January - Technique Focus- Arms!

Every month we choose one concept to focus on with our students across all of our classes! From there we design exercises that train the focus that progress throughout the month. We find this helps keep our students engaged and continuously growing.  

The concept for January is arms. Our dancers are working on where the energy comes from, maintaining energy throughout exercises, discovering the feeling of the muscles working and using the arms to the advantage of the total movement. That's a lot :) and needs to be scaled depending on level. Start at the beginning…make them feel it!

Have the dancers sit in a pike position on the floor and have them do a simple port de bras like you would use in an adage. Have them feel the sit bones reaching through the floor and they will feel the center of the back working. We do this in all levels!

Our focus as teachers can be so heavy on the precision of the legs and feet especially in ballet that the arms become secondary. This becomes apparent on stage. The arms do not show the same strength as the lower body and the movement becomes unbalanced. 

We had the back as our concept last month which focused on the connection to balance and its part of the engaged core.We gave moments in each warm up exercise to check in and feel the back working. It makes sense that the arms follow the back because of their connection and support the back gives to powerful arms. 

What are we doing to implement these ideas? 

Simplifying! Starting with the bar and warm up movement. We also added extra port de bras to enhance exercises and incorporate the arms and their connection to the movement.

Examples: 

Plie' for Ballet:

1 demi

1 releve with the working arm moving port de bras through 5th

Repeat

1 grande plie with the same port de bras

1 releve

At the top of the releve, rotate to parallel

Cambre forwards ( queuing the core to keep the weight reaching forwards and reaching though the back)

Recover and recover to turn out

Repeat in 2nd 4th and 5th

For Contemporary : 

Drop swing right

Drop swing left 

Drop swing rotating torso with arms in fifth making full rotation end with arms open to 2nd

Grande plie 2nd and just right arm closes to 1st position and then opens

Repeat with left arm

Carve arms en de dan as you release the torso en avant

Contract up

We are also having fun using our resistance bands this month. Add the band to both of the exercises once the dancers know the exercise and understand what they are working with. See video for correct placement of the band.

It's so easy for us to lesson plan exercises and stay consistent when we have a focus. Remember … the dancers can only focus on one thing at a time. If we want to progress our dancers we need to guide them. They will pick up on movement and its mechanics if you tell them which direction their focus should be going. CONCEPTS HELP TO HOLD THEIR FOCUS:)

We have guides for full class workouts or concepts to help guide classes for the whole year! 

More to come and Happy Teaching,

Stephanie and Sydney

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