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8 Ways to Make Pointe Pain-Free

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa

If you’re a professional dancer wearing pointe shoes all day long, you may experience some pain with pointe work.  However, it is possible for pointe to be pain-free, especially for the beginner.  If you have your shoes fitted correctly, and achieve the right level of strength and mobility, you shouldn’t be experiencing any real pain.  Rain Francis teamed up with renowned dance physical therapist Lisa Howell of Perfect Form Physiotherapy to bring you this list of 8 ways to make pointe pain-free.

1. Get the right shoes.

Correctly fitting pointe shoes are absolutely essential.  Once your feet have stopped growing, and have found a shoe that works for you, it may be more convenient to purchase them online, but for anyone who is still growing and developing, and especially for your first few pairs, make sure you see an experienced pointe shoe fitter, who has access to a wide range of styles.  If the shoe is fitted correctly, it will be firm around the front part of the foot but should not be squashing your toes in together too much, as this can lead to ingrown toenails.    If the box of the shoe is too wide, the foot will slide down into the box while en pointe, putting pressure on the toes, which can lead to bruised toe nails.  If the box is too short it can cut in under the joint of the big toe and may contribute to the formation of a bunion.  Always ensure that the wings of the shoe come up to the level of your big toe joint.   As everybody’s foot is different, there is no one perfect shoe that is right for all dancers, and it is essential that all students at a school have shoes that specifically fit their individual foot type, even if this means that they are in different brands.

2. Be prepared.

Every student should undergo a pre-pointe assessment with a qualified practitioner, for example a physical therapist who specializes in dance, or a private lesson with a very experienced dance teacher.  This is important to ensure that you have the required range and strength before you attempt pointe work.  Otherwise, you risk injury and developing incorrect technique, which can take a long time to correct.  Be patient – if you don’t pass your pointe assessment the first time around, listen to the advice from your assessor and work on all of the elements that are identified before your next assessment. It may only be another six weeks of sticking to your exercises before you are able to get your first pair of pointes! Refer to Lisa Howell’s The Perfect Pointe Book for some exercises that will really help with your preparation for pointe work.

3. Strengthen correctly.

Ask your teacher for a structured program to improve your strength en pointe gradually.  It is not just about being up on pointe or down on flat – it’s imperative to learn how to really articulate the foot in the shoe in every single rise and every tendu.  Working through a graduated rise and being able to control your lowering is the most essential part of pointe work and will improve your strength and technique while helping to prevent injuries.  For more information on this, check out the My Beginner Pointe program that Lisa developed with ex Australian Ballet Principal Artist Vicki Attard.

4. Use the right shoe for your level.

The shoes you wear should be appropriate for your level of pointe work.  As a beginner, while just working at the barre, a softer shoe will help you learn to articulate the foot correctly in the shoe.   When you move into doing things like multiple turns in the center, a stronger, more rigid shoe may be more appropriate.  As you progress further with your pointe work, you may find you need a few different pairs of shoes – a really supple one for barre work and softer, more Romantic solos; and a stronger, more stable one for center work, or stronger variations, which require multiple hops en pointe.

5. Look after your feet.

Foot hygiene is extremely important, yet often neglected.  If you don’t clean your feet and take care of your pointe shoes properly, you’re at risk of all sorts of nasties, such as blisters, ingrown toenails and fungal infections.  Treat your toe pads or ouch pouches like socks: Remove them from your shoes and wash them frequently.  You sweat a lot through your feet and wearing the same dirty pair of toe pads every day without letting them dry out can be a direct road to pain! If blisters do develop, make sure you deal with them hygienically and cover them up for class rather than letting the raw skin rub on the inside of your pointes.

6. Use appropriate padding.

There are many different options on the market these days, but when choosing padding for your toes, look for something that has minimal fabric underneath the toes.  Too much bulk here can interfere with the placment and working of the feet.  Any padding you use should be minimal.  The biggest issue with pain en pointe is usually due to the toes clawing in the shoe, and the knuckles rubbing on the underside of the box.  Most dancers then feel they need to put something in place to stop the rubbing.  However, it is much better to deal with the clawing in the first place, by developing the articulation of the foot and strength to the correct muscles to keep the toes long in the shoe.   Clawing indicates the incorrect use of the long toe flexor muscles which can lead to problems in the back of the ankle, such as posterior impingement.  If your toes are clawing, focus on learning how to articulate the foot better during all aspects of class.

7. Keep your shoes strong enough.

If you leave any padding in your shoes after dancing, the sweat may soften the glue of the box.  This can cause the shoe to weaken and will result in your foot sinking down too far in the shoe.   Always make sure to dry out your shoes thoroughly between each use, especially if you live somewhere that gets very humid.  Having a couple of pairs that you cycle through during the week will help extend the life of the shoe, especially if you are dancing on pointe every day.  You can also use a glue, such as Hot Stuff or Jet Glue to help re-stiffen the middle of the shank to extend its life.  Also, each pointe shoe may have a few reincarnations; it may start off as a performance shoe, then become a class shoe, then a rehab/pointe exercise shoe, before finally the shank is pulled out and it becomes a demi pointe shoe for class work.  Make sure you have shoes that are each stage, so you’re not using your stronger class shoes to do the really deep articulated exercises, especially when you’re doing more than 4 or 5 hours of pointe a week.

8. Pre-weaken your pointe shoes.

Pre-weakening (sometimes called ‘breaking in’) your new shoes in the areas you want it to weaken will help to stop it from breaking in the middle of the shank.  It is important not to cut the shank, heat it or wet it; these things may have been done in the past but are simply not relevant any more.  Pre-weaken the shank in the demi pointe area a little so that you can rise through it correctly, and also soften in underneath the heel so that the shank can sit in close to the arch when you are en pointe.  You can check out a video on how to do this here.  Just using your feet to weaken the shoes can cause them to break in the middle of the shank, which will make you start sinking down and back into the shoes, meaning you’ll need to replace them more often.  The shape of everyone’s pointe is different, so measure where the breakpoint is in your foot (where the heel becomes the arch) then weaken the shank of the shoe at this point so that it sits flat against your arch.  It will feel better, look better and can also help extend the life of your shoe.

11 ways to help your kid build self-esteem




11 ways to help your kid build self-esteem

Simply praising your child can actually do more harm than good. Here's a comprehensive guide to building self-esteem in children.

Last week, my son Aaron made the school soccer team.  Boy, was I proud.  And I couldn’t stop saying so.  “Good job, buddy! You’re the best!” I beamed, he beamed, and all seemed right with the world.

It’s not the first time my kids have heard me shout their praises.  I’m the resident cheering section, their biggest fan, a back-patter extraordinaire.  These days, you can find me handing out compliments as if they’re sticks of gum—when my kids practice guitar, score a goal, help with dishes.  The mom logic goes like this: The kid does good (or good enough for me), so I make him feel great about himself. It’s called boosting self-esteem.  Or so I thought.

1. Step back

As it turns out, there are better ways to build self-esteem than heaping on praise for everything kids do—starting with helping them become competent in the world, says Jim Taylor, author of the book Your Kids Are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear from You. To do so, though, you have to learn to step back and let your child take risks, make choices, solve problems and stick with what they start.

2. Over-praising kids does more harm than good

Self-esteem comes from feeling loved and secure, and from developing competence, Taylor says, and although parents often shower their kids with the first two ingredients, competence—becoming good at things—takes time and effort.  “As much as we may want to, we can’t praise our kids into competence,” he says.

In fact, by over-praising kids, we’re doing more harm than good. “We’re lowering the bar for them,” Taylor says.  “If you keep telling your child she is already doing a fantastic job, you’re saying she no longer needs to push herself.  But confidence comes from doing, from trying and failing and trying again—from practice.”

Samantha MacLeod, who has four boys, ages one to nine, believes constant complimenting can actually erode self-esteem.  Either kids start thinking they’re perfect or they try to be perfect all the time—an impossible standard.  And inaccurate praise confuses them, she says. “If my son can’t spell and I tell him he’s doing terrific, he learns not to trust his own instincts.  He also learns that praise is just flat-out lying.”

Plus, Taylor adds, telling your child he’s the best, the smartest or the most talented is setting him up for some very bad news down the road.  You’re creating an egomaniac who thinks his scribbles are Rothkos but, sooner or later, he’ll discover he’s not all that after all.

3. Let your child take healthy risks

Start by forcing yourself to stand back while your child takes healthy risks, says Victoria Sopik, CEO of Kids & Company, a corporate childcare service in Toronto, and a mother of eight.  “To build confidence in the world, kids have to take chances, make choices and take responsibility for them,” Sopik says.  She sees too many parents trying to rescue their kids from failure all the time.

Sopik remembers staring from across the room as her two-year-old son, Fraser, lifted a huge jug of orange pop at a fancy party.  “He was about to pour it into a glass, and I just stood there, holding my breath,” Sopik recalls.  Rather than trying to save her son before he had a chance to try, Sopik watched as Fraser spilled the pop all over the floor.

Then came the best part: Fraser found a waitress, asked for a paper towel and cleaned up his own mess.  “He solved his own problem—just like we do as successful adults,” Sopik says.

4. Let kids make their own choices

When kids make their own age-appropriate choices, they feel more powerful, says Sopik, pointing out that kids as young as two can start considering the consequences of their decisions.  Sopik always let her kids decide on their own whether to wear a coat, hat and mittens in winter.  “Once they knew the difference between warm and cold, it was up to them.  They should have control over their bodies and take responsibility for their choices,” she says.

5. Let them help around the house

In building self-esteem, kids also need opportunities to demonstrate their competence and feel that their contribution is valuable, says Taylor.  At home, that means asking them, even when they’re toddlers, to help with cooking, setting the table and making beds.

6. Encourage them to pursue their interests (fully)

Another surefire way to boost confidence in kids is to encourage them to take on tasks they show interest in, then make sure they follow through to completion. It doesn’t matter what the task—it could be anything from swimming laps to beating levels in video games.  The point is for them to stick with what they start, so they feel that hit of accomplishment at the end.

7. What to do when children struggle or fail

What if your child’s self-esteem plummets when she gets cut from the gymnastics team or can’t memorize multiplication tables?

8. Don’t lose sleep over it

“So many parents have it backward,” Taylor says. “They think struggles and failure will hurt their kids’ self-esteem, but it’s actually a golden opportunity to help build it.”

9. Make clear that your love is unconditional

Let your child know you love her even when she fails or makes bad decisions. If all you talk about is performance, Sopik points out, she will think you only love her for her report card or the lead she got in the play.

10. Make sure your child’s goals are within reach, at a level appropriate for his ability

That may mean suggesting he join house league, where he can feel like a star rather than being the last one picked on the AA team. MacLeod learned this lesson when her son, Alex, was in grade two. Feeling like a failure at reading, Alex was ready to give up when MacLeod brought home some Magic Tree House books, which were slightly below Alex’s level.  “He read one every two days and was so proud of himself that he went on to read the Goosebumps series, no problem,” she recalls.  Afterward, mother and son talked about how Alex’s choice to practice paid off, and she praised his perseverance.

11. Offer appropriate praise

Although praise is often misused, when it’s specific and earned, it is a valuable self-esteem builder, Taylor says.

Lorna Crosse, a former music teacher, remembers asking her choir students to keep a “brag file” full of praise they earned.  Any time they saw their names in a program or newspaper article or received a complimentary note, they were to put it inside.  “When the kids had a bad day, they would take out those words of praise and read all the neat things they had done, and it would make them feel better about themselves.”

The brag file works because it shows kids specific ways they’re special and teaches them that practice reaps rewards, Taylor says.  And it’s the practice—the effort—that should be the focus of praise, Sopik says. “Don’t just say ‘great play’.  Tell him it was awesome how he passed the ball to his teammate.”

And keep in mind that a little indirect praise, such as stars on a chore chart, can work wonders.  Mom Nancy Botelho gets even more inventive. She makes sure her kids “overhear” a little boasting.  “I’ll tell my friends how the teacher said Margaret is so kind, or how I saw Bridget working so hard at tying her shoes.  The kids just shine.  Since they were spying, they know I mean it and I’m not just trying to make them feel good.”

Your self-esteem checklist

Here are some of the things that the Canadian Mental Health Association says you can do to help raise confident—not coddled—kids:

Feel special.  It’s important for you to help your children discover their own unique talents and qualities, and to value their own strengths. But also teach them that feeling special doesn’t mean feeling better than others.

Set goals.  Teach your kids to work towards a goal and to have pride in their accomplishments.  Provide them with opportunities for success.

Try, try again.  Encourage your children to try things their own way, face challenges and take risks.

Tips for Learning Dance Routines

by Treva Bedinghaus

Updated July 07, 2017

One of the most important skills for a new dancer is being able to learn the steps of dance routines.  Not many people realize how much brain and memory ability is required for becoming a successful dancer.  Not only must a dancer be able to execute several dance steps, he or she must also be able to remember the steps in a set order.  The ability to learn dance routines quickly is usually a prerequisite for dance auditions.

Directors and choreographers prefer dancers who are able to catch on fast.

The following four tips will help you learn how to quickly memorize dance routines.


Every dance routine can be broken down into a series of familiar steps and combinations.  Good dance instructors make an effort to instill core skills in introductory classes, urging students to learn both the step as well as the name of the step.  If you are familiar with the steps in the routine, the faster you will be able to combine them together to memorize a routine.  For example, if you are going to a ballet audition, it helps to brush up on the following: basic ballet steps, pirouette and ballet positions.


Choreography is generally taught in series of step combinations. Watch your dance instructor closely as he or she demonstrates the steps.  Good dance teachers will stand in front of the class and demonstrate each step slowly.

Wait until the teacher has completely finished demonstrating before trying the steps yourself.  Some dancers follow right along with the instructor, mimicking the steps as they are demonstrated.  If you fail to watch first, you risk missing part of the step.  It is better to watch first, then try.

If your instructor only teaches verbally without actually performing the steps, you may want to look for a new instructor.


Dance usually combines movements with music.  When a choreographer creates a dance routine, the chosen music selection is vital to the success of the dance.  A piece of music is often selected because it possesses certain beats and tempo changes.  Listen closely to the music.  Try to find the beat and mentally associate the steps along with the rhythm or lyrics of the song.  Remember those step combinations are often repeated each time the chorus of a song is played.


As with any new skill, practice makes perfect.  Do not be too hard on yourself if it seems to take you a little longer than others to learn the choreography of a dance routine.  Your ability to learn routines quickly will improve over time, as your mind will grow accustomed to forming associations.

Practice will bring about improvements in all areas of your dancing, which will make it easier to learn complicated step combinations.  The more comfortable you are with the steps, the easier it will be to link them together in your mind.

The Benefits of Dance for Kids


If you have kids, you may be wondering what is the best way to channel their seemingly boundless energy.  While traditional team sports are a good way to get your kids physically active, they may not be right for younger children.  Dance classes are a great alternative to team sports, and most studios offer lessons for children as young as two or three. Participating in dance classes can be beneficial for kids of all ages.

Improved Physical Health

Dancing is a highly physical activity, and kids who take dance lessons regularly should expect to see a significant improvement in their overall physical health.  According to Pro Dance Center, regular dance practice can increase your child's flexibility, range of motion, physical strength and stamina.  The repetitive movements involved in dance can improve muscle tone, correct poor posture, increase balance and coordination and improve overall cardiovascular health.  Dancing is an aerobic form of exercise.  For children who are overweight, it can potentially help them to lose weight and improve their eating habits.

Socialization Benefits

In addition to being a physical activity, dancing is also a highly social activity.  According to "FamilyTalk Magazine," dance lessons can help children improve their social and communication skills, learn how to work as part of a team, develop a greater sense of trust and cooperation and make new friends.  If your child is shy, enrolling her in dance can encourage her to reach out to other children her age and help to reduce her anxiety about new people or places.  Dance can also help to alleviate fears related to performing in front of an audience.

Educational Benefits

Becoming a skilled dancer requires practice, discipline and focus, skills that can be useful in other areas of your child's life.  According to "FamilyTalk Magazine," dance lessons can help to spark creativity in young children and help them to develop an appreciation for the arts. Students who regularly participate in dance lessons typically tend to perform better academically than their nonparticipating peers. "FamilyTalk Magazine" estimates that students who have a background in dance tend to achieve significantly higher SAT scores and do better in math and science competitions.

Improved Self-Esteem

As children adjust to the movements and postures required in dance, they begin to get a better sense of their bodies.  As they become more comfortable in their own skin, their confidence and self-esteem also improve.  According to EduDance, dance lessons can encourage children to foster a more positive attitude and explore their own self-expression. This can be particularly beneficial for children who are physically or mentally impaired or those who are attempting to deal with significant emotional problems.

10 Reasons Why All Boys Should Dance

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa

#10.  Strength, coordination, fitness, agility.  Dance keeps you in condition and makes you strong and fit for other sports – and life in general.

#9.  Dance builds strong, healthy muscles and bones.  It’s also good for “posture, deportment and aesthetic formation,” says Shaw Coleman, male freelance dancer currently working in Europe.

#8. Team work.   Dancing is more of a team sport than you’d think. Performing in a group routine or company hones team skills that will come in handy in all areas of life and work.

#7. Adventure.  Because there are so few male dancers in relation to females, the jobs available to men are particularly significant.  Dance can see you travelling all over the world, working with inspiring people in incredible locations.

#6. Mental strength. The discipline required to be a dancer is beneficial to any area of life.  Dance teaches perseverance, focus and the importance of positive thinking.  “Learning discipline will help you succeed in any other pursuit,” says Shaw.

#5. Self-esteem and confidence.  Dancers are forever putting themselves in challenging circumstances, such as on stage or in a difficult dance class.  If you can slay a dance floor, an audition or a stage performance, you’ll feel like you can achieve anything. Because you can.

#4. Health benefits.  As well as body awareness and general conditioning, dance has many health benefits.  According to Better Health, these include improved function of your heart and lungs, improved brain function and psychological well-being.

#3. Creativity and self-expression.  A dance studio is a safe place where people are free to express themselves creatively.  Dancing also helps to process emotions that are difficult to put into words.

#2. To be a leader not a follower.  It’s sadly common to be bullied for enjoying dancing, but in the long-run, it’s you who will come out on top.  Bullies usually do what they do because they are unhappy, so don’t give into peer pressure; lead the way and let them know you don’t care what they think.  You may even inspire them when they see how much fun you’re having.

#1. Everyone thinks it’s cool.  Seriously.  Even if they pretend otherwise, they are secretly envious of your dance floor ability.  Plus, adds Shaw: “Girls like guys with skills!”


Congratulations to Sydney, our February Student of the Month! Sydney is a versatile, talented, hard working dancer and a joy to teach.  She has her  eye on a Show Biz career and we look forward to seeing her star shinning bright! 

How to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time

by Joshua Becker

Here are 12 tips to help limit your child’s screen time.

Each of these are tried-and-true methods used in our home and others.

1. Set the Example.  Sorry to start with the toughest one, but there is nowhere else to start.  Children will always gravitate toward the modeled behaviors of their parents.  If they see you reading a book, they are more likely to read.  And if they see you watching television, so will they.

2. Be the Parent.  It is your job to encourage healthy behaviors and limit unhealthy ones – sometimes this means making unpopular decisions.  Make these tough decisions for your children.  And always go the next step of explaining why you have made the decision – this will help them follow through and someday choose it for themselves.

3. Set Limited Viewing Times.  If you are not going to turn off the television completely, choose the appropriate television viewing windows for your kids.  It is much easier to limit their viewing habit if they understand that they can only watch one show in the morning and one show after school (as just an example).

4. Encourage Other Activities.  And provide the necessary resources (books to read, board games, art supplies, and/or sporting equipment).

5. Play with Your Kids.  Get down on the floor with your kids and pick up a doll, truck, or ball.  It takes intentionality and selfless love when they are 6.  But when they turn 13, you’ll be glad you did.

6. Be Involved in Their Lives.  For many parents, it is just easier to turn on the television than to actually be involved in the lives of their children.  But those intimate life details are required for successful parenting.  So observe, listen, ask, and parent.

7. Cut your Cable / Remove Your Television Completely.  If you want a sure-fire way to limit your child’s television viewing habits, cut your cable/satellite television feed (or remove your television completely). It will change your family’s life overnight (it changed ours).  Oh, by the way, it will positively impact your checkbook too.

8. Observe Your Child’s Behavioral Changes.  Television has an immediate impact on your child’s behavior.  After too much television/video games, my children get irritable, aggressive, selfish, and impatient.  I can tell almost the moment I walk in the door.  Be on the look-out for these behavioral changes.  When you start to notice them yourself, you’ll be less inclined to put your kids in front of the screen.

9. Don’t Worry if They Miss Out on Parts of the Conversation.  Your child’s friend will talk about television.  They will compare notes about cartoons, Nickelodeon, or prime-time programming.  You will think that you are depriving your child of friendships because they can not join in on those parts of the conversation (I’m speaking from experience).  But don’t worry.  You will have successfully prepared to your child to enter into far deeper, richer conversations than the most recent Hannah Montana episode.

10. Value Family Meals and Car Rides.  About two-thirds (64%) of young people say the TV is usually on during meals.  That’s too bad because your family’s richest conversations will always take place during meals and in the car.  Value those times with you kids.  Don’t let the TV steal them from you.

11. No TV’s in Bedrooms.  Not your kids’ rooms.  And not yours either.

12. Find your mantra.  A mantra is a sound, word, or group of words that are considered capable of creating transformation. While the words may not be magic in themselves, the consistent use of them can be.  Every parent should have them and use them effectively.  My “too-much television” mantra goes like this, “There’s been too much screen time in this family.”  And every time my kids hear me say it, they know what it means… they know we are about to spend some quality time together.

Limiting your child’s screen time may seem like an impossible chore or it may seem like a battle that is too difficult to fight.  But it is worth fighting.

Implementing just a few steps right away will help you implement the others.  Television viewing is a momentum-gathering behavior.  The more you do it, the more compelled you are to continue (advertisements have that effect on viewers).  But the opposite is also true.  The more you turn it off, the easier it becomes to keep off. You’ve just got to start somewhere.

Flexibility: Answers to Dancers Most Asked Questions

By Stacey Nemour

I have selected some of the most asked questions that I receive from dancers regularly.  The following questions are also from two online dance magazines that I have recently done Q&As with.  The answers to these questions can also easily apply to gymnasts, synchronized swimmers and martial artists.

1. Should I stretch every day and what time of day is best?

I feel everyone is different.  For example some people are morning people and that time works best for them, but I peak in the early afternoon.  Also it’s important to pick a time that works with your schedule and commit to that as you would to brushing your teeth.  Listen to your own body clock with regards to best time of day.

It always good to warm up and cool down before and after you train.  For serious or professional dancers or athletes, six days a week of stretching is good with one or two rest days per week.  The body needs time to process, heal and repair.  As far as daily training in your sport, it helps to cross-train and work different muscle groups so the other muscles can repair.  This helps one progress.  Make sure you are stretching correctly with good form.  Never force or bounce.

2. My back leg turns out when I go into the front splits, how can I keep my hips square?

If you have developed the habit of going into the splits without being in correct alignment, the body becomes accustomed to that.  When you try to change that and do it technically correct, it can feel uncomfortable.  You may have had a tight back and hips to begin with, which may have lead to you cheating a bit, to feel like you are all the way down in the splits.

To help slide down into the splits with correct alignment, make sure you can feel the knee and the top of the foot of the back leg, on the the floor. The front leg and the foot should not be rolled in or out, the leg and knee should be pointing up to ceiling in one clean line.

3. What are the most important areas or muscle or muscle groups to stretch for increased flexibility (for legs — arabesque, developed, split leaps, splits, etc.)?

Since everything is connected — it’s good to take the time to stretch the entire body and do it in the correct order.  I like to start with upper body to get the energy going.  Then work my way down, with each stretch gradually becoming more intense.  Don’t forget to stretch the calve, it will make it easier to stretch the hamstrings and low back.  You want to get that whole line stretched.

Make sure you open up your outer hips (IT band) and stretch the waist to help the lower back to release.  Don’t forget the inner thighs, too, which is also a necessary area to prepare to perform the moves listed above in the question.  Ankle weights are good to use once you are warmed up.  This helps tire and strengthen the muscles to enable someone to increase their range of motion.

4. How do I know if I am overdoing it?

If you are feeling constant fatigue, soreness and your body is not performing at its best.  I recommend getting plenty of sleep and taking some rest days so the body can repair and store up energy.  This will help tremendously.  Also massage and going for a walk can help get rid of the lactic acid.

5. How can I recover flexibility after a hamstring injury?

It can be helpful to see a chiropractor that does the activator method.  Do not stop training completely.  Train around the injury with exercises that don’t bother the leg, such as a stationary bike, swimming and stretching. This will keep you in shape and get blood circulating to the injured area. This can help one to come back even stronger.  Don’t do anything that causes the bad kind of pain.  It also helps to visualize and see your body pain free and in top form.

6. What are The keys to flexibility?

A. Stretching properly with the correct form.

B. The body needs to be opened up step by step by doing the stretches in the correct order.

C. Using your breathing correctly is one of the biggest parts of getting results.

D. Relaxing — never force or bounce.

E. Warming up and cooling down regularly.

F. Dedicate certain days to just flexibility and core strength training

7. What do you feel like are the top three things dancers should focus on or include in their warm ups?

A. Create a sequence to wake up the major muscle groups to gently transition from whatever is going on in your day into practice that is completely focused.

B. Listen to your body.  If your body is talking to you through back pain, shoulder pain or if you are unable to master a new dance move because you are too tight, I suggest you learn the best stretches for your specific needs, to avoid ending up with a lots of frustration and injuries.

C. Once warmed up, gently start practicing similar movements on the floor and at the bar, that you will be practicing or performing.

8. What advice do you have for dancers looking to increase range of motion in their shoulders?

In my DVDs I demonstrate how to get a deeper stretch in my shoulders, by holding the wall and twisting away from it.  I also have my clients do exercises with light dumbbells to stretch and strengthen the back and shoulders.

9. What are some myths about flexibility?

People believe they are old too increase their flexibility.  The truth is anyone of any age can become more flexible, if they learn to do it properly and commit to it.

10. What do you wish dancers knew?

A. That the mind controls the body.  See yourself exactly the way you wish to be and the body will follow by doing exactly what you believe you are capable of.

B. Stay away from cigarettes and starving to be thin.  Treat food as medicine and learn to eat foods that heal and balance the body.  Then you will not have to worry about weight.  You’ll also perform at top level while feeling and looking your best.

11. How do you define flexibility?

To have the full range of motion in ones sport without pain or strain.

12. Why do you believe flexibility is important for dancers?

One’s level of flexibility affects that individual’s form, alignment, the ability to have clean lines, proper technique and it prevents injury.


This month we want to honor Stephanie Kazar, one of our amazing Adult dancers! This is Stephanie's first year with Rhythm Elements and we love having her in our dance studio family.  Stephanie danced in her youth and is back in her element rediscovering the part of herself that loves to dance.  She is doing a great job in her Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Zumba classes.  We are so inspired by our Adult dancers.  Way to go Stephanie and keep up the good work!