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.

Your Winter Dance Bag

Your Winter Dance Bag

It’s important to keep your dance bag packed and well-stocked all throughout the year. Your dance bag is going to be your holy grail item to have with you in rehearsals. This is where you keep your must-have items to help you stay in shape and adequately prepared for your class/workout. The usual list for a dance bag is as follows:

  • water bottle
  • snacks
  • leotard
  • tights
  • bobby pins
  • deodorant
  • sweat towel
  • hair ties
  • dance shoes
  • phone charger
  • wallet
  • lip balm/chapstick
  • Advil/Ibuprofen
  • personal hygiene products

Of course, every dance bag varies depending on the dancer. So, the list above is really a very basic idea of what should be in a dancer’s rehearsal bag.

As the weather change and becomes dryer and colder, your day-to-day necessities are going to change, too. And the things you keep in your bag are going to change a bit. Let’s take a look at what you should add to your checklist for your dance bag, shall we?

  • hand lotion/body lotion
    • Colder weather tends to dry out a person’s skin. So, keeping your skin well moisturized will help you to continue to move effortlessly.
  • leg-warmers
    • Remember our last post? Leg -warmers are a dancer’s best friend during fall and winter. So, stock up!
  • booties
    • Stop giggling, you goof. I’m talking about those little boots that you wear outside of rehearsal to keep your feet warm!
  • sweatshirt/hoodie
    • This one doesn’t really need explaining but, here it goes anyway. Regardless of how much you sweat during your class, you’re still going to have to keep your body warm. So, do it.
  • tissues
    • With fall and winter comes the sniffles. The cold and flu viruses run rampant around this time and it’s best to be well-stocked with the necessities.
  • cough drops
    • Do you happen to remember what we said in the last post about sore throats? Keeping your throat healthy is a MAJOR factor in keeping yourself healthy altogether.

Is there anything else we need to add to our list? What do YOU keep in your dance bag? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Leg-Warmers, Hats & Scarves! Oh My!

Leg-Warmers, Hats & Scarves! Oh My!

It’s been mentioned on this blog before, the importance of taking care of your body as the weather changes. Well, with the temps dropping somewhat rapidly at P.D.A., we’d like to reiterate the significance of bundling up!

Did You Know…

That it’s much harder for your body to fight viruses if it isn’t at the appropriate temperature? Basically, if you’re colder, it’s a lot harder for your body to fight off the cold and other illnesses. Though it’s yet to be confirmed in the medical field, many studies on this very topic have, indeed, proven this to be true.

What Should You Do?

Layer up! Wearing multiple layers makes it harder for the cold air to get trapped within the fabric of your clothing. The more layers, the more your body has protecting it to store it’s natural heat. More clothing = a warmer body = a healthier you! Now take a look at today’s title. Leg-warmers, hats and scarves are the holy trinity of keeping warm and that’s what we’re going to focus on today.

Leg-Warmers

Did You Know…

That nearly 53% of people in the U.S. complain about having cold feet? And we’re not just talking about wedding jitters!

The lower parts of your body actually harbors more heat than you might give it credit for. Obviously, when the weather changes, it’s a good idea to throw on some cozy boots but, going the extra mile won’t do you any harm! Sometimes, wearing warm shoes just isn’t enough and that heat from your feet still finds a way to escape, leaving you feeling cold anyway! By throwing on some leg-warmers, you’re giving your legs a chance to trap that feet heat and give you one less thing to worry about.

Hats

Did You Know…

That a large portion, nearly 40%, of your body heat is lost through your head?

That’s why it is so imperative that hats need to be worn once the weather starts changing. Not only will you be preventing body-heat loss but, hats (when worn properly) are a great way to protect your ears from the harsh, cold winds. When your ears are exposed to winds below 40 degrees, the chances of ear-aches and migraines rise significantly. So, do yourself a favor. Go to the mall, pick out a few nice but function-able hats and do your thing!

Scarves

Did you Know…

Everyone carries the cold and flu viruses but, those who keep their noses and throats warm are less likely to show symptoms? It’s true!

Do scarves have the ability to be insanely fashionable? Of course! But, they can be so much more! Right now, the weather isn’t so severe that you need to cover your nose. So, we’ll focus on the throat for a moment. Keeping your throat warm will help you prevent injury to your vocal chords. And while this isn’t a singing blog, it is important to keep your throat healthy regardless. Sore throats and voice- loss are caused by stretching cold muscles. Keeping your throat warm will prevent this type of injury and prevent some of those cold viruses from taking hold!

When the weather turns even colder, covering your nose will not only keep you warmer, longer but it will also keep you from inhaling more of those nasty seasonal viruses. It also makes for a helpful shield should someone nearby cough or sneeze!

What does all of this medical jargon have to do with being a dancer? Well, your body is your instrument. And you want to keep yourself in the best shape possible, don’t you? So, keep yourself nice and bundled up!

Dance Because You Love It!

Dance Because You Love It!

Why do we dance? Is it because we’re expected to? Is it because we’re told we have to?

We dance because we love it. Dance is a form of self-expression for which only a select few posses a talent. When your craft is fueled by passion, the combination is virtually unstoppable. Sometimes, it’s easy to loose sight of the initial passion you have for the art when you’re constantly on the go with rehearsals, competitions, classes and so on. So, let’s take a moment today to think about why we dance.

Why did we start?

When we were little, most likely, we saw ballerinas as perfect and beautiful. We wanted to be just like them. They were beautiful and graceful and everyone loved them. Once we started our first ballet class, we wanted to show what we could do to everyone we knew. Our parents, aunts, uncles and other adults praised us for behaving so well in class, working hard and for doing such a lovely job. We loved that attention and all of the positive reinforcement.

Going to class was a treat. Not only did we get to dance, but we got to dress in the most lovely “ballerina outfits”, see our ballet friends and our favorite teachers ever! Class was always a blast because we were learning to do a special dance for our first ever dance recital.

When it came time for the first dance recital, that spotlight was the greatest thing we’d ever seen and we wanted MORE. Being on stage in front of an audience was the greatest thrill we’d ever known. If this was what being a ballerina was like, then that was the life for us!

Do you remember being that little girl? Which feelings come back to you when you think about those days? Sometimes, going back to the beginning can help you remember why you started. How long has it been since you were that little girl? What about you has changed? How much have you learned in all that time?

How the Time Flies…

If you could go back and let your little self see all that you’ve learned in your ballet career, do you think she’d be proud of you? She would be. She would because you’re what she envisions for her future. She wants to grow up and as much as she can about ballet along the way. Have you been doing that? Yes? Good. She wants to stay focused and perform in front of many more audiences at many more recitals. Have you done this, too? You have? Wonderful. She wants to become a ballerina that the little ones like her aspire to be. Are you doing that for the little girls around you? You are? Beautiful.

The hardest part about following your dreams is that we don’t have the chance to see into the future and know how things will turn out. I’m sure we’d all love a chance to revisit our younger selves. But, having a passion doesn’t means 100% assurance that you’re doing things perfectly. It’s about loving the art that you’ve chosen and doing your best to present it in the most thrilling, thought provoking and stunning ways possible.

When you feel like you haven’t done enough or you’re questioning why you’re still dancing, remember that little girl. Remember how much the art of ballet meant to her. And then show her that you haven’t let her down. Keep working, keep learning and keep your sights set on your dreams. Dreams are only dreams until you make them come true.

Costumes So On Pointe, It’s Scary!

Costumes So On Pointe, It’s Scary!

Quick History Lesson

As many already know, Halloween was originally a pagan holiday called All Hallow’s Eve; a night in which the spirits of the dead could walk amongst the living. People of the time would dress as ghouls themselves to trick the spirits into leaving them alone and out of harm’s way. The tradition of trick-or-treating began as a peace offering from the living to the dead. Leaving out treats for the spirits and offering treats to those dressed as spirits would show a sign of peace among the two worlds, the world of the living and the world of the dead.

Now for the fun!

To this day, we keep up the tradition of dressing up, although the motivation behind the tradition has changed over the years.

As dancers, we have an ability that most others don’t. We have the ability to move swiftly, gracefully, almost gliding past others with our movements. Some might say that a ballet dancer sometimes looks like they’re floating on air rather than dancing. So, why not take this opportunity to relive the past and really celebrate Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, the way it was intended. Here are some costume ideas that are so on pointe, it’s scary!

The Lady in White

If you’re a fan of ghost hunting shows like Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, etc., then you’ve heard countless stories about places being haunted by a lady in white. And no, it’s not the same lady. There ladies in white haunting buildings and sites all over the world. Usually they’re quiet, polite and mostly seen roaming the halls or appearing in doorways or balconies. While many ghosts are known to be scary or spooky, the lady in white is mostly intriguing and mysterious.

With some tulle or other sheer white/off-white fabrics, nude pointe shoes and and some sort of prop (recommended: a candlestick, candelabra or a lantern), you can float around and catch the eye of everyone around you. For some extra effects, use a pale foundation for a “lifeless” face and gray powder for dull, dead eyes. If you’re going to a Halloween party, it’s an even better opportunity to surprise your friends by disappearing around the corners!

The Bride of the Dead

This is another excellent choice if you want to go for something more creepy and mysterious than full-on scary. The bride of the dead, or the black bride is yet another figure in the paranormal that has been seen in many different haunted locations. Sometimes evil, sometimes broken-hearted, the bride of the dead is another character who floats amongst the living and disappears into thin air. Anyone can rock this costume but, especially dancers because of their grace.

Using a long black dress, maybe spray paint an old prom dress you don’t care so much about, black gloves and a black veil to cover your face. If you want to go the extra mile, you can dust some black powder and use any other black makeup to hide your face further. Talk about a dark spirit!

The Grim Reaper

What’s scarier than death itself? Talk about the ultimate creeping, looming figure.

The grim reaper instills fear in everyone it passes, especially on Halloween. This costume is perfect to creep out your friends, fellow party-goers and passerby. The key is to move as smoothly as possible and remain absolutely silent. The one thing the grim reaper is known for is silence, mystery and intimidation. Never answer anyone’s questions and always hover. And when people ask you who’s hiding in that costume (because they definitely will) you will give them no answer. BOOM! Instant fear!

Find a large/over-sized black or gray hooded cloak at a costume shoppe, or creating one on your own, that’s basically your entire costume! For extra spook factor, dust it with a light application of baby powder to give it an aged look. I mean, think about it, have you ever seen an old haunted mansion that isn’t covered in dust? I think not. The final step is to cover your face with dark makeup or find a dark mask to wear. Get a lantern or candelabra or (FAKE) reaper to carry and spook your friends.

And Now, The SCARY One…

The Undead Ballerina!

What’s the perfect costume for a ballerina? A ballerina of course! But, this is Halloween, a time for the dead to walk among the living. So, an undead or zombie ballerina is obviously a perfect fit!

Find some of your old costumes that you don’t use anymore and are allowed to mess up for this costume. Add some dirt, tear it up a little, splash it with fake blood and you’re off to scare the pants off of those trick-or-treaters!  If you can stand wearing costume contact lenses like the ones in this picture, then more power to ya! This is a costume that’s guaranteed to shock friends, disgust family and give party-goers the heeby-geebies!

Well, those are our costume recommendations for you! Do you have any that you’d like to share with us? Leave us a comment! Which one of ours is your favourite? If you’re unsure what to be this year, we hope this helped!

Reach Your Goals As A Dancer!

Reach Your Goals As A Dancer!

Dancing is not only about being passionate and loving what you do; it’s also about working hard and putting in the time and energy required to push yourself to be better. Sometimes, we fall flat on our face and decide to stay there. Sometimes, we work harder than we ever have and only improve in the slightest ways. It’s easy to feel discouraged and even easier to discourage ourselves. Time and time again, we tell ourselves that “it’s never going to happen” or that it’s “always going to be a dream”. But, it doesn’t have to be. Instead of only looking at the giant end goal that we’ve set so far ahead of ourselves, let’s break it up into smaller, individual goals that will get us closer to what we want to achieve.

This can be helpful in any type of mission. But, dancers are something special. We have so much to accomplish and tend to feel the senses of accomplishment or defeat much stronger than the average person. Because of this, breaking up an overall goal will help to ease the anxiety and stress that dancers often cause themselves.

But, how do we break our goals up? Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Monthly Goals

Just as the current month ends, sit down and make a small (PRACTICAL) list of goals to accomplish within the next month. This way, you won’t overwhelm yourself with too much at once. Do this for each month.

2. One-Year Plan

Where do you want to be with your goals in a year? Don’t be too specific or you’ll feel unaccomplished by the time you get there. When a full year goes by, stop and look at how much you’ve accomplished already. Then, set out for your next One-Year plan. Your plan should be something that you could only accomplish within that year. For example, after joining your first dance class, you should not make your plan to be starring in the Royal Ballet as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. That’s just not going to happen. Instead, the goal should be to learn and improve as much as possible to exceed into the next level or levels of training. A one-year plan is only good if it’s realistic.

3. 5 Years From Now.

Similar to the one-year plan, a plan for 5 years ahead needs to be something you can actually accomplish in that time frame. Are you trying to land a spot in your studio’s Company? Are you trying to make it into a prestigious company that you’ve been eye-ing? Then, set out to do that. Five years gives you time to perfect your craft and improve your technique to the point that you may be able to study even further!

 

Always keep working towards your goals. And when they seem too daunting, think to yourself, “Is this something that I really want?”. If the answer is yes, then break down what needs to be done to get you there. Then go for it. A goal is only a dream if there is no action behind it. As time progresses, keep breaking down those goals and meet them with confidence. Life will be less difficult, less scary, less stressful, and more rewarding.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Finding Your Midweek Motivation!

Finding Your Midweek Motivation!

It’s Wednesday once again, friends. It’s no longer the beginning of the week yet we’ve not exactly made it to the end of the week. We’re stuck in that annoying one day stretch most commonly referred to as “Hump Day” Wednesday is like reaching the peak of a hill (the hump) only to find the rest of it on the other side. When we realize that there’s still that much more of the week to tackle, it can be so easy to lose motivation.

#Relatable

We’re all dancers here! It’s our job to support one another and push each other to work hard and be the best we can be. So, naturally, we’ve done a little research and found a some great ways to keep your spirits up, motivate you and add a bit more pep in your step to get you through to the weekend. Shall we begin?

1. Treat Yourself!

It’s always nice to indulge in a small, sweet treat now and then. And it’s nice to reward yourself when accomplishing tasks. So, here’s the plan: Each week, set out to accomplish something important at the beginning of the week. Then on Wednesday, you can allow yourself a small treat to reward yourself for your dedication to achieving your goals. Don’t go crazy and suck down a 7 course meal but, enjoy your favorite candy bar or baked good. Whatever it is, it should be something that you won’t feel guilty over for the rest of the week. That’s what the weekend’s for. 😉

2. How Pinteresting!

What do you use Pinterest for? Everything? Yeah, so does the rest of the world. One of the best ways to give yourself a bit of encouragement or motivation is to scroll through a gallery of images that move you, inspire you, and remind you why you love to dance. In fact, why don’t you follow Plainfield Dance Academy on Pinterest? It differs for everyone, what will be an effective image to spark one’s interest. There’s something about seeing a professional dancer or ballerina onstage or reading just the right quote that helps us stay on track with our goals and the fire burning in our hearts.

3. Just Hit Play!

Just like Pinterest, watching a video following your idol or your field of passion is one of the most effective ways of inspiring your creative side, reigniting your passion. For ballet dancers in particular, check out YouTube’s Ballet InsiderGiving us a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put together a Russian Ballet, introducing dancers to the viewers and, the most popular type of video, a day in the life of the various dancers in the company. In order to keep a dream alive, sometimes, getting a sneak peek into the life that you’re aspiring to live can be the one thing to get you on your feet and back to work.

4. Relive Your Journey

It’s time to break out the cringe-worthy videos, people. Find those recital tapes and watch what a goofy, uncoordinated kid you were. Think about all of the training that you’ve done between then and now. Think about how long it’s been since you were that little, just beginning to dabble in what would become your life’s passion. As much as you want to burn the evidence and never let it see the light of day again, these memories are important. Think as that little kid with all of that endless optimism and happiness, and remember how you felt when you first stepped on that stage. What’s different now? Use these memories to bring that feeling back.

 

It’s only Wednesday, everyone! There’s still the rest of the week to show the world (or at least the studio) what you’ve got. Work hard, treat yourself well and prove the nay-sayers wrong. We know you can do it; you know you can do it.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Back-to-School, Back-to-Dance: How to Survive!

Back-to-School, Back-to-Dance: How to Survive!

It’s back to school time for most of the world. And for our students, it’s both back to school AND back to dance!! Unlike back to school time, back to dance is much more pleasant. Dancers get to see their friends again, make new friends just joining the studio and continue honing their craft and building their passion. Being a student and a dancer can be a lot of responsibility which might wear them down a bit. Today, we’ve decided to scour the internet for tips and tricks to keep your life balanced, sane and (most importantly) happy while you go back to school and dance. After all, a happy and healthy performer is the strongest type of performer around.

“Sleep Tight” is just an expression

It’s common practice, and extremely necessary, to stretch before dance. It’s an absolute must. Sometimes, however, we leave class feeling a bit tighter than when we came in! We’ve been holding our bodies “just so” in order to perform to our full potential. And that can take its toll on a person. We did our research and found that one of the best times to stretch your body is actually in the evening just before going to bed. It’s true! We chose an extremely helpful video from YouTube’s Blogilates channel. And just listen to what she has to say about it:

“The best time for me to get more flexible is right before bed. Not only are my muscles most supple at this moment, at the end of the day, right after a shower, but stretching REALLY relaxes me and prepares me for a deep sleep. So, if you’re looking to increase your overall body flexibility, do this video every night before bed and you’ll see a difference in your range of motion in as fast as a week! But you MUST keep it up. Like anything else, flexibility takes work and it takes time. There is no shortcut. Have fun! You can do these stretches right on your bed!”

Click on the photo to see the video!

Buckle Down, Kiddo!

There’s no funny image or video to go with this one because this one’s more like a prelude to another point. If you’ve got any tasks that must get done before, between, during or after school and dance, just do it. It’s so important to keep yourself on task. Putting things off until the last minute really only adds to stress and creates more anxiety than you can handle. When you get your act together and keep your ducks in a row, you’ll no longer stay up through all hours of the night trying to finish anything last minute.

Speaking of staying up all night…

Hit the Hay, Clock Out, Hit the Sack, K.O., SLEEP!

People take sleep for granted all the time. They think that they can get away with pulling multiple all-nighters and not expect any consequences. Well, my friends, that’s not how your body works. After some time, you feel some strange side effects from sleep deprivation. On our Pinterest board Health & Nutrition, we display plenty of facts about sleeping habits, sleep deprivation, tips and tricks, along with many other facts and advice about (duh!) health and nutrition! Go, read and learn all about why sleep is more important to your overall health than you may have realized.

Nom Noms, A.K.A. Food

Hey, do you like food? Yeah? Cool! We all have dreams of eating all day, everyday and never gaining a point or having it affect us negatively in any way. But, unfortunately, some dreams never come true. There are so many foods out there that, while they’re delicious, they’re not exactly recommended for us by medical professionals. Basically, there’s tons of junk food that we’d rather enjoy than a piece of celery. BUT, we don’t have to frown about it! Because there are SO many other foods that we can have that won’t break the scale or affect us in any harmful ways. Healthy eating is not just for those who want to lose weight. Some people change their diet based on food sensitivities, allergies, skin concerns, etc.

There are some YouTube channels out there that focus solely on healthy foods and recipes that you might love! Not only is the food good for you but, they’re delicious and easy to make too! Here are a few of our channel suggestions:

Thriving on Plants

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food! The ThrivingonPlants YouTube channel has an insanely large following of people looking to cook and eat better choices in their own homes. The What I Eat In A Day videos are the most popular because it shows a sped up example of how to make some of these amazing recipes. All recipes are even listed in the descriptions below the videos! How simple and convenient is that?

And like we said before, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food. Food shown on this channel is super easy to make and extremely delicious. So, give it a try!

Mind Over Munch

Chance are, you’re both a student and a dancer. So, you’ve got a pretty packed schedule. You eat lunch during your lunch period at school and get a little hungry after school, don’t you? But, you’ve got dance after school. Hmmm… Mind Over Munch is at your service! This YouTube channel focuses on making healthy, easy and affordable bento meals. If you’re not familiar with bento boxes, you’re in for a life changing experience. Just click on the picture to watch and learn!

 

Check In With Yourself

What’s truly important as you make your way back to school and dance, is that you take care of yourself and listen to your body. How are you feeling? What does your body need? Listen and act accordingly. The best thing you can do for yourself is to treat yourself like the special individual you are. Be kind to yourself and take this next school and dance year by storm! You can do it. So do it!

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Fall Is Making It’s Entrance!

Fall Is Making It’s Entrance!

With the school year beginning all around the U.S., so will the Fall season. Fall means lightly layered clothes, pumpkin spiced everything and chilly weather. As the weather begins to cool down bit by bit, there are a few tricks that dancers swear by to keep themselves warm and healthy. And that’s exactly what we’re getting into today!

Dressing the Part

Taking care of a dancer’s body as the weather turns is really about making sure that you’re keeping yourself warm. So, your main focus is going to be on your choice of clothing. You will never see a serious dancer or ballerina go out in cold weather without wearing the “unsung uniform” that’s become a staple in a dancer’s life.

1.) Scarves.

Did you know that most common colds begin when the throat and nasal passages are insufficiently protected? A sore throat is usually one of the first signs of an upcoming illness. So, if you’re prone to seasonal colds, investing in a few heavy-duty scarves will be a wise decision.

2.) Sweaters & Coats

Have you ever heard of a chest cold? That’s another all too common form of seasonal illness that can be SO easily avoided. It may be tempting to show off your cute outfit by wearing your sweaters, jackets and coats unzipped. But, you’ll definitely feel the consequences of that decision in the form of painful chest coughs and congestion. Dancers need to be able to control their breath as they dance as to not get dizzy or light headed from moving too quickly or suddenly. Making sure that you bundle up will prevent much headache.

3.) Leg Warmers

These things aren’t just an 80’s fashion trend. Leg warmers are exactly what they sound like. They warm your legs! Dancers rely on their legs for most of their dancing. and pointe dancers? Forget about it! Imagine the impact of cold, tense muscles on a pointe dancer. The result is not a good one. Keeping your muscles warm helps keep them loose and flexible, which is necessary for a strong performance.

4.) Sweatpants

Let’s cover up these leg warmers, shall we? When the weather calls for it, bundling up as much as possible is the best way to be certain that you are doing your best to keep your muscles from getting too cold and tense.

Of course, use these tips at your own discretion! If you know the weather doesn’t require a scarf, leg warmers, a sweater, coat AND sweatpants, make the call for yourself. Does it feel like a scarf and light jacket kind of day? Good! Need a little more coverage? Do it! Just make sure that you are, in fact, dressing accordingly with the weather. The main focus of keeping warm in cooler weather is preventing muscle and other body injuries. Along with dressing to keep warm, we also recommend warm drinks like tea, hot water and lemon or honey. Do regular stretching even outside of the studio to keep yourself limber. Eat a healthy and warm meal to keep yourself warm from the inside out!

Remember, if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Building Confidence As A Dancer

Building Confidence As A Dancer

Dance is an art. Art takes dedication, concentration and attention to detail. No matter the amount of passion you put into your work, it’s still work. There are times when you may feel that you’ve done all you can and you can’t climb any higher than where you already are. When you’ve come to this point in your craft, there are only two ways to deal with it. 1.) You can give up and climb back down or 2.) You can keep climbing. So many people choose option one because it seems like the easier choice. But, the easier choice isn’t always the one worth choosing. You’ll find that choosing to continue despite the struggles and hardships that may follow is often more rewarding.

If you haven’t figured it out, today’s topic is confidence. More accurately, how to develop confidence as a dancer and carrying that over into all aspects of your life.

In more cases than you can probably count, you’ve compared yourself to others. “Am I as smart as them?”, “Am I as talented as them?”, “Do I work as hard as them?”, “Why can’t I be as good as them?”

We all do it; it’s human nature. Here’s the problem with that: no two people are ever going to be in the exact same position in their journey through life. We have a tendency to only give ourselves praise if we out-perform others. The only reason that we should praise ourselves is when we out-perform ourselves. As a dancer, we are constantly reminded of the talents of those around us. Remember to focus on yourself and measure your progress based on what you do. You are your only competition.

Mistakes. We all make them. We can either choose to learn from them or let them dictate our next moves. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been your own worst critic. Everyone should have a hand in the air.

Making mistakes is just another part of the learning experience. As dancers, we fall, we stumble and we miss a few steps here and there. Does that mean that we should hang up our pointe shoes and step away from the barre for good? Of course not! When we make these mistakes, use them to shape your performance. Use your falls as lessons and remind yourself that a good performance doesn’t just happen. It’s something you work for.

Persistence, persistence, persistence. This is what makes a great dancer. Heck, this is what makes a great anything! Without constant persistence and self assurance, where would any of us be? In order to achieve the impossible, you must go out on a limb and do it. When it seems like you’re not going to get as far as you want, stop, readjust your perspective, plan your next move and take action. You’re never going to improve if you give up. You are where you are because you worked for it. Believe in all of the amazing things that you are. Know how special you are and how lucky you are to be able to express yourself in such a beautiful art form.

Keep your head held high, keep your eye on your goals, and clear your mind of any outside noise (i.e. haters, competition, self doubt, negativity, shaming, etc.). Here’s your challenge:

1.) At the beginning of the day, look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself all of the things you love about your body. You muscles, the color of your hair, the dimple in your chin. Then, tell yourself all of the things you’re going to work on improving today. 2.) At the end of the day, go back to the mirror. Tell yourself about all of your triumphs today. Then, without being self-deprecating, tell yourself what you will do better tomorrow.

My dear dancer, you are more talented than you could possibly know. You work harder than most and have more patience than most. Be as kind and understanding to yourself as you are with others. When you stop doubting yourself, you’ll start shining brighter.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry