Timing's everything when it comes to dancing—right down to the timing of your breathing. And when the choreo you're performing calls for one quick, demanding sequence after another, you need to be sure you've caught your breath before you take the stage again. But that's easier said than done! Dance Spirit spoke with Alexis Robbins, a dancer and personal trainer at New York Health & Racquet Club, to find out how you can avoid getting winded.
…onstage, about to go from one intense combo to the next.
“If you need to catch your breath immediately following a short burst of movement, take two to four deep breaths, focusing on filling your diaphragm and expanding the rib cage before exhaling," Robbins says. The deeper breaths fill more of the air sacs in your lungs, which means more oxygen gets to your muscles.
…at a pause, with a few minutes to go before your next entrance.
“Clasp your hands behind your head while standing or slowly walking," Robbins says. The elevated arm position helps engage your diaphragm, which lets you fully fill your lungs.
Resist the urge to sit down or bend over. “Staying upright allows for more direct blood flow to and from your heart, improving oxygen delivery to your muscles."
Drinking water is important, but “avoid taking huge gulps—your body can't digest them properly while you're trying to breathe steadily," Robbins says. Instead, take very small sips.
…at the end of a long, intense performance.
“It's normal to want to immediately crash on the floor once you exit the stage," says Robbins. But that won't help your breathing, and sitting right away will actually cause your muscles to tighten up. Instead, walk around slowly while your body regains its equilibrium. Allow yourself to breathe heavily and deeply, which will help your heart rate decrease.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:
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Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.
Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.