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Lower Cross Syndrome for the Female Dancer

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Lower Back Pain

The human body is designed to be upright. Constantly leaning back puts pressure on your L4 – L5 and L5 – S1 vertebrae. Tension accumulates there, and this predisposes you to lower back pain. Could you train better without excessive activation of the lower back muscles? It’s not just the discomfort you need to think about. Here is how such an imbalance impairs your performance.

When your lumbar spine goes into hyperlordosis due to tightening of the lower back muscles (optimal lordosis is 30-35 degrees), your body will try and compensate for both pelvis and upper back. These compensations are called Lower Cross Syndrome and Upper Cross Syndrome. 

The Lower Cross Syndrome

This term is coined by Vladimir Janda, an expert who brought a new perspective on human biomechanics. 

Women in general and dancers, in particular, tend to overuse the muscles on the front part of the leg. Why? When you’re on your toes, you use your quadriceps a lot and your hamstrings less (muscles on the back of your thigh). The glutes also get less activation. This leads to an imbalance. The quads are pulling down on your pelvis, tipping it forward. The hamstrings which should balance the position of your pelvis are not able to do so. 

If you want to find out more about muscle imbalance you can check this other article here.

When it comes to the lower part of your body, the muscles on the front are overpowering the muscles on the back. The result is that the spine, which sits on your pelvis, will need to operate from an imbalanced position. The hyperlordosis can lead to a Lower Cross Syndrome and vice-versa. Regardless of which came first, they will enforce each other. 

This is why efforts to correct these complex imbalances from a simple youtube video will not have resounding success. Essentially you need to stretch a couple of facilitated muscles: iliopsoas, quads, lumbar erectors, and calves. Then, you need to strengthen the muscles that are commonly weaker in such imbalances: the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and lower abdominals. 

How Can You Find Out You Suffer From Lower Cross Syndrome

Together with Dancesportlife Academy, I’ve launched a course exactly on this topic. You will learn how to test yourself to see if you suffer from certain conditions and the science behind the issue. You will get detailed video demonstrations of stretching and corrective exercises for postural problems. Attached to the course is a support document that includes a complete exercise schedule so that you know how to put the course into action. Click here if you want to go to the course.

Here is another shorthand test to see if you have optimal lower abdominal strength. We’re not looking at a function in a complex bipedal position right now. We’re just keeping it simple, assessing the strength. 

Please lay on your back, preferably on a yoga mat or similar surface. Lift your legs and keep them straight, while pointing at the ceiling or at least as vertical as possible. 

Place your right hand behind underneath your lumbar spine, right underneath your navel (if your dancing partner is around, ask him to place his hand there to make things easier for you). 

Observe how you are pressing with your lumbar spine onto your fingers. 

Now slowly lower the legs while keeping them straight. While doing so, maintain the pressure on the fingers underneath your lumbar spine. Keep pressing like this and lowering the legs until you can no longer hold the pressure on the fingers underneath your spine. 

If you can place your heels on the ground while maintaining pressure, you have optimal lower abdominal strength. 

The post Lower Cross Syndrome for the Female Dancer appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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What Do Ballroom & Latin Dancers and Drag Queens Have In Common?

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If you did not watch until now “RuPaul’s Drage Race”, close this article (just kiddin’, finish reading it first!) and go watch it. “RuPaul’s Drage Race” is an American reality competition television series where drag queens showcase their vast pallet of talents.

As a dancer, I am attracted to anything glittery or that has to do with entertainment. Therefore, I fell in love with drag queens’ artistry, and I couldn’t stop noticing some aspects that dancers have in common with them.  

“Lipstick, Powder and Paint”

Both dancers and drag queens have incredible skills with makeup. Everything is over the top, and the reason is that both types of makeup are based on stage makeup.

In stage makeup, you need to exaggerate your facial features because the stage lighting is super strong. 

Dancers even borrowed some of the tips and tricks drag queens use to make their facial features more feminine. They use a lot of highlighter to lift the cheekbones and contour to define, enhance, and sculpt the face’s structure. 

Another tip dancers borrowed from drag queens is “baking”. Applying a heavy amount of translucent powder will set your makeup and prevent you from sweating on that dance floor. 

Now, add some glitter and some XXL lashes “and 5, 6, 7, 8”!

What Do Ballroom & Latin Dancers and Drag Queens Have In Common?
Dancer makeup made by MUA Elena Likirichenko

What Do Ballroom & Latin Dancers and Drag Queens Have In Common?
Drag queen Alyssa Edwards

“Walk, Walk, Fashion Baby!”

Both dancers and drag queens are incredible at knowing how to carry themselves, especially in high heels.

And while we’re on the fashion subject, I am pretty sure that no other performers have so much glitter, lycra, lace, and Swarovski stones on their costumes. The flamboyant costumes are simply pieces of art. They have to attract all the attention! 

PS: That’s why when a dancer or a drag queen has a show, you always see them with the most oversized suitcases.

Another skill that drag queens and dancers have in common is knowing how to dress according to their figure or create the illusion of the shape they want to have. And they do that through the materials they use on their dresses, the stoning patterns, or where to add volume.

“Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent” 

Could you please point out a dancer or a drag queen who isn’t dramatic? Because I couldn’t find one.

This amount of drama also enables us to be super charismatic and cheeky. Drag queens are known for their sarcastic but tasteful comments, while good dancers will always know how to be playful on the dancefloor.

Both dancers and drag queens, being performers, know how to play different roles and how to truly embody those characters while dancing (or singing!).

Oh, and shhh…a little secret, as we already mentioned drama, we all can’t help ourselves to sharpen our ear to a little bit of gossip (a.k.a “spilling the tea”). 

We are all strong characters. Doing drag or dancing requires a lot of willpower, courage, ability to face critiques, professionalism, dedication, and PASSION.

To end this article, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from RuPaul: 

“Drag doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.”

It applies so beautifully to our artform as well because when you dance, you do not become somebody else. It’s just your personality that is blossoming!

The post What Do Ballroom & Latin Dancers and Drag Queens Have In Common? appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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23 Things Not To Say To Your Dance Partner

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You and your partner in this activity together, and you should treat them the same way you want to be treated. Respect is essential in a partnership. This means that some things are better left unsaid 🙊.

Disclaimer: This article is made you put a smile of your face. But, leaving all laughs behind, I encourage you to discuss anything that bothers you with your partner, as long as you pay attention to how you say it. Communication is necessary if you want a healthy partnership.

Now, here are a few things that you might want to not say to your partner:

1. My last partner was leading me much more smoothly.

2. You look like my last boyfriend/girlfriend.

3. Sorry I’m late this morning; I had a wild night out.

4. Don’t worry; I don’t think we’re going through the next round.

5. Your fake tan smells kinda funky. 

6. Oh, the comp is tomorrow?

7. You remind me of my mom.

8. I am better than you.

9. I am still am dancing with my ex-partner too.

10. I don’t really like dancing; I am here for the boys/girls.

11. Ugh, I hate learning technique!

12. I saw your dress in a video from the 80s.

13. Why is it taking you so long to learn that? It should be so easy!

14. My dad doesn’t like you.

15. Maybe you should quit dancing. It’s not for you.

16. See that couple? Make sure you hit them in Quickstep.

17. I don’t trust your thinking.

18. Ugh, your boyfriend/girlfriend annoys me.

19. I don’t care what we do in the next comp.

20. You studied with that teacher?! He/She is the worst!

21. I can’t stand you today.

22. I’ve worn these pants four days in a row.

23. I really want this step in our routine, but I am sure you can’t do it

Make sure you also visit Dancesportlife Academy to check our library of courses and camp lectures with some of the best teachers in the world!

The post 23 Things Not To Say To Your Dance Partner appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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Changing Country For Dancing: Insights From Kristina Moshenskaya

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Dancers, especially from the middle-high level and higher, travel very often. They have to go abroad to competitions, lessons, and training camps. But sometimes they decide to relocate because they found a partner in another city or another country.

In that case, we are not only talking about the possibility of seeing new places and different people but a real life-changing decision. 

This can be scary for many of us. Many dancers are even giving up dancing when faced with the decision of moving country for a new partner. 

We can all imagine how difficult and challenging it can be. But there are some excellent examples of champions that decided to change their lives to achieve their goals. 

One perfect example is one young lady from Ukraine who changed countries 3 times, became World Champion in WDSF Amateur Latin 5 times, and an idol for many dancers. This is Kristina Moshenskaya and she is willing to share some insights with us.

Matteo: Kristina, how many countries did you dance for?

Kristina: I danced for Ukraine, Russia, Italy, and now for Germany.

Matteo: And in how many countries did you live and practiced so far?

Kristina: Mostly, I was practicing in the countries I was living in.

Matteo: Which is the thing you miss the most by not practicing in your home country?

Kristina: I left Ukraine 13 years ago, so I cannot say that I miss something by not practicing in my home country. And the countries where I danced lately are very developed as well. But for sure, what I liked the most in the system I grew up was that there were many group lessons. This helped me develop with less money investment.

Matteo: Now you live in Germany, what do you like the most here?

Kristina: I think the infrastructure generally makes it easy. Like starting from everyday life and finishing with sports. For example, we have a dance club where we are practicing which has 4 halls. The rule is that one hall should always be available for free practice.

Matteo: I know it’s not nice to talk bad about places where you have been, but can you tell me a negative aspect for each country? 

Kristina: In Ukraine and Russia, because of the money currency, it’s complicated to take lessons with foreign teachers. Also, traveling to other countries is problematic because you need passport visas.

In Italy, it’s very difficult to practice during summertime as it’s very hot. Also, they don’t have a significantly developed public transport system, especially in small cities.

In Germany, there is a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. And that is an issue if you have a full schedule like ours when you don’t have time to deal with it, you need to get a secretary or an accountant. 

Matteo: What has been more important? The place or the people?

Kristina: For sure the people are more important than the place. It also depends on you as a person, building up your setting and the schedule in the place you are living. 

Matteo: What should be a decisional factor for moving a country for dancing?

Kristina: It depends on different stuff: a better school, a better system, a better partner, or just a better lifestyle or a safer future.

Matteo: To conclude, please, what pieces of advice do you have for dancers who decide to change country for dancing? What should they be prepared for?

Kristina: To be flexible! If you move to another country, you need to accept this country’s culture, so you need to learn the language for starters.

It won’t be easy, especially in the beginning, but you need to be focused on your target 🎯.

The post Changing Country For Dancing: Insights From Kristina Moshenskaya appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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