Monday, February 22, 2016

Stretching,Preventing Injuries

Stretching, Warming Up, and Preventing Injuries


About a week ago I injured my back while dancing at a Belly Dancing gig. I lay immobile on my bed, a friend was kind enough to come over and massage and then lay a hot water bottle on my back. It was then that I had plenty of time to recall what I may have done to illicit this type of injury. Retracing the night's events, I knew that although I had managed to prepare and organize everything I would need (zills, directions, veil, make-up etc) I had failed to stretch before coming on stage.

 I couldn't believe that I did not think to include something that is so vital to dance in my usual preparations. I thought of every other show I had been in the past few years, feeling desperate to prove to myself that I had not in all this time been cruel to the body I depend on so dearly. Not only did I remember that most often there was no stretching on my part, but there was also very little done by my fellow performers before a show. Why aren't we warming up and stretching? Below are the main questions I needed to have answered to get my mind back into the habit of stretching.Click Here!

Is there a difference between warming up and stretching?
YES! Cold muscles suddenly put to work are more likely to become damaged than ones that have been warmed up properly. Warming up gradually will increase your heart and breathing rates, increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles before you begin to work them hard. How do I know when I can safely begin some stretching? My breathing and heart rate feel like I may have just jogged up a long flight of stairs and my usually cold feet and hands are warm and pink.

How do I warm up?
There are many easy ways out there to warm up. I prefer to begin simply by breathing. Taking the time to inhale and exhale with intention and completion will do wonders to get your body rolling. Next, a simple jazz move of "step-touch-step-touch" using alternate feet along with some favorite music is a great way to prepare your body for some stretching.Click Here!

How long do I warm up?
Most dance teachers and health care professionals recommend at least 5-10 minutes spent on warming up before actual stretching begins.
What kinds of stretches are good for dancers?
As long as you are gentle with your body, breathe properly and retain excellent posture the list of stretches available is enormous! As a Belly Dancer I prefer to use Pilates, Yoga or simple Ballet stretches. If you are unsure as to which you prefer, try some local classes or if you're brave enough to go at it on your own, buy or rent a quality instructional video or two. The key here though is to be gentle. In fact, I found a great list of tips for safe stretching on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Website: ""

Tips for stretching:
  • Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes warming up your muscles before stretching. For example, walking gently while swinging your arms in wide circles.
  • Start each stretch slowly, exhaling as you gently stretch the muscle.
  • Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
Common stretching mistakes to avoid:
  • Don't bounce during a stretch.
  • Don't stretch a muscle that is not warmed up.
  • If a stretch hurts, ease up. Don't strain or push a muscle too far.
  • Don't hold your breath while stretching.
What areas of the body are most susceptible for injury?
The knees, lower back, neck, and ankles are the most susceptible. Always make sure you include stretches that work out those areas before you attempt to dance.

What do I do if I don't have enough time to do more than 2 or 3 stretches?
See question above. If only given a few moments before a show and you weren’t able to stretch and warm up before you arrive, hit the major vulnerable spots. Breathe with intention and completion, lightly jog in place to warm up, then one by one lightly stretch your neck, knees, lower back and ankles. A great way to stretch your ankles is to spell out the alphabet with each foot. You may save yourself from any number of injuries that can take months to heal. (I injured my ankle several months ago and can still feel it!)

Should I be stretching every day? Or just before class or a performance?
Stretching every day is great! I try and think to stretch a bit after I've taken a bath or shower (I know my body is warm and my circulation is moving) but always keep it light and simple. Stretching before a class or performance is essential. I would also urge people to make sure they stretch right after intense dancing to cool down, and then the following day. Not to compare dancers to horses: but as an example racehorses are walked out after a race and ridden lightly the next day to keep them in top form.
My recent injury proved to be a very real reminder of why it is so important to take extra care when it comes to our bodies. We as dancers use our bodies to express, to learn, and to experience life. Let's take better care of the instrument we use most in dance! I hope you find the information provided valuable, and good luck keeping warm and supple!         Click Here!


What is Belly Dance

What is Belly Dance?

belly dancing classes
What is belly dance? Many experts say belly dancing is the oldest form of dance, having roots in all ancient cultures from the orient to India to the mid-East. Probably the greatest misconception about belly dancing is that it is intended to entertain men.
Throughout history, this ritualized expression has usually been performed for other women, generally during fertility rites or parties preparing a young woman for marriage. In most cases, the presence of men is not permitted.

Belly dancing is natural to a woman's bone and muscle structure with movements emanating from the torso rather than in the legs and feet. The dance often focuses upon isolating different parts of the body, moving them independently in sensuous patterns, weaving together the entire feminine form. Belly dancing is generally performed barefoot, thought by many to emphasize the intimate physical connection between the dancer, her expression, and Mother Earth.    Click Here!

Belly dancing costumes are often colorful, flowing garments, accented with flowing scarves and veils. Finger cymbals (made of brass and known as zills) are common, dating back to 200 B. C. as well as exotic jewelry, including intricate belts made of coins that, in earlier days, comprised the family's wealth so that it might be portable in the event the woman needed to move quickly or flee. Other interesting accessories used during the dance are swords, snakes, large vessels, and even huge candelabras, complete with flaming candles.
In America, belly dancing enjoyed its first significant renown when the famous dancer Little Egypt performed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

 Americans found themselves fascinated by the exotic body rhythms and music, eventually including them in many silent films made just a few years later. Costumes and dancing styles were given a distinctive Hollywood flare and, in turn influenced dancers in the Middle East, thus evolving the art form to a new level.

For example, belly dancing with flowing veils hadn't been documented before the 1900s but is now quite popular throughout the world.  Click Here!

Since the turn of the century, belly dancing has grown enormously in popularity across the U. S. and worldwide. Belly dance festivals, workshops, and seminars take place constantly, attracting large audiences of interested, involved men and women. Many dancers now study the art form intensively, traveling to the mid-East and elsewhere to experience it where it originated.

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Learn how to belly dance


belly dancing dvd video course

BellyDancingCourse is an online belly dance class that has been gaining in popularity, but is it effective? Here's a review of its pros and cons.

Mariella of BellyDancingCourse offers over 50 videos (over 8 hours) of belly dance instruction and promises a fun, engaging and easy way to learn belly dancing.

Judging from the content being offered, this course is relatively inexpensive compared to other belly dancing DVDs. But lets take a closer look at its pros and cons.  Learn Belly Dancing

The Pros:

- BellyDancingCourse is one of the most comprehensive class on belly dancing I've seen. It includes 5 major routines taught by 3 different teachers. It covers almost every move, including advanced combinations and performances. As such it is great for both beginners and experts alike.

- One-on-One coaching is priceless. Mariella offers private individual coaching by skype and email. This is indeed invaluable for anyone starting in belly dancing and its the closest thing you can get as compared to a real live dance class.

- This high-caliber package has earned accolades for Mariella's clear and supportive teaching style, her attention to solid technique, as well as for its exceptional production quality. It's fun, easy to follow and "holds your hand" at every step of the way.

- You get the convenient option of watching online, downloading all the videos or getting the DVD edition.

- Also, BellyDancingCourse is the only online course I've ever see to offer a full money back guarantee. That means if you're not completely satisfied with the course, you will get your money back. It makes this a risk-free to try it out.

The Cons:

- As with any dance class, the best learning environment is in a real class. However, BellyDancingCourse is the closest thing you can get if you don't have the time or money to sign up for a class in your area. The one-on-one private coaching by Mariella really seperates this from other similar online courses.

- It may be a little overwhelming at first due to the huge amount of content. However, all videos are organized by category so if you're a beginner, you should start with the basics right at the top.

Here's the bottom line:

Overall, there is no doubt that BellyDancingCourse is a very comprehensive and detailed online class that comes with a great amount of content and exceptional video production.

The private coaching by Mariella makes this course head and shoulders above any other similar course on belly dancing.

I highly recommend this course and if you're looking to start belly dancing, this will be perfect companion to get started with.

 Click Here To Get Started!