Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lyrical & Modern "Shoes" - Do You Wear Them?

I prefer bare feet for my modern and contemporary classes, but lately my students have been wearing FootUndeez or Dance Paws (the ones with stripes, polka dots, sparkles, etc) to class. I feel like an old lady but I tell them "when I was your age, those shoes didn't exist and we toughened our feet by dancing barefoot. We we proud of our callouses". In college, we were not allowed to wear them and quickly adapted to dancing on marley barefoot.

Then my students laugh at me and pull on their rainbow colored modern "shoe" over their tender, un-calloused feet.  So here's my question to you, dear reader:

What do YOU wear on your feet to modern / lyrical class?  
Or if you're a teacher - what do you allow your students to wear in class?  For performance?

If you're not sure of what I'm talking about, they are little shoes that slip on over your toes and just over the ball of your foot to reduce friction and help with turns.

As a teacher, I allow my recreational students to wear them in class and in recital, but they must be skin-toned for the recital.  And they must make a choice - whatever they plan to wear for the show, they must wear for class.

For my competitive students, I do not allow the to wear them for modern dances and for lyrical, I make a decision on the day of competition based on the surface of the stage. For slippery stages, they go barefoot.

As a dancer, I don't like the feeling of things between my toes while I dance.  I have a wide foot and the "Pawz" and "FootUndeez" cut off the circulation to my pinkie toe - does anyone else have that problem?  I think I might like the half-ballet shoe (top row, middle), but for now I will remain shoeless.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pinspiration: Lifts & Partnering

If you're not on Pinterest - don't join, it's too addicting! If you are - add me to see all the lovely dance things I find around the web.

This week I was looking for some inspiration in the partnering department and I found some lovely unique lifts I'd like to share.

Alonzo King "Lines Ballet"


I was unable to find the credits for the last three photos so if anyone knows who the dancers or photographers are, please post a comment so I can credit them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blank Wall Makeover

I painted one of my studios this summer and hadn't gotten around to putting the posters back up. I guess I have been enjoying the simplicity of the bare walls. I felt like the wall above the barre was looking a little too bare, so I thought about what to do with the space:

  • Put the posters back up - our posters were getting faded and ragged, so this idea got thrown out - aside from looking for new posters.
  • Have someone paint a mural - might be expensive and I couldn't decide what to put up.
  • Some sort of special wall the students could help make (handprints, signing the wall)... 
I wanted something large and graphic but not so distracting that it would take away from class.  I also didn't want to spend more than $100 for supplies and /or labor.  I starting searching craigslist and eBay for any posters or large graphic. That's when I came upon this:

Wall stickers!  And available in a ton of colors too (found on eBay).  I decided to go with white so that it wouldn't be too distracting.

It was a little daunting when it arrived - the sticker comes in 8 pieces, each about three and a half feet tall by one and half feet wide.  The instructions said to tape all of the pieces on the wall first, but I decided to do one piece at a time.  I chose the one labeled "A" so I was at least going alphabetically.

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Music Monday: Tap Solo Songs!

Do you have a student who can't keep his or her feet from flying?  Try these super-quick songs:
  • "Airmail Special" (Nikki Yanofsky) iTunes Live from Montreal - Nikki Yanofsky
  • "Bumble Boogie" (Freddie Martin) Bumble Boogie - Big Band Bash

More Jazz Tunes
  • "Frim Fram Sauce" (Diana Krall) Frim Fram Sauce - The Very Best of Diana Krall - A great soft shoe song - Diana Krall's voice and the slow jazz music are perfectly suited for some tapping on top.  Just make sure your soloist has the stage presence to pull off this slower number.
  • "This Can't Be Love" (Stacey Kent) In Love Again - Stacey Kent - Enjoy Diana Krall?  Check out Stacey Kent for some other lovely tappable female jazz vocals.
  • "Steppin' Out" (Tony Bennett) Steppin' Out With My Baby - The Ultimate Tony Bennett- perfect for a male tap solo

Fresh Tap Music

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thera-Bands for Dancers: Improve Balance

Here's some other posts you might enjoy:  Preparing to Exercise, Foot & Ankle Exercises or read all the posts here: Thera-bands for Dancers

Today's post contains exercises you can do in class or at home to improve your muscle strength.  Before you begin, remember to review our exercise tips.

Benefit to dancers: Strengthened hip flexor muscles and improving balance on one leg (which helps with turns and static poses).

All of these exercises need the band to be stabilized by a stationary object low to the floor.  At home, this could be a sturdy table, bed post or other heavy piece of furniture. In class, you could use a partner - just remind the students to check their bands for small tears which could cause the band to snap.

Slow Degages to the Side (Hip Abduction / Adduction)
Loop the band around your ankle and attach the other end to the sturdy object.

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