Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Defintions of Scientific Terms

Center of Gravity- point around which body weight is equally balanced no matter how the body is positioned.
Lateral Flexion- (side bending) sideways rotation of the trunk away from the midline, which can be right or left lateral flexion.
Longitudinal Axis- imaginary line/axis of rotation around which the transverse plane rotations occur. When a segment of the body moves, it rotates around an axis of rotation that passes through a joint to which it is attached.
Transverse Plane- plane in which horizontal body  and body segment movements occur when the body is in an erect standing position. It seperates the body into top and bottom halves of equal mass.
Plantar Flexion- is a sagittal plane movement (forward and backward movements occur) in which
it is an extension movement of the ankle that results in the foot/toes moving away from the body.
Acetabular femoral joint- another name for the hip joint. It is the cup shaped socket of the hip joint. It is a key feature of the pelvic anatomy.
Laterally rotated- external rotation away from the midline of the body of the arm or leg in the transverse plane.
Dexter-related to or situated to the right or on the right side of something
Sinster- related to or situated to the left or on the left side of something.
Horizonal Abduction- horizontal extension in the transverse plane.
Calfs-(Gastrocnemius)- the calf muscle that is visible from the outside of the body. It attaches to the heel with the Achilles Tendon and originates behind the knee of the femur, crossing two joints.
Gluetus Maximus- the greatest gluteal muscle and the biggest muscle in the human body. It forms the bulk of the buttox. It orginates posterior one-fourth of the crest of the ilium, posterior surface of the scarum and coccyx near the ilium, and fascia of the lumbar area. It's action is to extend the thigh.
Medial rotation- internal rotation towards the midline of the body of the arm or leg in the transverse plane.
Eversion- turning the sole of the foot outward away from the body. Example- standing with weight on the inner edge of the foot.
Inversion- turning the sole of the foot inward towards the body. Example- standing with weight on the outer edge of the foot.
Flex (flexion)- it includes anteriorly directed sagittal (forward and backward movements) plane rotations of the head, trunk, upper arm, forearm, hand, and hip, and posteriorly (toward the back of the body) directed sagittal plane rotation of the lower leg.
Ulnar Deviation- rotation of the hand at the wrist in the frontal plane toward the ulna (little finger side).
Radial Deviation- rotation of the hand at the wrist in the frontal plane toward the radius (thumb side).
Anterior- toward the front of the body.
Abdominal muscles- Rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, are the main parts to the abdomen. They bilaterally function in that they are major spinal flexors and reduce anterior pelvic tilt.
Pelvic girdle- the two hip bones plus the sacrum, which can be rotated forward, back, and laterally to optimize positioning of the hip.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Movement Specific Drill to help improve balance

This drill is very basic. This drill's main purpose is balance. You are not moving in this drill, just testing your balance so you can get your legs stronger while keeping your abdominal muscles tight, and your body in the correct technique for the pirouette. Every dancer must have a great center of gravity so balance is part of every dancer's practice.  After completing this drill, try the same thing but balancing on the other leg.

1) Stance: Stand up tall, and get your arms into place (in a rounded circle that is level with your abdomen).  Pull your core in tight and start to focus straight ahead of you.

2) Preparation: There are two ways you can get into this balance drill. You can bring your leg into "passe" pointed towards your knee and then rise up on to "relevee" on the standing leg. Or you can get onto relevee first, and then bring your foot into "passe".  Whichever is easier for you.

3) Follow Through: Maintain position once you are there. Have something next to you where you can grab on to (preferably a ballet barre) or a chair so you can lightly hold on to it if you lose your balance, but still try to maintain position and get back into place. Once your spine goes into Lateral Flexion, you will most likely fall out of this drill, so it is important to keep the spine centered/neutral.

Movement Specific Drill to help improve sharpness

This drill is called "spotting".  This is one of the most important skills to perfect during a pirouette. It gives the pirouette an asthetic sharpness, helps the dancer balance themself so they can keep track of where their body is in space. The turn of the head must not be delayed ! There has to be a strong accent of the head, an attack. If the head stays too long, before whipping it around, the neck muscles begin to pull the head back slightly.  By attacking the spot, the dancer can more easily keep her vertebrae in line, to prevent from becoming dizzy.

1) Stance: Keep your head up and in line with your neck. Eyes should not be focused down, keep them level.  If you are a beginner, you might want to practice in the mirror, but keep in mind dancers perform on stage where there aren't any mirrors, so keeping your eye on an object or something level with your vision, is the best idea.

2) Preparation: Prepare yourself to turn your body and whip your head around. It is important to keep your shoulders squared off and your head aligned.

3) Follow through: Your body will be turning around a Longitudinal Axis(vertical axis) in the Transverse Plane. Snap your head around as quickly as possible , prepare yourself to look at that same spot your eyes were focused on before you started your pirouette.

4) Landing:  Finish exactly where you had started. Eyes level, you should not feel dizzy or off balance.

Keep practicing this drill. With improvement, you can perform this drill twice, three, four times in a row, in order to practice more than a single pirouette.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Movement specific drill to help improve form

This drill is important to practice for a variety of reasons. First off, it helps with your preparation for the pirouette; where your arms and your lower body are placed. The preparation helps the power of your pirouette. This drill also practices the correct posture and correct weight placement.  It helps to learn how to stay on top of your standing leg, to lessen your chances of falling out of the pirouette and to maintain the correct posture and weight distribution.

 On another note, even though it is more intended to help your technique during your pirouette, it will also help build your range of motion of your hip joint, and will help strengthen the muscles in your feet, calves and gluteus maximus.

1- Stance- This is how you start the pirouette. External rotation from the hip, (if this is a right turn) right leg  behind the left. Your left arm is extended to the side, and your right arm is positioned in a half circle anteriorly.

2-Preparation- Bend your legs 45 degrees and be ready to shoot your right leg into "passe" to your left knee as fast as possible.  Your right foot is in plantar flexion as soon as it leaves the ground.  Your left leg is in a "relevee" /or on the ball of your foot. Be sure to keep hips externally rotated, and hips squared off. Your leg should never come into medial rotation because ballet dancers are always turned out.  Your left arm comes in to meet your right completing that circle you will make with your arms.

3- Follow Through- Hold that position for a split second (as if you were actually turning and completing the pirouette).  Be sure to keep the standing leg straight, and abdominals tight. Keep your body still, and tall; as if a string was pulling you from the ceiling.

4-Landing- Although you are not turning, coming down from this position helps your landing skills. Gently roll down on the left leg from the ball of your foot to your heal. Eversion and inversion of your feet can lead to injury, so be careful to stay in the middle of your foot as you land. As roll down to your heel, take the right leg and shoot it down behind the left leg, to the position that you started the pirouette. Extend the left arm, and keep the right arm in the same position, in that half circle.

Repeat as many times as needed.  You can even do a few of these drills, a few times in a row, and then go straight into a pirouette. It will help you get into the right mind set of how exactly your body should be moving and feeling in the pirouette.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Novice Video

Novice Video (Frontal view)

Novice Video (Close Up)

Expert Video

Expert Video (frontal view)

Expert Video (Close up)

Phase 1

Phase 1-(stance/ starting position)

Keep your acetabularfemoral joint laterally rotated.  Make sure your feet are turned out as much to the side as possible, like a REAL ballerina). This is a right Pirouette so you will be turning on your left leg but going in the right direction.  Your sinster leg should be in the front and your dexter leg is a few feet behind it. Your right arm is flexed  which should look like half of a circle, and the left arm is abducted. Keep your elbows up in line with your arm, you don't want them to look like dead chicken wings. Keep your fingers soft and graceful.  Also be sure to keep them in line with your arm so they do not come into ulnar deviation or radial deviation.  Make sure your hips are squared off and you are focused and in the right mind set to make it the best Pirouette.