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Dance Technique incorporating safe dance practice

Performing sequences relative to anatomical structure

Body maintenance

Principles of training

To maintain the body for the demands of dance training and performance it is important to incorporate the principles of training. The principles of training which apply to dance are:
Progressive overload
Specificity
Reversibility
Warm-up/cool-down.

Progressive overload In order for the body to make a physiological adaptation or produce a training effect, exercise should be performed at a level progressively above that at which the individual usually performs.

Activity: Progressive overload

The overload principle states that strength and endurance cannot be increased unless the muscles and cardio-respiratory system are stressed beyond their normal workload. To increase the workload, increase the frequency, duration and intensity of your exercise program. (Frequency, how often the exercise is performed; duration, how long the exercise lasts; and intensity, the difficulty of the exercise). (Clarkson& Watson, 1990)

How do you apply the overload principle in your preparation?

Abrupt overload is defined as the sudden change of intensity of dance training or performance.

When is abrupt overload likely to occur in a dance class? How can you prevent injuries caused by abrupt overload?



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Specificity


A training program needs to be directly linked to the nature of the performance required. Specificity in dance involves participating in a range of technique classes developing locomotor and non-locomotor skills incorporating the elements of dance.



Activity: Specificity

Describe specific strength, endurance, flexibility and co-ordination exercises, developed during classwork, that would prepare your body to perform the body skills in your dance performance (Core Performance dance or Major Study Performance work).



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Reversibility
The effects of a training program are reversible. If there is a break in the training program there will be a decline in fitness and skill levels. Participation in regular classwork specific to the development of dance technique and performance quality is essential in the development and maintenance of fitness and skill levels.

Activity: Reversibility
Answer the following questions based on the principle of reversibility.

How have you physically prepared and conditioned for your dance performance in the context of safe dance practice? Make reference to the following in your answer:

Maintaining body conditioning

  • Training the body by attending regular dance technique classes
  • Incorporating specific strength, co-ordination, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance exercises to assist in safely controlling movement
  • Incorporating adjunctive training (alternative training e.g. swimming, pilates, yoga)
  • Eating a balanced diet and consuming an adequate fluid intake.
  • Having adequate rest
  • Avoiding abrupt overload.

Explain and demonstrate how you have developed and maintained the combinations, phrases and sequences (in your dance performance) with due consideration to safe dance practices.
Make reference to the following in your answer:
• alignment
• correct technique
• your body's capabilities and limitations.
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Warm-up
Adequate warm-up should proceed every training session. This helps to raise body temperature, increase blood flow, and make soft tissue, such as muscles and tendons, more supple and prepare the body for the demands of the training or performance ahead. Cool-down reduces the phenomenon of venous pooling of blood and the possibility of sore or tight muscles.

A warm-up should be used to prepare the body for movements which require agility, strength, flexibility and coordination. It is essential to injury prevention.

The warm-up increases body temperature, muscle elasticity, blood flow and speed of transmission of nerve impulses. It also helps to focus for the training exercises.
A warm-up should start gently, gradually increasing in range, tempo and complexity. It should consist of both general and specific exercises.

In a general warm-up each major muscle group is dealt with. The movements should be non-strenuous and continuous (lasting approximately 15 minutes). They may include light to moderate strength-building exercises.

A specific warm-up includes exercises which correspond to the type of activity to be undertaken. For example, if a performance contains jumps, a specific warm-up would focus on knee, ankle and foot exercises as well as on cardiovascular preparation. The warm-up could include warm-up jumps and some specific combinations from the dance. (Vass, Williams, and Barnes,1997).
Gaining an understanding of the demands placed on the body by particular movements, phrases, combinations, sequences, styles of dance and choreographic styles will assist in the choice of the specific warm-up exercises required.
Bodies have different warm-up needs. Consideration of the body's capabilities and limitations is most important when devising a warm-up.

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Activity 1
Activity 2
Activity 3

Activity 1: Designing a general warm-up

Create a general warm-up for all major muscle groups. Design warm-up activities and explain how you would:
  • execute the exercise (include floor, barre and centre exercises and the correct alignment required)
  • increase the complexity and range of the activity.


Fill in the following table:

Major muscle group
Warm-up activity
Explanation
e.g. Quadriceps


















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Activity 2: Warm-up and the body's capabilities and limitations

References:
Arnheim, D. (1991). Dance Injuries their Prevention and Care, 3rd Edition .Princeton Book Company, Princeton.

Fitt, S. (1988). Dance Kinesiology. Schirmer Books, NY.

Clarkson, P., Watkins, A. (1990). Dancing Longer, Dancing Stronger. Princeton Book Company, Pennington.

What is your preferred warm-up? (You may find that you prefer to jog around the studio to warm up, or stretch, or execute slow rhythmic repetitions.)
How does your preferred warm-up suit your body type?

A warm-up will vary from one individual to another because each individual has different anatomical capabilities and limitations. List (on the table provided) your body's capabilities and limitations (strengths and weaknesses) which may affect the type of exercises you choose for your warm-up. Devise a warm-up to suit your body.



Fill in the following table:

Capabilities
(strengths)
Limitations
(weaknesses)
Specific warm-up
to suit your body's limitations and capabilities














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Activity 3: Viva Voce preparation

Instructions: Prepare your answer in written form. Allocate five minutes to answer the question aloud, giving demonstrations.

Demonstrate and discuss the warm-up that you would engage in before performing your Core Performance Dance. Include key words: graduated, general warm-up, specific warm-up.
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