. How can you make this difficult step feel as free as it looks?
For some it's a holiday tradition, for others its an iconic spectacle, but no matter the reason, more than 1 million people will watch the Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular each year. And though the production has been around since 1933, much of what goes on behind those velvety curtains and intricate sets remains a mystery. To curb our curiosity and find out what ensues when these leggy ladies aren't doling out their sky-high kicks, we got a backstage tour from the legends themselves.
From hair and makeup, to warm-up exercises, and costume quick changes (the fastest quick change in the show is a #mindblowing 75 seconds, by the way) we got a glimpse into the glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) world of the Rockettes.
As a tap dancer, you're a student of history—whether you know it or not. Tap technique today is intimately connected to the great hoofers of the past. "Tap is incredibly personal, because all of these individuals have added to the public domain, the pool of steps you draw from," says Brian Seibert, dance critic for The New York Times and author of What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing. "You're constantly giving shout-outs to dancers who came before you."
It's also important to recognize tap's pioneers because they repeatedly broke down barriers, making tap accessible to everyone. "You don't have to overcome something to be here," says Tony Waag, artistic executive director of the American Tap Dance Foundation. "You're not the first black person or woman, you don't have to carry a certain card or have a particular lineage to succeed at tap. Gregory Hines used to say, 'If you have the shoes, you're in.' "
Come meet the artists who've shaped tap history. Because if you're a tap dancer, they're your family, too.
What's better than a good dance joke? They're corny, they're punny, and they're exactly what you need to get you through long Nutcracker days. These 10 jokes are guaranteed to put a smile on your face—no matter how much your feet are hurting.
"So you Think You Can Dance" Season 14 finalists Lex Ishimoto and Taylor Sieve shocked fans at home (at least the ones who hadn't thoroughly scoured their respective Instagrams) during Episode 14, when choreographer Mia Michaels asked if either of them had ever experienced "the kind of love that takes your breath away." They confessed that, yup, they had—with each other. The two met at The Dance Awards in the summer of 2016, where they were each named Senior Best Dancer, and went on to tour with the convention as assistants. Before long—and long before their "SYTYCD" journey—they became a couple.
Take a look at Dance Spirit's exclusive interview where they dish on everything from their favorite dates to the dance moves that give them all the feels.
There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together.
Yes, we all know dancers are strong. But sometimes it takes a truly epic workout video to remind us JUST HOW INSANELY STRONG they actually are.
Behold, National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina's oh-so-casual pre-class exercise: