Pearls from Pro Arte: Conditioning Specialist, Susie Higgins, on the common “threads” of dance injuries

Pilates Pearl picThe Professional Program students at Pro Arte Centre are well and truly spoiled with their weekly Pilates and Yoga training in amongst their daily dance specific and foot conditioning. Aside from classical and modified mat work we teach Pilates using small equipment with balls of various sizes, foam rollers, fit rings, rotary discs and resistance bands. We are also fortunate enough to offer the oh so important resistance work using reformers, towers, chair, ladder barrel and small barrel in our spacious and well equipped studio.

With their vigorous training and performance schedule the demands on these talented
growing bodies are high which is the reason we are actively seeking out a preventative
program which will address the common weaknesses , asymmetries and overload injuries we often observe in these aspiring dancers. At Pro Arte,  Pilates is also used as part of the dance screening students received each year, to be on top of growth related weaknesses and any injuries.

The common threads we see with a lot of  injuries can usually be identified from the following and can be easily addressed with holistic ballet training and conditioning classes:
● Standing with the pelvis tilted too far forward and the lower back too arched (used by students who turn their feet out too much and don’t use turnout correctly from the hip and due to the next point…)
● Weak abdominals (hard to believe but sadly true!)
● Tight as well as weak muscles in the spine, pelvis and hips leading to
(amongst lots of other conditions) snapping hips, IT Band Syndrome, Patellar
tendinitis
● Incorrect use of turnout and weak abdominals  – snapping hips, psoas tendinitis
● Weak foot and ankle – leading to rolling over on ankles whether on pointe or
landing from a jump or overuse injuries such as stress fractures in the foot ,
sesamoiditis.
● Poor static as well as dynamic alignment of hips, knees and feet especially in
weight-bearing which affects centre work, turns and jumps.
● Breathholding – often due to a rounded upper back posture (smart phone
generation!), leading to a stiff ribcage and upper back – this often makes the
dancer look stiff and awkward in their movements especially their port de bras, épaulement and facial expressions.

 

Holistic Ballet Training: Yoga for dancers

YogaPro Arte Half Day Pre-Professional students take Iyengar yoga every 2nd week with Pro Arte’s Yoga Instructor & Nutritionist,  Dhana Musil. Today, our Intermediate group did a walking meditation to the river (no speaking) and yoga riverside.

We at Pro Arte feel that the Iyenga  philosophy is a wonderful fit with serious dance training for the following of reasons:

  • Their teachers are very carefully trained and thus we can be assured and confident when handing over our precious young ballet dancers:  Iyengar yoga is one of the few yoga disciplines requiring a minimum of five years of training, the last 3-5 focused directly on the certification process and assessment. The average length of time before certification is eight years because at least two years of study at an advanced level is required before being accepted into the teacher training program. Candidates for certification undergo an assessment process which includes recommendations by mentoring teachers, a review of study and teaching experience, and a comprehensive three part examination.
  • The Iyengar style of teaching is marked by precision of alignment in the body, just as classical ballet.
  • In addition, Iyengar Yoga is both an art and a science and is at the forefront of research on its use with medical conditions and injuries. Stability, mobility, strength and alignment are combined with  the concepts of relaxation and restoration of the nervous system.

Patrons of Pro Arte AGM with guest speakers, Tuesday 11th March 7pm

black & whiteDear Parents

Dance has become increasingly athletic.  Injury prevention starts from the inside out.  Join in on a discussion on the holistic approaches to training a healthy dancer (in mind & body) in today’s competitive world.

How can we as parents provide the support they need?

Mark your calendars and join us on Tuesday March 11th  at 7:00pm

Guest Speaker Panel discussion with: Susie Higgins (Pro Arte Pilates and non-practising Phsiotherapist) and Dhana Musil (Pro Arte Nutritionist) moderated by Sarah Ahmadi

Pro Arte Pre-Professional students receive full day “Holistic Ballet” workshop with guest teacher from Europe

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Pro Arte Pre-Professional students received a full day workshop with guest teacher “Holistic Ballet” teacher Clare Guss-West ( BHum, , MA, RAD) this past Monday.

Clare began her career as a performer with “Second Stride” dance company and as a choreographer creating works commissioned by The Place, London. Clare choreographed with American composer Philip Glass and became choreographer and director at English National Opera, London. She created productions for The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle and San Francisco Operas, Netherlands Opera, Wiesbaden & Kiel Operas, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Sadlers Wells, BBC Proms, Paris Opera Bastille.

As a result of dance injury, her work deepened to include studies in holistic health. In response to her injuries she published her own movement method – ‘The Energy Source’ – simple daily exercise for mind and body vitality – enhancing movement through visualization of energy. This work integrated into productions at ENO, Opera de Paris and the ROH was recognized with a Laurence Olivier nomination for outstanding achievement.

IMG_0225She currently teaches classical & contemporary dance in Switzerland for daily professional training and for the RAD. Her teaching focuses on providing tools to empower dancer’s to promote their own wellbeing for a sustainable career. Her ‘holistic ballet’™approach to training integrates somatic technique, qi gong into ballet class to maximize effectiveness (IADMS, RAD, SOTA & NAFA Academies, Singapore).

She specializes in training ‘dancing longevity’®techniques and the benefits of dance for the elderly (Cannes Dance Festival, IADMS, RAD). Both ‘holistic ballet’™ and ‘dancing longevity’® are new RAD CPD teacher training offerings.

Pro Arte Centre joins the international “Dancer Wellness Project”

Pro Arte Students Emma Little & Chloe CampbellPro Arte Centre is excited to be the first Vancouver Professional Dance Organisation to join the “The Dancer Wellness Project”  http://www.dancerwellnessproject.com/

“This program is a consortium of organizations (professional dance organizations, universities, schools, and medical clinics) that promote dancer health, wellness, education, and research through the implementation of dancer screening, exposure tracking, and injury surveillance. This goal is to promote injury prevention, career longevity, effective and efficient training, and assist dancers, dance educators, and medical care practitioners who interface with dancers. The main goal of the DWP is to provide the technological infrastructures and other resources needed to facilitate and support the myriad projects of participating organizations/affiliates.”

It is a core value that Pro Arte  provides a holistic training that is scientifically supported and carefully nurturing. We want our aspiring 12 year olds to be tomorrow’s professionals and not carry injuries that will hinder their adult careers.