Plank series on the Cadillac: Exercise Show & Tell

Here is an Exercise SHOW & TELL entry for you this lovely Monday.  Oh, Monday! Who doesn’t want a little motivation to start the week off right?  This exercise accomplishes a great deal. . . Whether you are looking for summer abs, stronger arms land/or empowerment this Pilate Cadillac exercise is right for you.  Give it a try but please have a spotter close-by!

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  • ABOVE is your STARTING POSITION!
  • Grab onto the top parallel bars of the Cadillac with Grippies in place so your hands don’t slip.
  • Carefully place one foot up at a time, making sure your entire foot/ankle is off the the edge of the the trapeze bar with springs.
  • USE ASSISTANCE to find proper plank position. Hold for 10 seconds!

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  • From Plank position drop the pelvis down to reverse pike (making the letter v). Flow the movement back to plank position (STARTING POSITION).
  • Again hold the STARTING POSITION 10 seconds.

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  • Leading with the sternum bone lift the chest allowing your spine to curve. Make sure you are aware of pushing your legs down on the trapeze bar with springs.
  • Flow the movement back to plank (STARTING POSITION).
  • Once completing the full rep of movement then workup to repeating 10 times!
  • The only holding point in this exercise is a 10 second hold in plank!

 

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The discipline of ballet training; The possible effects on long term mental health: Guest Post by Terry Hyde

Here is a Guest Post for you today! Psychotherapist, Terry Hyde MA, MBACP (registered), who danced in the 1960’s and 1970’s with Royal Ballet, London’s Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), West End Musicals, Film and TV writes about MENTAL HEALTH. Putting both of those careers together, Terry has a fine understanding of what a dancer needs. 

Terry carries out therapy sessions via skype. To get in contact with Terry please write her at counsellingfordancers@mail.com (please note the English spelling of counselling).

The discipline of ballet training; The possible effects on long term mental health

In this article, I take a look at the potential links associated with the long-term mental health effects from traditional ballet training. How can you be affected  by ballet training from an early age?  Can this really have a positive or negative link to your mental health in later life?

Ballet is an extremely demanding discipline; it requires dedication, determination and talent. In the past, it was acceptable for the teachers to shout at, and even at times use physical force on students in classes.  They would roughly pull, push or twist their students bodies into the correct position during the classes. Thankfully this style of teaching is no-longer accepted, there are much better ways to motivate and inspire the student.

If you are reading this and are or were a dancer, it’s likely that you started to learn some form of dance from an early age. Perhaps it began as a hobby to burn off excess energy; your parents may have taken you to help with your posture. Some of you may have had a ‘stage-parent’ who sent you to classes to fulfill their own frustrated dreams.

If you fall into the latter category, you may already realise how debilitating this situation can be. As a child you may well have found yourself wanting to do the things that your friends were doing but because there was an underlying fear that you would lose the love and approval of your parents, you continued to dance. This can leave you feeling that you have missed out on parts of your childhood as a result.

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Photo Credit: Renee Scott

My personal history

I started training as a ballet dancer at the age of five in the mid 1950s and retired from dancing and performing in my early 30s. Although I loved my career as a dancer, I’ve seen that the effects of the training methods and the discipline required, can leave some individuals with long-term problems with their mental health.

When I started dancing, I knew instantly that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Many other children feel the same passion and continue taking classes throughout their childhood, teenage years and beyond.

Life beyond performing

From a practical perspective, the discipline I learned from ballet has carried me through my whole life.  Throughout my performing years and into businesses that I ran, and now into my psychotherapy practice. Now I’m  using my experience to help other performers deal with the stresses and strains of their profession,  whether they are still performing or have retired.

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Dancer: Former Principal dancer of Cincinnati Ballet. Photo by: Peter Mueller

I still have some obsessive traits from when I was told that “this is the only way to perform this step and that’s the way you are going to do it”.  This has made it easy for me to learn new things and always eager to “get it right”.  In some people this can result in the development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as they strive to “get it right”, the knock-on effects of this are anxiety and low self-esteem due to not being able to “get it right” in the demand for perfection in their performance.

Mental health issues

A number of other mental health issues arise from the performer’s “need to be perfect”. In addition to anxiety, low self-esteem and OCD many performers suffer from eating disorders and struggle with loss and grief due to not being good enough to start a career, or having to end a promising career due to injury. As performers, there is always a level of  instability due to insecurity of lack of work.  The list goes on.

Good nutrition is now being recognised as an important aspect of maintaining good mental health.  Click here  to hear about some research into how nutrition can help some mental health issues.

Sunshine and Longer days!

I spoke to my big sis yesterday during our weekly Sunday Face Time chats and she exhausted the conversation early to get out and enjoy the rays of sunshine.  She lives in Alaska and was gloating over the longer days becoming more noticed.

This coming weekend we spring forward and  although we lose an hour of sleep – who cares, right?! An extra hour of sunlight moving closer to solstice day creates hope for the cold days to end (although here in KC we have had a seriously mild winter)!

What does longer days of sun mean for you? Here are my favs!

  • Flowers, flowers and more flowers!
  • Walks and hikes for a much greater span!
  • Corn hole and beer – just saying!
  • Vitamin D – healthy immune system!
  • Fresh fruits and Veggies!
  • Green Grass and Parks!
  • Water Slides, Water Parks, Water Rides, Water Fountains, Water Polo!

Now looking at the bottom right corner of my computer I see that it’s just March 6…Yikes, I may be a little overconfident here, although back to my point…Spring forward is this weekend so mark your calendars and sunlight feel free to shine on through!

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Heart Opener

One year into business at the GLORIOUS 75th and Antioch Performance Rehab location my partner, Kendra Gage, and I are continuing our mission to provide preventative and rehabilitative care to the dancer, gymnast and performing arts community of greater Kansas City. We are rewarded on a daily basis as another talented artist walks into the door with a smile on their face and leaves feeling hopeful, stronger, more mobile with a HUGE smile. We are fortunate to be trusted by such talented individuals and thankful for them keeping us on our toes.

Let me just geek here for a moment. . . Problem solving is sooooo much fun! This exercise I decided to focus on three main things!

  1. Heart  Opener
  2. Standing Leg and Pelvic Stability (in external rotation)
  3. Lengthening of Quadriceps, Iliacus and Psoas on working leg and strengthening of standing leg (opposition)

Now take a look at these lovely ladies demonstrating a 4th position turned out lunge from the reformer. When I asked them how they felt after completing this exercise, they gave me feedback that they immediately felt “more lifted out of their hips and more open in their chest.” The next day they told me they felt more stable in ballet class.

Enjoy these lovely ladies and if you are in the Kansas City community feel free to stop by!

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Happiness

Conversation Sunday Topic of the Week:  Behind the Scenes


With both experience and careful observation, I believe that dancers tend to dance best when we are driven by some sort of emotion, particularly in today’s case, happiness!  It would be a gigantic stretch to say that happiness is the only emotional motive, but I can’t help but start dancehealthier on a happy note.  Behind the scenes, dancers find their own sources of happiness .  These sources are different for each one of us, which makes it that much more special.  Happiness compels us, intrigues us, motivates us, and lets be honest. . . Keeps us going!

With no subject or topic in mind, these dancers answered: What is something that makes you happy?

  • Jermaine Maurice Spivey – Dancer with Kidd Pivot in Frankfurt, Germany (previously with Cullberg Ballet, Ballet Gulbenkien and Juilliard):                                        Happiness: Driving with no destination, early afternoon naps, trains (real ones, not subway trains) playing guitar, shopping for other people, scotch, the smell of geranium
  • Tom Mattingly – Soloist with Ballet West (Previously with Cincinnati Ballet):                    Happiness: “Dancing makes me happy. . . lol.  It’s kind of a bunheaded answer but it’s true.  Dance has brought me more joy than anything else in my life. It enabled me to get out of a negative place in my life and move past it.  Without dance I wouldn’t have been able to move around the country and meet so many awesome people that made me realize that I’m someone worth being.”
  • Kara Zimmerman – Dancer with Joffrey Ballet (Previously with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet):                                                                                                Happiness: Coffee, time with friends, beautiful sunsets, dancing, water, amusement parks, trying new things.
  • Dwayne HollidayDanced with Ballett Deutche Oper am Rhein, Milwaukee Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet:                                                                                                Happiness: “My wife makes me happy, Yoga, life…tbh taking a bit of time to reflect on what I have been given, as opposed to what I was not blessed with.”
  • Danielle Bausinger: Dancer with Cincinnati Ballet (trained with San Francisco Ballet School)                                                                                                                        Happiness: Chocolate, Love, movies, beaches, naps particularly on a rainy day, Disney, and being an Aunt.
  • Julia Erickson – Principal dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre                                      Happiness: “I love all things indulgent and hedonistic but it also makes me happy to find the guilt-free pleasure: naps with my kitties, the ocean, checking things off the to-do list, the New York Times, the New Yorker (can you spot a theme?), perfume, fresh produce, creating – making stuff (sewing, jewelry, etc), baking, cooking, creating a wonderful dish out of only things in my pantry, a summer mani-pedi, helper dogs, love and loved ones, having friends from different walks of life, forgiveness, street food, traveling with Aaron to far off places, playing and giving and exploring while dancing, Seattle late summer nights, amazing quality sushi, a Cafe Intelligensia latte, creating a new delicious yet healthy recipe for a Barre flavor!”
  • Kelly Yankle – Dancer with Ballet Met (Previously with Cincinnati Ballet):                           Happiness:  “Relaxing makes me happy, knowing that I have nothing at all to do or worry about (that is rare haha).  Speaking Spanish makes me happy.  Laughing makes me happy.  My boyfriend and friends make me happiest!

More to be continued. . .