Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Healthy Approach to Praise Dance

Dancing is one of the greatest forms of aerobic exercises. If you have ever been out of breath from a really intense piece of choreography or spontaneous dance, then you know exactly what I am talking about. There have been times where I was apart of a 5 minute dance and by the end of it I was ready to fall out on the floor. The thing of it is, I wasn't out of shape. I was actually in great shape. Not knowing how to control my breathing caused me to be more tired than I should be. So, what was the problem? I didn't know how to control my breath. I didn't understand my body and how it works with movement.

Adding Breathing to Your Choreography

While you can't choreograph breathing in every step, there are areas where you can be more aware of your breath. In routines where there are a lot of jumps and turns, having proper breathing technique will make you more aware of your center. Your center is the center of your body, your abdominal muscles. You should be engaging your abdominal muscles while performing your praise dance moves. For example, when performing a high kick movement you should exhale while performing that move. Exhaling forces the air out of your abdominal muscles, tightening your center, which is the muscle you need to use to spinal control and to get your leg high in the air. Before you execute the movement be sure to inhale, expanding the stomach and the lungs, then exhale. Also, while turning, inhale to prepare yourself for the movement, then let the air out and complete the turn.

As you can see, having the proper breathing techniques in your praise dancing will strengthen your core muscles and provide you with better execution of movement.

Dance Smarter not Harder 

In an effort to perfect our movements, sometimes we rehearse choreography over and over. I am all for rehearsals, however over rehearsing can bring injury. Many dancers of any genre of dance, can get injuries with overuse and improper use of muscles. Knowing how your body is made, and how your body will work with movement, will help with the dance techniques that you are using for your dance ministries. For instance, learning how to relax in movements instead of tensing up will give you the fluidity you want in your dancing.

Know your Anatomy

In all my years of dancing I never had an anatomy course and quizzes until I joined Detroit Windsor Dance Academy in Detroit, MI. My dance teacher had a full skeleton in her class, would pull it out and explain to us about how our spine and muscles work in dance, the names of bones, and how to work with them to our advantage in dancing. For example, there is a difference in moving our arms up then moving the shoulder blades first to move and extend the arms upward. The movement is more graceful and you will get more range of motion to create a better looking line.

All of this knowledge is helpful to promoting a healthier praise dancer. Understanding how the body works in movement will create a more excellent dancer. You can learn all about the dancer's anatomy HERE. It comes with easy to follow exercises and diagrams that show the muscle and bone of a dancers body. It's a great anatomy with movement lesson that will teach you to dance smarter and not harder. 

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Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology

©2014 Katina Davenport All Rights Reserved 

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