January Birthday: Mikhail Baryshnikov

January Birthday: Mikhail Baryshnikov

One new blog feature we’re adding on for 2018 is Famous Birthdays! Each month (maybe more than once a month!), we’re going to spotlight some of the world’s most talented dancers during their birthday month! You’ll get to know a little bit more about some of your favorites and, maybe, you’ll discover some NEW favorites! And who better to kick off the new year than the iconic Mikhail Baryshnikov!

Mikhail Baryshnikov was born on January 27th, 1948 in Riga, Latvia, to an engineer named Nikolay Baryshnikov and his dressmaker wife, Alexandra. At age 11 he began studying ballet and shortly thereafter, he entered the Vaganova School in St. Petersburg where he flourished as a top student and quickly became one of the strongest performers the instructors had seen. In 1974, Baryshnikov was on tour in Canada when he requested political asylum in Toronto, joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and announced that he would not return to the USSR. Soon, he began his role as a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre where he remained until 1978 and then danced with the New York City Ballet until 1979.

After his run in New York, Baryshnikov returned to the American Ballet Theatre, taking on the position of Artistic Director for nearly a decade. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States on July 3, 1986 and founded a touring company shortly thereafter called the White Oak Dance Project (1990-2002). In 2005, he launched the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. Today, Baryshnikov performs only occasion while he works behind the scenes on numerous projects. His name is synonymous which that of “iconic” and “legend”. His talent and work is celebrated around the world and rediscovered everyday by new generations.

From all of us at Plainfield Dance Academy:

Happy Birthday, Mikhail Baryshnikov!

 

[source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Baryshnikov]

Making 2018 Your Year to Shine!

Making 2018 Your Year to Shine!

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~John Wooden

For many people, a new year means a clean slate. It provides countless opportunities to try new things and improve one’s skills and daily habits. More often than not, people vow to eat healthier, exercise more and live a generally healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, this type of resolution is usually easier said than done which leads many to give up within only a few months. With this in mind, what can be done to ensure that we stick to our New Year resolutions? As dancers, especially, we hold ourselves to a scheduled routine and tend to be hard on ourselves when we break the flow of it. It’s a given, then, that we’re just as hard on ourselves when we break our resolutions.

Be Realistic

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Roll your eyes if you must but, it’s applicable to our topic. So many people disillusion themselves into thinking that they can change all habits without any difficulty or relapse. Try to keep in mind how active and health conscious you already are on a day-to-day basis. You can’t expect yourself to go from 0 to 60 in the matter of one day. Step back and take a look at what you can honestly achieve right now. It may not be as amazing as your goals for the long run but, it’ll help you get there. Being realistic is one of the most important things about setting goals because it will provide you with a better chance of accomplishing tasks.

One Step at a Time

Trying to take on your new goals can, sometimes, be daunting and even discouraging. This is why so many people end up giving up on theirs. For any large tasks in life, breaking it down into smaller steps can help a person actually accomplish more with less stress. By breaking your goals down into smaller steps, your goals are much easier to tackle. Lay out the plan for your goal from the easiest steps to the hardest and tackle them individually. Did you finish that first task? Okay, great! On to the next one! Each step you take will improve your skills or the habits you’re trying to develop.

But, what does all of this have to do with dancers in particular?

Dancers Are Athletes

Anyone who disagrees with the above statement is free to leave.

What’s one thing you’re guaranteed to hear from a dancer at least once in life? “I can’t. I have practice.” Why do athletes have to practice? Why does anyone practice anything? To get better. Unless you’re superhuman or a comic book character, it’s impossible to wake up one day with perfect abilities in whatever you want to do. Practice is necessary if you want to be good at anything. Scholars read, they study to pass all of the exams that they possibly can. Writers start out writing terrible stories and work their way up to writing better ones. Painters paint until they’ve created the artwork they’ve always dreamed of. Basketball players practice so that they can be as quick and swift as possible on the court come game time.  Dancer rehearse so that they can be the best at their craft as they can be. So that one day, they might get the day in the spotlight taking on an iconic role.

So, stop and think. What are your goals for 2018? What do you want to have accomplished by the end of it and what can you do to get there? Set an easy pace, make a practical list of steps to get you there, and step to it. You have full control of what you can and cannot do. Make this year your year of can do.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Staying In Shape During Your Break

Staying In Shape During Your Break

Around this time of the year, most dance studios/academy’s finishing up with their final performances of the season, about to give their final performance, or have already started their short break before the new year begins. In light of that, today’s post is all about keeping yourself in shape during your break. But, first…

 Congratulations. You’ve shown a lot of hard work, dedication and focus to your art. You know the phrase “hard work pays off”, don’t you? Well, let’s reflect on that for a moment. After all of that time and energy spent on your performances, what do you have left? Are you given any kind of award or prize for it? Usually not. Are you rewarded with any special titles? Probably not. So, what do you have to show for it?

At the beginning of the training process, did you have all of the choreography perfectly memorized right away? Of course not! That’s what the rehearsal process is for! You spent day after day and class after class learning the dances and getting better. Everything that you’ve learned is what you have to show for yourself. Everything that you’ve given into your performance is what you have to show for yourself. Your passion, your energy and your hard work is your prize. Please, be proud of yourself. Enjoy your well-deserved break!

A Healthy & Delicious Holiday

Thanksgiving isn’t the only holiday where people get over zealous about filling their stomachs to the brink. The holidays are full of tempting sweets that are perfectly fine in moderation. But, don’t go too crazy! Why don’t we pick out a few holiday dishes that are always a hit and won’t leave you feeling guilty afterwards.

An Easy Veggie Tree!

Probably the simplest recipe on this small list, this veggie tree will be a massive hit amongst the appetizers. You can decorate it however you want and with whichever veggies you want, too! A veggie or fruit platter will always go over well at any holiday party. And it’s a nice change of pace from all of the heavier food of the season.

The main reasons to bring this dish:

  1. It gives you a fall-back snack when you’ve had enough indulgences.
  2. Your health conscious friends and family will thank you for bringing something THEY CAN ACTUALLY EAT!

Squash Cranberry and Feta

Is your mouth watering yet? This simple, three-ingredient dish makes for an amazing side dish that’s packed with flavor! This is yet another simple and quick recipe that takes a minimal amount of ingredients and remains a party hit year after year. The combination of the sweetness of the cranberries with the savory flavors of the feta and the squash is unexpectedly fantastic. Here are a few fun tips!

  1. Use dried cranberries for the sweetest flavor!
  2. Try drizzling the honey after the dish has been baked to keep some of it’s naturally nutritious properties.
  3. If there will be any vegans at your party, the feta cheese can easily be swapped out for another vegan cheese!

For the recipe, click on the image!

Dark Chocolate Dipped Oranges with Sea Salt

If you’ve volunteered to add to the dessert table, this is the ultimate good-and-good-for-you dish. Are oranges delicious? Yes. Is dark chocolate a bittersweet delight? You bet! Does sea salt make the best hint of zing to any dessert? Duh! So, put them together! Use a dipping chocolate, dip the oranges completely or half-way. Sprinkle a small bit of sea salt and let them settle. There you go! All set!

Of course, the full recipe will be available to you by clicking on the image.

This is guaranteed to be the first thing to run out amongst the desserts. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, from the fruit and the chocolate, and savory, from the sea salt and the chocolate (again)!

Everyday Stretches

Make sure that you’re staying limber while you’re on break. There’s nothing worse than coming back to class after a vacation and not being able to move the way you used to. So, make sure that you’re stretching whenever you get a chance to.

Reading a book? You can stretch, too! Watching a movie? You can stretch, too! Folding laundry? You can stretch, too!

Basically, all downtime should have a stretching regiment implemented in.

Just as important as eating well, indulging in moderation, keeping up with your stretching… Make sure that you take some of this time off to relax, recuperate and be proud of all of the hard work you’ve put into your season. We, here at Plainfield Dance Academy, hope you enjoy your break. You deserve it.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Backstage Organizing Hacks!

Backstage Organizing Hacks!

As we, here at Plainfield Dance Academy, prepare in our last few days for the 2017 performance of The Nutcracker, one thing that’s been a continuing topic of conversation has been ORGANIZATION. Since most of our performances are off-site theaters and auditoriums, with the exception of small in-house showcases, there is a lot of transportation of set-pieces, props, costumes and everything else that goes into the production of a ballet. So, it’s very easy to lose track of smaller items and find the area that you use to prepare an absolute mess. We’re here today to prevent that! Today, we’ve gathered some quick, easy and inexpensive tricks to keeping your things organized backstage.

Shall we?

Make a Check List!

Before you even begin getting your things together, sit down and make a list of everything you’ll need throughout the run of the show. This makes it so much easier to confidently pack what you need without doubt of forgetting something. If it’s easier for you, break down the list into smaller subsections like hair, makeup, costumes, first-aid, personal, etc. Once you’ve written out one section of the list, move on to the next and the next until you’ve finished.

Check the list once or twice (like Santa Claus!) and make sure that you didn’t leave anything out. Now that your list is finished, you can move on to actually packing up for the show, following the list and know that you’ll have everything you need! Trust me, it’s much easier to pack, check the list and see what you still need to pack, rather than wracking your brain for 30 minutes trying to remember that thing you forgot to pack. Take the easy road, write a check list.

So, what’s the best way to organize your things? Well, that usually depends on the dancer. So, there are two options to be presented here…

Option 1: The Bento Organizer

Okay so, this technically isn’t a bento box because a bento is smaller, only has two to three section and is used for food. But, that’s the best way to describe this organizer. Basically, if you go to any crafts supply store, hardware store, even the dollar store, you can find these boxes which are usually used to hold tools or craft supplies. If you work more efficiently when you’ve got a small organizer in your possession, then using this will be your best choice.

With this, you can separate your items into individual sections. Not only does this keep things in their place and easier to find but, it’s been known that having an aesthetically clean area or environment helps ease the mind and reduce stress. So, doing this will help you in more ways than you might’ve expected!

When picking out your own box at the store, keep in mind the items that you plan on storing in it. Make sure that the box is big enough, there are enough sections and that the sections themselves are big enough for your items. If this organization plan works for you, let us know by sending your pictures to us on Facebook!

Option 2: The Hanging Organizer

Hanging organization is perfect if your venue has very limited backstage space or if your cast is too big for the venue. Basically, these have the same organization system as the box expect that it hangs rather than being stored somewhere.

One of the pros to using the hanger is that there are some versions of this on the market that have a space on the opposite side upon which you can hang your clothing/costumes. That will come in handy for those who provide their own costumes or need to have costume pieces or props in their possession. For some, a standing organizer is easy to keep clean and provides a more open view of your items when backstage.

If you’re provided with a makeup table/vanity space, you can hang this on the back of your chair to keep your tabletop clean and lay it across the tabletop when you’re getting ready. They’re very mobile, which makes using it backstage extremely easy.

And if you’ve got too many things to keep track of and you’re going to take part in a long-running show, go ahead and use both! Organize ALL THE THINGS!

Quick Tips!

If you’re in need of a small container to hold those easy-to-lose hair items, these diys/hacks are going to be your saving grace.

For storing bobbi pins, you can use a Tic Tac container to hold all of them. The first bonus with this trick is that the container will always smell amazing (make sure to pick your favorite flavor!). Second, this container is great because it’s got the snap-shut type of lid. So, you won’t have to worry about it falling open and scattering all over the place! If you feel like going the extra mile, you can even decorate it!

To hold your hair bands/hair ties/elastics/whatever you call them, just grab a utility clasp and pile them on! It’s as simple as that! Keep all of them in one place and if you need another one, you know where you can find them!

Don’t Forget These!

Short and simple- these items may save your life:

  1. Top Coat nail polish for runs in your tights.
  2. A lighter (with parental or adult supervision) for frayed ribbons.
  3. Bag/Shoe Deodorizer. Your cast-mates will thank you.

And our final tip is to make sure that you have extras of everything possible. It’s much better to be prepared for an accident that might never happen than to be unprepared for one that does.

See you backstage!!!

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

The Jazziest Nutcracker!

The Jazziest Nutcracker!

At this point in the holiday season, we’ve heard all of the music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite over a billion times (no exaggeration). And if you’re a dancer, parent of a dancer, sibling of a dancer, friend of a dancer, or associated with the dance world in any way whatsoever, take that one billion and multiply it by seventeen trillion.

Well, what if we were to tell you that there exists a version of the Nutcracker that won’t drive you insane? Could such a thing be real? It is real and it is glorious! I hope you’re ready because we’re about to travel back in time to when music was real music. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to introduce

Mr. Duke Ellington and Mr. Billy Strayhorn.

(Left)Ellington (Right) Strayhorn

From the early 1920’s until the mid-1960’s Duke Ellington, slowly but surely, took the world of big band and jazz music by storm with his own band for which he conducted, composed and acted as the band’s pianist. Fighting racial adversity and refusing to lay down to anyone, he is still today considered one of the greatest musicians of all time. Throughout the 1930’s, Ellington began to make a name for himself in the record industry making regular “appearances” on popular radio programs of the time. As his star rose, as did his band. Joining the band as lyricist and fill-in pianist when Ellington was busy conducting, was Billy Strayhorn. But, it wasn’t until 1941 when Ellington teamed up with Strayhorn to create the song which would become the theme for the Duke Ellington band and immortalize him in music history, Take the A Train. Even if you don’t know the name, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the song before.

Originally finding passion in classical music, Billy Strayhorn began his career at the age of 19 in Pittsburgh, writing for a professional show called Fantastic Rhythm. A few years later, Strayhorn met Ellington at a club to see the Duke Ellington band perform. After the show, Strayhorn played a few numbers on the piano for Ellington and history was made. The two would go on to write numerous compositions together, play countless concerts and leave behind a musical legacy like no other.

The Nutcracker Suite

In 1960, the music from one of the world’s most renowned ballets was recreated in a way that no one had ever heard before. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn teamed up to reinvent Piotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite into a full jazz band composition. The composition gave new life to this ballet classic known world wide as a Christmas favorite. Choosing signature songs from the ballet, they were rearranged to fit the modern audience of the day. The composition was a hit and has continued to wow audiences to this day, almost sixty years later!

Not only did they change the style of music, they went so far as to change the names of the songs within The Nutcracker that they covered to fit the music’s new tempo and genre.

“The Dance of the Reed Pipes” was titled “Toot Toot Tootie Toot”

“The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” was changed to “Sugar Rum Cherry”

“Russian Dance” was titled “Volga Vouty”

“Chinese Dance” was changed to “Chinoiserie”

“The Waltz of the Flowers” was titled “Danse of the Floreadores”

and “Arabian Dance” was changed to “Arabesque Cookie”

But, we’re not just here to TALK about this masterpiece! We’re here to share it with all of you! Click on the album cover above to listen! We hope that you’re as amazed and impressed with it as we are! Who says holidays tunes all have to sound the same?

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Cold Feet?!

Cold Feet?!

For a while now, we’ve been talking about keeping warm in this cold weather. Today, we’re going to focus on the feet. I mean, that’s what dancers dance on, right? So, since they take such a beating with each rehearsal and performance, we’ve decided to dedicate a full blog post to healing and caring for your talented little tootsies!

Here we go!

Stretching

As usual, it’s extremely important to stretch properly before and after dancing. When it’s cold out, the cool air makes the muscles more tense and tighter, which makes rigorous activity all the more challenging. In order for your body to work properly, it much be warmed up properly. Stretching out your arches and pointing your toes is always going to be a crowd favourite. And for good reason! That kind of exercise stretches out the muscles both on the bottoms of your feet and on the tops of your feet. And aside from the usual stretches, here’s one of our personal favorites:

Tennis Balls!

Using a tennis ball on the bottom of your foot is an amazing way to work out any kinks and warm up your muscles.This is an incredible warm up because it’s the least strenuous exercise for your muscles yet it’ll give you some of the best relief. Rolling a tennis ball under your foot massages your muscles in a variety of different directions. But, what does this have to do with keeping your feet warm? Well, massaging the muscles helps to improve blood circulation. And when you’ve got a healthy flow of blood in your feet, the warmer they’ll be! This is one that we definitely recommend for before and after dancing.

A Warm Foot Soak

Three words: Apple. Cider. Vinegar.

Soaking your feet in a warm tub of water with a splash of apple cider vinegar is going to change your life. 1.) It warms your muscles, which leaves you feeling more flexible. 2.) It softens your skin, which is a great first step to removing the dead skin from your feet. 3.) The warmth of the water improves the circulation in your feet, which leaves your feet feeling warmer longer! 4.) Apple Cider Vinegar is amazing at killing bacteria, which is just another way to keep your feet healthy!

Let’s Shop!

There’s a market for everyone, especially athletes. Especially ESPECIALLY dancers! So, of course, we’re going to take advantage of the world of online shopping and DIY’s to find the best techniques for maintaining warm and healthy feet.

Lotion Socks

You have GOT to try this! It’s extremely common for the skin on your feet to dry out during the colder months. So, this little trick will be a life saver!

All you need is some extra hydrating lotion, plastic wrap (don’t run away just yet) and some warm fuzzy socks.

Apply a generous amount of the lotion to your feet and then wrap them in the plastic wrap to keep the moisture locked in. Once you’ve finished wrapping your feet, you can put your fuzzy socks on over them. Not only are you hydrating your dry feet but, you’re also keeping your feet nice and toasty while doing it!

And when you remove those socks, you’re left with the softest and most rejuvenated feet you could wish for!

Compression Socks

Welcome to heaven! If you’ve yet to venture into the world of compression socks, you’ve seriously been missing out. Made specifically for athletes, compression socks are built in a way that helps promote healthy blood circulation and prevent injury to the feet; namely the arch of the foot.

As we’ve stated many, many times, blood flow is crucial to your overall health and keeps your body warm. Personally, I’d recommend wearing compression socks whenever possible to prevent any injury to your feet.

 

There about a million other short-term tricks to keeping your feet warm and healthy during cold weather. Wearing socks fresh out of the dryer, put some hand warmers in your socks, and on and on…

What are your favorite tricks and have you tried any of the ones we mentioned here today? Let us know!

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

15 Days Until The Nutcracker!

15 Days Until The Nutcracker!

Can it really be true?

Believe it or not, we’re already a mere 15 days away from Plainfield Dance Academy’s 2017 production of The Nutcracker!

Our dancers have been working tirelessly to bring their best foot forward in this show. Their dedication to this performance is better than we’ve seen in any of our previous years and we cannot wait to share it with all of you!

It’s been a busy season for us at Plainfield Dance Academy with our production of the Nutcracker, housing rehearsals for the Moscow Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker, selling tickets and working with Butter-Braids for our fundraiser. And we’re beyond elated to see all of our students’ hard work come to life on that stage on December 10th at the Plainfield South High School Auditorium!

What’s been YOUR favourite part about this dance season? The rehearsals? Seeing the costume fittings? Let us know!

The Nutcracker by Disney!

The Nutcracker by Disney!

December 10th, 2017 at the Plainfield South High School Auditorium, Plainfield Dance Academy will be performing their annual production of The Nutcracker!

Now that we’re a little less than a month away from the big day, we thought it’d be a fun idea to do a few special posts about this most beloved holiday ballet leading up to our performance! And since Saturday mornings are when we have our Pre-Ballet – Ballet 2 classes with the little ones, we thought that we’d talk about our favourite childhood memory of the music from the Nutcracker: Disney’s Fantasia!

In 1940, Walt Disney with his best team of animators, accompanied by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, created what would become one of Disney’s most beloved classics. Using classical music to narrate the stories, the animators created their own works of art not based on the original intent of the music but, the feeling and imagery it brought to mind for them. Through this concept, they changed the way people listened to the music from Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece.

What is The Nutcracker?

The story that appears in The Nutcracker ballet is based on a story written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816 called “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. The story follows Marie, 7, her eight year old brother Fritz, as they spend the Christmas holiday with their grandfather, Drosselmeier. Marie sees a nutcracker on the mantel, which Drosselmeier says she can be the special caretaker of. After an argument with her brother for breaking the nutcracker, Marie sleeps and dreams of many different adventures with the nutcracker, armies of mice and other fanciful dreams.

Using this story, Tchaikovsky wrote his last and most famous ballet of a similar name: The Nutcracker, in 1891. Changing Marie’s name to Clara, as well as a few other minor details, the music as well as the ballet itself has become one of the most recognizable works of art in the world. Oddly enough, it’s widely known that Tchaikovsky wasn’t pleased with the end result of the music, thinking of it as one of the worst pieces he’d ever written. How wrong a person can be!

Fantasia!

When Disney gained the rights to use the music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker in their film, they created stories completely different than that most commonly associated with this music.

The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

In this visual recreation of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, we follow the clever fairies of the forest who bring color and life to the dull, colorless world. They dance and fly about spreading joy, whimsy, color and fun to the flowers, trees and waters.

Some fairies use their magic to make flowers bloom and spread a glistening dew upon the various plants in the forest, representing the Spring and Summer.

This imagery makes the changing of the weather seem more magical than you could’ve possibly thought! Click the image to watch the video!

The Chinese Dance

In this sequence, we are introduced to a small family of mushrooms, dancing in a circle, with the star of the number being the runt of the group. During this performance, the tiniest mushroom tries desperately to keep up with the bigger mushrooms without being left out. He struggles to keep up with the number but, ultimately takes center-stage in the finale spotlight!

It’s as whimsical and light-hearted and the music itself and one of the Fantasia crowd-favorites.

Dance of the Reed Flutes

The animators used the idea of dancing flowers and turned them into ballerinas. Following the music as it speeds up, increases in volume and intensity, and decreases its intensity, the flowers spin on point just as dancers in a pair of pointe shoes.

The majority of the flowers, the company of dancers, are a variety of orange, pink and blue. In the center is the solo white flower’ the prima ballerina. At the end of the number, the entire company of flowers and the white flower spin off of a waterfall to bring us to the next number.

The Arabian Dance

This scene slows things down a bit with an almost trans-causing dance by a fish that the Disney animators interestingly enough named “the Lola fish”. Take that however you will. It’s a very short piece that Disney didn’t really make too much of a story out of.

But, the animation is top notch for it’s time with the way they animated under water movement and it’s effect on the water itself. Many people said the same thing and saw this as a turning point for the Disney animation team. Oh boy, if they only knew what the future had in store for them.

The Russian Dance

Not only is this one of the most popular numbers in the Nutcracker suite, this animation sequence is one of the most beloved number in Fantasia. The Disney animators knocked it out of the park with bright colors and lively imagery that they put to this music. The thistle flowers represent the male dancers and the orchids represent the female dancers, even looking somewhat similar to what traditional Russian dancers wear!

The joy and uptempo beat of the song makes it very easy to watch and enjoy. For a brief moment, you almost forget that these are dancing flowers because of the animators ability to humanize them through their appearance and mannerisms!

The Waltz of the Flowers

Do you remember the Spring and Summer fairies from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies? Well, in this final Nutcracker piece, we are introduced to the fairies of the Autumn and Winter. The music helps tell the tale of the fairies who change the colors of the leaves and bring the frost and snowflakes to the world. These are the fairies who freeze water and skate upon it leaving behind trails of their magic.

The way the music captures the power and might of the winter at the end, moves seamlessly with the work of the animators. It’s images like these that helped so many little girls decide to become little ballerinas themselves and then find out that they get to dance to this exact same music!

The Disney animators responsible for the classic that is Fantasia are considered pioneers in the way animation is perceived and in the way we perceive music. The music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite is timeless and brings many different memories to each person that listens to it.

Tell us, what does this music do for you?

click to buy tickets!

Winter Weather Stretches

Winter Weather Stretches

Fun Fact!

When the body feels a chill, your neck, back and shoulders tense up and tighten. With enough exposure to colder weather, your body can start feeling tired and sore. This can cause some serious problems for your body in the long run. Seeing as this is a blog dedicated to the betterment of the dancer’s life and the love of all things ballet, we’re going to discuss some of the best stretches and exercises to help relieve tension from your muscles this autumn/winter. Shall we begin?

Foam Rollers & Tennis Balls

Foam rollers are best, in our opinion, for loosening up your back after coming in from the cold and warming up. Loosening up your muscles will help relieve any tension you feel after being out in the cold. It’s best, when using a foam roller, to relax your muscles. Not only would the foam roller have no positive effect on flexed muscles but, it can also cause minor bruising, much like receiving a vaccine with a tense arm.

Tennis balls are best used to target small, specific problem areas. It may be that your back, overall, feels fine except for one small knot in the upper left side of your back. Rolling that spot on the tennis ball on the floor is an amazing way to work out that kind of kink. The same goes for other areas like the neck, lower back, legs, even hands!

Aside from working out the kinks, let’s see what else can be done to fix yourself after that cold weather!

Yoga, Yoga & More Yoga!

First of all, to see the image in greater detail, click on it! It’ll take you to the pin on Pinterest, which I’m sure you’ll want to save!

Like I said before, the cold weather effects the way your muscles respond to the temperatures. Your neck will most likely stiffen, your shoulders tend to raise and all of this wears out your back. So, doing these stretches/poses will help you to loosen up your stiff and tense areas. But what’s so bad about stiffness? Well, down the line, it can cause problems like osteoporosis, severe knots, even (in some BAD cases) minor nerve damage.

In all honesty, these are stretches that should be done ALL year around, not just in the winter. But, the winter will definitely be the most effective time to do it. Just make sure that you’re not over doing it. The last thing you want to do is cause further damage by over extending yourself. Listen to what your body is telling you. If it’s in pain, figure out what you can do to fix it. If you need to work it out, work it out! If you need to take it easy, take it easy!

No matter the case, take care of yourself and enjoy the seasons.

What’s New at P.D.A.?

What’s New at P.D.A.?

THERE’S SO MUCH HAPPENING!!!

Well, friends, Winter is upon us and there are so many things going on here at Plainfield Dance Academy. Like what? Well, I’ll tell you!

The Nutcracker!

First of all, we’re in the heat of rehearsals for the 2017 production of The Nutcracker, which will be at the Plainfield South High School Auditorium on December 10th. With more and more people getting involved, things have started getting busy, busy busy! And while we’re talking about The Nutcracker, let’s talk parent volunteers.

Volunteers!

We’re still looking for parent volunteers to help out during the dress rehearsal and at the performance on December 10th. Parents will still be able to see the show from their seats in their reserved area in the theater. So, don’t worry! You won’t have to miss a thing! Let us know if you’re available to help out. You know the P.D.A. phone number, it’s (815)230-5893, remember?!

Fundraiser Time!

You know what else we’re excited about? Our partnership with Butter-Braid for a fundraiser! This fundraiser will help us raise money for new costumes for our dancers! That’s something we can ALL get excited about, right? And who can resist the amazing food from Butter-Braid? We get to sell 7 incredible breads like the Apple, Cinnamon, Cream Cheese, Raspberry, Caramel Rolls Strawberry & Cream Cheese, and the 4 Cheese and Herb! YUM YUM YUM!!!!! All orders are to be turned in by November 28th to the P.D.A. front desk.

Random News!

The P.D.A. Nutcracker So-Called “Class”.

We’ve created a “class” in the Jackrabbit system for those participating in the Wheatland Dance Theater/Plainfield Dance Academy Nutcracker as a way of keeping track of those involved and communicating to the entire cast and crew more efficiently. So, don’t panic if you’ve seen a class added to your schedule! DON’T PANIC!!

New Tap Classes!

If you haven’t seen the new sign on the front door, Plainfield Dance Academy is now offering a Tap class for Ages 7+ on Wednesdays at 5:30PM until 6PM! We’re also going to introduce a brand new Adult Tap class: Beginning Adult Tap for ages 18+ on Wednesdays at 6pm until 6:30PM! If you’ve had enough of your kids having all the fun, it’s time to have some fun for yourself! See the front desk for more information!

The “Shupa Lounge”!

Who’s seen the brand new dressing room and third studio space here at Plainfield Dance?

Beautiful, isn’t it? One question we keep getting is “Why does the wall say Merde?”. Well, allow me to explain.

One of the most popular stories involving this word comes from the streets of Paris in the earliest days of ballet. Most people would perform in the streets as a way of earning extra money or because they were unable to afford time in one of the few theaters of the city. During these public performances, passersby and viewers would shout “Merde!” as a way to warn the performer not to step in the… merde of an animal. As this continued, this became a strange tradition and inside-joke with the dance community and a way of wishing someone good luck. There’s your fun fact for the day! Maybe we’ll expand on this in the next blog post!

Anyway…

We’ll be posting photos of the studio on Facebook and our other social media outlets once we’ve put on all of the finishing touches. But for now, we think you’ve gotten pretty caught up on the goings-on of the studio.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry