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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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10 Ballroom Videos You Must Watch On YouTube

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We all know that there is nothing like a live performance. When you are sitting around the floor and you not only can see the couple dancing but you can feel their movement and you can hear them breathing, stepping and touching each other. 

But sometimes, dancers can really send such a strong message through their dancing that even when watching a video we can feel their emotions and we can be touched by their passion.

This is the case for me with all the following videos, my all time favourite Ballroom videos. (Not listed in a particular order)

1. Luca Baricchi and Loraine Barry – Slow Foxtrot Demo

About Luca and Loraine we can easily choose any of their video on youtube, no matter if it is from a lecture, a competition or a show. I chose this one because everytime I watch it I find myself speechless, astonished by the quality of their movement, yet being so simple to watch. 

The fact that they are dancing not in a competitive dress and suit let you even more appreciate the pureness of their technique, where every part of the body is doing its own action but completely in harmony with the others. And then the music…Oh my! They are dancing on this beautiful track which is at 21,5 bars per minute!!! Unbelievable how they can look so smooth on such slow music. Enjoy the video!

2. Mirko Gozzoli and Edita Daniute – Tango Show

You know that when dancing a show you have to make the crowd go “Whoa!”. Mirko and Edita made everybody in the Beethovensaal in Stuttgart excited already at the beginning of their show! 

The reason why this video is on my all time favourite list is that it feels so true, so genuine. No hairstyle, open shirt and eyes burning of passion. We said at the beginning that some couples can let you feel their energy even if you are only watching a video, well..this is exactly the case. Look at the power that they express in every action, look at the intensity of their emotions on the floor. Simply great. 

3. William Pino and Alessandra Bucciarelli – Waltz Show

A song that has become a classic, the one that you play when you want to express your best, the one that you don’t choose too often because it needs a certain respect. You can’t just warm-up on a tune like this or simply let it go while you are practicing some parts, no.. you can’t. 

And all this is because of William and Alessandra’s Waltz show. We will always relate this music to them, no matter what, because they danced one of the best performances ever in Ballroom history on it. When it comes to art we all have different tastes and we can prefer something that others don’t. 

But then there are masterpieces, and in front of them, everyone will simply be astonished. This is their masterpiece.

4. Massimo Giorgianni and Alessia Manfredini – Tango Show

If you ever wondered about the line between Argentine Tango and International Style Tango? 

Well…Massimo and Alessia will tell you that this line can be erased and you can implement all the elements from the two different styles inside the same performance. And what a performance! Elegance, passion, style…here you really can appreciate the result of a lifelong dedication to improvement and research in dancing where technique and feelings go together supporting each other. 

5. Marcus and Karen Hilton – Waltz Show

There are not so many words needed when talking about the top of Ballroom dancing, the ones that inspired and gave the basis to the generation of our days, the couple that represents the connection and the continuation between the basic principles of the champions of the past and the modern expression of this style. 

I used to watch their fantastic competition performances, everytime and everywhere they danced at their best, and this is not easy at all, considering how long they have been competing at the highest level, defending their titles. 

But suddenly I started to watch their shows, and this one in particular is the one that catched me the most. It may be the music, it may be the place, I don’t know…I actually don’t want to know why I love it, I just do. Here it is, a wonderful Waltz by Marcus and Karen.

6. Andrea Ghigiarelli and Sara Andracchio – Waltz Honour Dance

Royal Albert Hall, a white dress, only one couple on the floor, the orchestra starts playing a waltz. Isn’t this the dream of every ballroom dancer? 

Well, not many can say to have been there, but certainly Andrea and Sara did. A beautiful, dreamy waltz in such an evocative place, where showing your best dancing, having all eyes on you, isn’t the easiest thing ever. That’s why I really consider this video very important to watch, it shows you how a champion can handle those situations, how he can show his best under pressure, when failure is not an option. 

7. Andrew Sinkinson and Loraine Barry – Slow Foxtrot

I was looking for the video that could show the magnificence of the man that is and will always be recognised as the King of Foxtrot, but I couldn’t decide. 

Every performance had its own flavour. 

Finally I chose this one, an early one back in 1992 when he was already 3 times Amateur Blackpool Champion partnering with Loraine. In my opinion it shows the purest movement possible. Simply the perfection of the technique and mechanic in a beautiful venue. What else do you need? Refer to this video whenever you have some questions or doubts about basic steps. This video is better than the technique book!

8. Domenico Soale and Gioia Cerasoli – Waltz Show

Once again we are in Stuttgart, at the German Open Championships, but this time with a different couple – Domenico Soale and Gioia Cerasoli.

From the very first step they danced together, they were at the top in every category. These results were possible by an absolutely outstanding quality of the movement, showing maybe the best couple connection and footwork. In this video, we can appreciate a “one of a kind” moment, where the music, dancers and crowd are connected together by tangible emotions.

9. Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova – Waltz Honour Dance

There are moments in the life of a dancer that are like milestones, a moment that will stay in everyone’s memory for a long time. 

This is the last Grand Slam of 2018. Just a few competitions left to complete their path in the Amateur category, and destiny wanted the last Grand Slam to be in Moscow, in their home country. 

Emotions are tangible, being there, around the floor you could feel how thick and dense the emotions were in the air. Everything but the floor has been darkened out, the lights are on Dmitry and Olga and the orchestra starts to play the Waltz “All by myself”. You can feel how they put all what they have felt during these years competing around the world in that dance.  

It’s like if every step would tell you a chapter of their story, the pain of every practice and the joy of every success. They look at each other, an explosion of feelings in their hearts and the Ballroom history has got a new moment to tell.

Blackpool Final 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000

Here I just want to share with you those that in my opinion are some of the best Blackpool editions. Nothing against nowadays finals, but those grainy, low quality videos have such an impact on me. I simply prefer to watch them compared to the new ones. 

You can revive the “battles” between Marcus Hilton and John Wood and the energy of William Pino dancing his first tango in the final in 2000. You can see how Luca Baricchi improves year by year becoming the legend we all know or how the Quickstep routines evolve in what we dance today. 

Here are the link to the other finals:

  • 1993
  • 1997
  • 2000

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, including some from the above list!

The post 10 Ballroom Videos You Must Watch On YouTube appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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8 Latin Videos You Need To Watch On YouTube

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Watching videos of your favorite dancers is great for relaxing and getting inspired by your idols. I’ve created a list of 8 Latin videos you need to watch on YouTube. They are videos that made me cry, be in awe, or made me move my hips along.

Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite. Also, keep an eye out for the Ballroom list – it’s going to be published soon!

1. Slavik Kryklyvyy & Karina Smirnoff 

My all-time favorite video ever is Slavik and Karina’s rumba from 2004. It is a representation of pure beauty, innocence, with the right amount of sensuality.

2. Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis

Michael and Joanna are known for their unique style of dancing, bold & sharp. This cha-cha shows very well their innovative artistry, even through their song choice. 

3. Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko 

This is probably the most powerful dance I have ever seen. Everything is exquisite, starting from the incredible performance, stunning costumes to the last 10 seconds of the video.

4. Sergey Surkov & Melia

Sergey & Melia represent, in this rumba, the dramatic side of this dance. Lara Fabian’s song is a masterpiece on its own, but Sergey and Melia manage to bring to life the story in a way that simply gives you goosebumps

5. Stefano Di Fillipo & Dasha

In this rumba show, we can see a very delicate Dasha, almost like a porcelain doll. Stefano dances and handles Dasha with such care as if he doesn’t want to break this precious being.

6. Victor Da Silva & Anna Melnikova 

This mystical showdance choreography – “Izzïs”- of Anna & Victor is incredible. Anna manages to show the power of a woman in such an inspirational way and Victor supports her with such strength.

7. Bryan Watson & Carmen

This is probably the most emotional “Last Dance” video I have ever watched. It is close to impossible to watch this video without crying. The “legendary” feeling this video gives is out of this world: the Empress Ballroom, Bryan and Carmen crying, the rumba, the audience clapping for minutes. The energy in that room is so powerful you can even feel it through a screen.

8. Blackpool Dance Festival 2000 Pro Latin Final

In this video from 20 years ago, you can see some of the biggest legends of this industry competing for winning one against each other in the most prestigious dance competition – Blackpool Dance Festival. 

The legends: Jukka & Sirpa, Bryan & Carmen, Alan & Serena, Paul & Hanna, Louis & Karina, Ralf & Olga, Mathew & Nicole. 

And as a little extra, we cannot end this article without mentioning Donie Burns & Gaynor Fairweather. They are true legends of the Latin-American dancing world and an inspiration for many great dancers who came after them.

There are so many other great videos out there! If you enjoyed this article, email me at bianca.gavrila@dancesportlife.com and we’ll make another article with YOUR favorite YouTube videos.

 

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 8 Latin Videos You Need To Watch On YouTube appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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17 Things Dancers Did During The Coronavirus Lockdown

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Because of the Coronavirus, there is still a lockdown in some places around the world, while in other areas, the government adopted more relaxed regulations.

What is certain is that every single one of us had to stay safe in their homes for quite a long time.

All of us missed dancing. We even created a list of what you miss about dancing, a few weeks ago. This time, we asked you how you filled your spare time during the Coronavirus lockdown and how you maintained the love for dancing alive, and here is what we found out:

1. You trained in the garden at least 8 times.

2. Listened to your favorite dance songs. Probably The Empress Orchestra or Tito Puente was for sure on the playlist.

3. You’ve looked through your old dancing photos. Don’t worry, nostalgia hit us all.

4. You read a lot of books. (Book suggestion from one of our followers: Latin – Thinking Sensing and Doing in Latin American Dancing by Ruud Vremeij)

5. Stretching while watching your favorite TV show.

6. You’ve meditated so that you keep a healthy mind and spirit.

7. Practicing your dance routines by yourself. Don’t worry; knowing your steps and timing without your partner’s help is always good!

8. You’ve worked on technique. Going back to basics is always a good idea!

9. You jogged quite a lot. Well, cardio exercises are the best for a dancer’s stamina.

10. Keeping fit by doing home workouts. 

11. You’ve watched endless YouTube videos of your favorite dancers.

12. You have at least 5 new ideas for your choreographies. 

13. Doing Yoga/ Pilates every morning.

14. You’ve watched online courses on Dancesportlife Academy 😜.

15. Watched the tons of Instagram Live sessions everyone did. 

16. You had at least one private lesson online with your teacher. 

17. You did nothing! And that is fine too! It’s been a hard time for all of us, and everyone dealt with this period in their way. 

To all of the dancers and dance enthusiasts out there:

We know it’s a tough time, maybe some of you are feeling hopeless and even want to quit dancing. Do not ever forget why you love this sport and art form! Just keep your spirits up that this uncertain and sad period will end!

The post 17 Things Dancers Did During The Coronavirus Lockdown appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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