Your hips don't lie—especially when it comes to pain. And while temporary soreness is normal for busy dancers, constant aching and pinching definitely isn't. Dance Spirit turned to Jenni Green, PT, MS, CFMT, and president of PhysioArts, for a basic breakdown of hip pain.
What It Is
"If you're experiencing a pinching sensation when you pull your knees into your chest, that's not normal—it's called 'anterior impingement,' " Green says. On the other hand, "If you're experiencing pain when you battement or développé to the front or the side," Green says, "that could be a sign of hip flexor tendonitis." What Causes It
"If you're experiencing a pinching sensation, you're likely overstretching or incorrectly stretching your hip flexors," Green says. "If you remain in a lunge position too forcefully for too long, you're only stretching the ligaments and not the hip flexor itself."
However, if the sensation you're feeling is more of a tense grip (like you can't relax your muscles), Green says your hamstrings may be too tight. "If you're kicking your leg and your hamstring is restricted, your hip flexor has more weight to lift. You're over-muscling instead of supporting your movements from your center"—and overusing your hip flexor in the process.
How to Deal
If your hamstrings are tight, a combo of foam rolling, stretching and self-massage can help release the tension. If you're experiencing pinching, pay attention to your stretching positions. "The best thing you can do is stretch your hip flexors properly, in a way that completely supports your joint," Green says.
She recommends imagining how someone would kneel when they propose: "Don't lunge forward. Keep your trunk upright and behind the leg that's kneeling. Keep your pelvis tucked under and maintain that tuck as you slowly bend into your front leg." While the mobility won't be nearly as great, you'll feel a much stronger stretch.
If your pain is persistent or getting worse, Green advises seeking out a physical therapist.
(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 on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "