Tag: Atlanta dance

Talk Art to Me: Dancers – 5 Things To Do Today to Keep You Injury Free By Yenwen Kuo

The notion of a high injury rate in dancers has been established within the dance medicine community. An injury can be devastating to a dancer, whether you are in a full-time dancer in a company, a freelance artist who is always hustling and on the run, a pre-professional student, or a vocational dancer. Injury prevention has been a top priority in dance science research.

 Here are five ways based on scientific research to help dancers stay healthy and injury free (as much as possible):

  1. A proper warm-up.

         It’s a no-brainer, and I’m sure everyone knows this one. However, not everybody does their warm-up correctly. The goal of the warm-up is to prepare your body for the activity that you are about to do both physically and mentally. 

We want to increase our core temperature, the flow of the synovial fluid in the joints, and prepare the muscle for the movements that you will be doing. A good example would be doing some jumping jacks or running in place to get your heart rate up, then mobilizing joints from a small and control manner and gradually increase to larger movements. Last but not least is dynamic stretching, which you would move through a challenging but comfortable range of motion repeatedly, usually 10 to 12 times.

    While you are doing the warm-up, you should also mentally prepare yourself to focus on the upcoming dance activity, whether it is an audition, a class, or a performance. A distracted mind could also be a contributing factor to an injury.

    So dancers: sitting in a split on a cold floor as the first thing you do and playing your phone doesn’t count a warm-up.

  1. Cool-down after dancing.

      Very often after classes, rehearsals or performances, we pack our bags and rush off to the next place. I get it, you are tired or have places to be. However, a cool-down after dancing helps prevents lactic acid from building up in the muscle and you will be less likely to experience Delay Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) the next day. It is also the best time for you to do static stretching if increasing flexibility is one of your goals. Be sure to avoid prolonged stretching more than 20 minutes.

    Start practicing cool-down if time allows and your body will thank you. To find out more info on stretching, check out, the resource paper “Stretching for Dancers” by International Dance Medicine and Science.

  1. Eat and Hydrate.

    Dancers are artistic athletes. Dancing is a physically demanding activity and fueling a dancing body requires a delicate balance with dancers’ busy schedules. Also, for the younger dancers who are still growing, a healthy balanced diet is even more critical for them. The energy in a dancer’s diet should be composed of about 55%-60% carbohydrates, 12%-15% proteins, and 20%-30% fat.2 

    Hydration is also important. Water accounts for 60% of the total body weight, and dehydration could result in fatigue and injury. Have you heard about the pee test? A well-hydrated body will produce a moderate volume of urine that is pale in color and does not have a strong odor.2

  1. Cross-training.

     To be a well-rounded dancer you should not only take different styles of classes but also do cross-training to keep your body strong and less prone to injury. Dance classes prepare you for dance techniques, performance quality, artistic expression, and more. However, it doesn’t provide everything for a dancer to be prepared for the physical requirements. Everyone’s body is unique.

Some people may be naturally flexible and require more strength training to perform the beautiful extension. Some people lack flexibility and need a personalized program for stretching. There are many options for cross-training; you could do weight lifting, Pilates, Gyrotonic, running and more, depending on your goal. Sometimes it is difficult to prioritize which goal to tackle first. I suggest visiting a physical therapist, who specialized in performing arts medicine, to do a screening for you, and the therapist will be able to help you customized a program for you.

  1. Rest.

    Aside from dance classes, work, school work, performances, rehearsals, social life with friends and family, going to the gym to keep fit, and oh yeah, more rehearsals, who has time to rest?! A dancer’s schedule can get crazy real fast, however not having proper rest can cause adverse effects on the body. Fatigue is a result of overtraining and insufficient rest, and is one of the contributing factors to injury. When you are scheduling your day, don’t forget to schedule rest into your calendar. Your mind and body deserve some time to breathe and relax.

Connect with Yenwen:

Instagram – @yenwenkuodance

References:

  1. Critchfield, B. (2012, February 19). Stretching for Dancers. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.iadms.org/page/353
  2. Challis, J., Stevens, A., & Wilson, M. (2016, May). Nutrition Resource Paper. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.iadms.org/page/RPnutrition
  3. Simmel, L., & Michael, J. (2014). Dance medicine in practice anatomy, injury prevention, training. London: Routledge.
  4. Edel, Q., Rafferty, S., & Tomlinson, C. (2015). Safe Dance Practice. Human Kinetics.

 

 

Leading Lady : Constance Echo Palmer

Atlanta has a strong and growing creative economy. Everyday, we meet women who are on the ground working to break down barriers, build community, inspire, inform, and entertain the people of Atlanta through the arts.

For National Women’s History Month in March, C4 Atlanta will be curating a Leading Lady blog series celebrating the women in the creative economy of Greater Atlanta. Over the last several weeks, we have asked the public to nominate women in the creative sector who inspire and have positively impacted the Atlanta community through their contributions. 

We are proud to introduce the next Leading Lady for March 2017: Constance Echo Palmer

Constance Echo Palmer, local Atlanta aerial and dance artist. 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I manage and teach at The Space: A Movement Arts Studio in Atlanta. We offer aerial, dance, and yoga classes as well as host events and performances.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I began dancing as a child, mostly focusing on ballet. This evolved to aerial arts in my adult life and I haven’t looked back. I opened The Space in the spring of 2014!

 

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?

Constance shows off her aerial skills on silks.

I was planning to be a doctor, I have a B.S. in Biology from Oglethorpe University. I still love science but I also love creating so I decided to take a year off after graduating to see where the arts would take me and here I am.

 

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
There is not just one, but I would love to have coffee with any of the woman of circuses golden age, like Lillian Leitzel, and ask them what it was like to travel the world and perform daring acts under the big top. Now days we have such amazing safety standards and professionals that continue to build state of the art apparatus and safety equipment, but back then these ladies were quite literally putting their lives on the line paving the way for us!

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Definitely my parents. My Mom is always up to chat when I’m alone cleaning the studio at 1 in the morning. I remember calling my Dad before opening the space and asking if he thought I was being foolish for putting everything on the line and taking out a lone to start the studio. He said to me “If you never swing, you’ll never hit anything.”

How is art a passion for you?
When something is the first thing you think about when you wake up, or keeps you up at night because you have ideas and want to work through them, you know its what you should be doing with your life.

Constance preps for a Corde Lisse act which involves acrobatics on a vertically hanging rope.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I am fortunate to be in an industry that has, at least on the performance side of things, a very strong female presence and representation. Behind the scenes in tech and rigging its definitely the opposite and you have to work hard to earn the respect of peers.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The Atlanta arts scene is so diverse with such a broad spectrum. There is so much visual and performance art here that there is always something to do, see, and be a part of. Its also super exciting that we have a huge number of female show producers in Atlanta, such as Sadie Hawkins who produces regular burlesque and variety shows in order to give performers an outlet!

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
The Space was designed to be a place to create, a place to educate, and a place to sustain circus. By providing hours of open studio time every day of the week I hope to have an environment for professional artists to come and practice as well as create works. We host events and shows at The Space that are open to the community to show Atlanta that circus is accessible and that everyone can be a part of it. We offer recreational classes for adults so that anyone can try circus and aerial arts! We also have training opportunities for youth and teens in order to help them develop into professionals.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Our website is www.TheSpaceATL.com and we are on all social media sites (facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, snapchat) as @TheSpaceATL – check it out because we have some shows coming up including our next Open Grip on April 15th which is a sort of open mic night for movement artists.