Efficient alignment

I liked the reminder that was given at the IADMS Day for Teachers regarding muscular support for efficient alignment. When observing and analysing the student's posture/alignment it helps to ask yourself the following questions:

1 What is too tight?

2 What is too weak?

3 What is being recruited inappropriately?

Where we observe muscular imbalances we need to pay attention to whether muscles that appear too tight are indeed too tight (is it a flexibility issue?) or are they being recruited inappropriately (causing tension caused through using too much effort). Too much effort or over recruitment of muscles can result in rigidity where the dancer's muscles are too tense and this in turn prevents her/him moving efficiently.

Growth spurt

Working with dance students when they are going through the growth spurt as an adolescent is challenging for both the teacher and the dancer. When we refer to the growth spurt we are referring to when dramatic changes occur - for example, when the student is growing very quickly - perhaps up to as much as a centimetre in height each month. To help steer the student through this time in his/her dance training needs an understanding of the changes physically, nutritional considerations, psychological issues and training modifications to accommodate the needs of each student during the growth spurt. IADMS has an excellent resource paper that can be downloaded for free from the resources section on the website www.iadms.org

A must read chapter of a book by Julia Buckroyd (2000) can be found in The Student Dancer - emotional aspects of the teaching and learning of dance (published by Dance Books). Chapter 4 - Adolescence and Professional Dance Training - helps us to understand how dance training can facilitate and enable emotional growth in students. Julia Buckroyd looks at various aspects of adolescent development and explores how they impact on dance training. This book is easily found via many online book sellers.

IADMS Day for Teachers

Returned from the IADMS conference and Day for Teachers with my head full of great ideas, new ways of thinking or doing and so much to consider, as always. The Day for Teachers was all about Safe and Effective Dance Practice and it was packed full of wonderful knowledge and understanding that can contribute so much toward helping dance teachers to help their students. There are some excellent teaching tips that I want to share with you so I will add some snippets about them this week.