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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Fall is happening at 4:21 A.M – September 23!

Google tells me fall starts on September 23, early in the morning at 4:21 A.M. The third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from the September equinox to the December solstice.  A time of maturity with apple picking in the near horizon, pumpkin lattes galore, and why not be honest. . . Pumpkin everything – pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread, pumpkin flavored aisles in the grocery store. I’m salivating just thinking about the fresh air, cooler nights, sunny days, colorful leaves, and EVERYTHING pumpkin.

In saying goodbye to yet another summer season done and gone – I took a mid-day stroll in the Crossroads neighborhood in Kansas City. A happy one at that, especially because it was my first 1 mile walk post surgery – okay I’m not going to lie I took a brunch break in the middle – but still counts right? Work. . . rest. . . work. . . rest. . . work. . . rest. . . elevate. . . ice. . .sleep.

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My hubby. We found a yellow spotty pavement road in an alley way that is!

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KC, somehow you make the mega space you have artsy, hip and fun to look at! Arts KC.

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More breweries are popping up on the Missouri side, due to regulations letting up – slowly but surely.  This piece of art was found at Border Brewing.

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Rabbit Hole – do check it out and support their cause if you live here in KC; learn about what they do if you live afar.

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A work in progress – slow but sure. Crossroads Arts District. KC neighborhood – Oh, so proud! Can’t wait for that streetcar to press GO!

Research shows: A summary of a study on performance anxiety.

Here’s a question for you? Do you feel that there is currently enough dance research being done?

Dancehealthier advocates for further research, education and greater concentration of material.  There are way too many talented athletic aspiring and professional dancers that deserve the proper amount of research to provide for the best preventative, coping, and evaluative methods.  There is need for growth.  I’m hopeful!

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Dancer: Kristi Capps. Photo Credit: Peter Mueller

For now, dancehealthier feels that it is important to spread the word on the current research out there.  The National Institute of Health published an article titled, “Performance anxiety experiences of professional ballet dancers: The importance of control,” by Walker IJNordin-Bates SM.  

This study interviews 15 professional dancers representing all ranks of one company to evaluate qualitative data on ballet dancers’ experiences of performance anxiety in relation to: 

1. Symptom type, intensity, and directional interpretation.

2. Experience level (including company rank).

3. Self-confidence and psychological skills.  

Results showed:

  • Cognitive anxiety was more dominant than somatic anxiety.
  • Interestingly, a certain level/amount of somatic anxiety (butterflies in the stomach) were interpreted as facilitative or beneficial to performance.  
  • The highest amount of anxiety was felt and experienced by principal dancers vs. corps de ballet members.  
  • When asked what caused most of the inflicted anxiety, the idea of not being in control of the performance dominated (speed of music, partner falter, plainly the idea of “anything can happen”, etc).   
  • As a result of the study, “Dancers may benefit from education about anxiety symptoms and their interpretation, in addition to psychological skills training incorporating cognitive restructuring strategies and problem-focussed coping to help increase their feelings of being in control.” (Walter lJ, 2010)

 

 

 

Breathe, one step at a time.

Inhale, exhale. . . Inhale, exhale. . . Inhale, exhale. . . Inhale, exhale.

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Naturally our body breathes.  We do it subconsciously and automatically.  Breathing is a necessity for function, life, and pure survival.  Breathing is something that thankfully happens without having to think about it (thank you Autonomic Nervous System), but what about if we turn the ON switch to full blast and exaggerate our breath? Simply, what if dancers consciously were more aware of how each breathe relates to their movement (sharp – slow – full)?  Specifically, coinciding each inhale and exhale with the movement that is demanded from our body.  Would this exaggeration of thought benefit us? Could it potentially increase the life expectancy of our careers? Maybe so!  Or simply, just make us enjoy it more?

The simplicity of the idea of breathing has been a thought in my own mind, as my own anxiety has been turned up a notch.  Tomorrow, I enter the beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to take on the first day of tech week for Kansas City Ballet’s opening season.  It’s a challenging, diverse, demanding, yet viscerally exciting opening as we brace the stage with Jerome Robbin’s, Fancy Free; Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliant; Jody Gate’s premiere of Keep Me Wishing in the Dark; William Whitener’s Triple Play; and new Artistic Director, Devon Carney’s, world premiere of Opus 1.  I’ll be wearing the principal costume of Allegro, a 40’s get up in Fancy Free, a tutu in Opus and my favorite color dress (green) in Jody’s.  It’s a dreamlike repertoire for me, but yet, a challenging one to say the least. Which brings me back to my point!  J U S T   B R E A T H E.

What are the benefits of breathing and why is it crucial to emphasize while dancing? Perhaps it provides for deeper movement, continuity of movement, meaningful value to each step, deeper range of motion, proper flow, fatigue fighters (increased intake of oxygen), and a form of injury prevention.  But most importantly, it provides for “A WAY,” of dancing.  An enjoyment of movement.  A fulfilling quality that is enduring to oneself, which in the end will be enduring to the audience. Let’s hope, anyway!

So continue the push of breathing, and take one step at a time.  Merde to you all!