The Best Exercises for Strengthening Hyperextended Knees
If you're one of the lucky dancers #blessed with hyperextended knees, you know that while they're super-pretty to look at, they're also super-prone to injury. Dance Spirit asked Sean P. Gallagher, BFA, PT, CFT, CPT, MS, and founder of Performing Arts Physical Therapy in NYC, about the most effective strengthening moves for hyperextension.
Photos by Jayme Thornton. Modeled by Sarah Meahl.
Exercise #1 – Skeletal Alignment Awareness Knee Sink
PT's Note: This exercise will discourage you from constantly standing in hyperextension by training your mind and muscles to be aware of your knee position.
1. Start standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Allow yourself to relax into your what feels like your "normal" standing position, with your knees hyperextended but not locked.
2. Slowly sink down and bend your knees, then return to your neutral, hyperextended stance. Repeat this 5 times.
3. Repeat step 2, but stop just before you hit your hyperextended stance. Your legs should be straight, but they might not feel fully extended. Repeat this 10 times.
Exercise #2 – Hamstring Stretch
PT's Note: This exercise encourages hamstring stability, as your hamstrings are key tendons in maintaining a proper, non-hyperextended standing position.
1. Start facing a barre or table that's a little more than hip height.
2. Place your right foot and ankle on the barre or tabletop, keeping both legs and your torso straight and both legs in parallel. Make sure your knees aren't hyperextended, but in "normal" position from Exercise #1.
3. Keeping both legs in parallel, lean your torso towards your leg, keeping your spine straight and making sure to hinge forward from your hip socket.
4. Repeat this stretch with your raised leg turned out. Switch legs and repeat each stretch.
Exercise #3 – Theraband Strengthening for the Knees
1. Tie a Theraband in a loop around a stationary object. Step your left leg inside the loop and position the Theraband behind your knee. Walk backwards until there's tension in the band.
2. Keeping both legs planted firmly on the ground, slowly bend and straighten your left leg 10 times, making sure to avoid hyperextending the knee. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
1. Turn your body around and step back into the Theraband with your right leg. Place the Theraband on your thigh, just above your knee.
2. Slowly bend and straighten your right leg 10 times, making sure to remain in "normal" position, and avoid hyperextending the knee. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
A version of this story appeared in the January 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Calling All #Hype Girls."
Last May, we told you about a special exhibition of the Mark Ryden artwork that sparked Alexei Ratmansky's sweet-treat of a ballet, Whipped Cream. Well, hold on to your tiaras, bunheads, because there's a brand-new exhibit featuring actual costumes from this megahit production. The Nutcracker's Land of Sweets has some serious competition!
Kyle Van Newkirk is a tap dancer you probably remember from the premiere season of NBC's World of Dance. In case you missed it, he is also one of Showstopper's incredible convention teachers. What makes Kyle stand apart from some of today's other incredible tappers? He isn't afraid to change what tap means to his audience and even himself. This modern view of tap dancing is important because it shows us that tap dancers are just as versatile and dynamic as dancers of any other genre. We sat down with Kyle to get his advice on bringing tap dancing into the 21st century.
They say there's no "I" in "team"—and nowhere is that truer than the world of college dance teams, where precision reigns, uniformity is key, and a single misstep from any given "I" can cost a group a championship trophy. So it's unsurprising that securing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country is no easy feat.
Members of these highly athletic teams rehearse for hours every week—on top of academic classes and commitments—and perform at football and basketball games, annual concerts, and nationally televised competitions (hi, ESPN). And "no I" rule notwithstanding, each of these top teams is made up of highly trained, highly technical, highly hard-core individuals, who come together to create a ready-for-victory pack.
These six teams aren't one-off success stories—they're consistently strong, and earn the top spots at major competitions like UDA and NDA nearly every year. Up for the challenge? Here's what to know before you go to auditions.
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The good news is that it's possible to both improve your turnout and to dance beautifully with less-than-perfect rotation. But there's a lot of misinformation out there about how turnout works and why it's important. To help separate fact from fiction, DS asked the experts to disprove six turnout myths.
Picture this: You've scored tickets to Ellen DeGeneres' hit show, "Ellen." The day has come, the show is as hysterical as ever, Ellen is debating the biggest hot-button issue since the blue/black or white/gold dress, "Laurel vs. Yanny" (side note: it's LAUREL, people), and tWitch is killing it over at the DJ booth, as always. Ellen decides it's the perfect time to single out an audience member and, lo and behold, that person is "SYTYCD" champ ( and December 2017 cover star!) Lex Ishimoto.
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DancerPalooza, America's Largest Dance Festival, is moving to sunny SAN DIEGO, California from July 24-29, 2018.
Check out all of the NEW Intensives DancerPalooza has to offer this year!
You could say that a perk of dancing with Los Angeles Ballet is its proximity to Hollywood. It's no wonder, then, that when actor and comedian Kevin Hart was looking for someone to teach ballet lessons for his new "What the Fit" YouTube show, he reached out to the nearby company. The series follows Hart and his celebrity friends as they try different forms of exercise (such as sumo wrestling and goat yoga), with hilarious results. For his ballet episode, Hart brings along Hangover star Ken Jeong—and the dancers do their best to keep these madcap comedians under control.