Dance Wellness

Franklin Method Foot Warm-Up: Part 2

by Jan Dunn, MS

We recently posted an article showing you the first part of a terrific foot warm-up, from the Franklin Method, using small balls—and if you’ve been trying it, you may have learned that it warms up more than just the feet!

I promised you the 2nd half, for both feet, and here it is. I suggest you read this full article first, as opposed to following along as I describe it. This is very much a balance / core stability challenge, and I want to give you some cues along the way. So read first / do afterwards, incorporating the cues…

First do right foot / left foot individually, as shown in Part 1. Then –

Up And Over

Put both balls together, a couple inches apart. Brace your heels on the ground, and put your forefoot on the balls, with knees straight. You’ll notice a nice Achilles stretch as you take that position.

FM feet 2 - starting position

Starting position

Roll up and over the balls, so that your toes are now braced on the floor, with your heels on the balls. Keep your knees straight as you do this.

Frankln Method foot warm up

Position after rolling

Practice rolling back and forth, with knees still straight, from toes to heels, keeping your body centered and aligned. Your feet are basically going from plantar flexion (pointing) to dorsi-flexion (ankle flexion), in anatomical terms.

Tips and cues:

Read more

0

Introducing Our Dance Wellness Panel

Jan Dunn

Jan Dunn

Aloha to all!

This is a very special post regarding the Dance Wellness segment of 4dancers.org:

In the fall of 2011, Catherine Tully (whom I had never met) contacted me and asked me if I would like to write an article about Dance Medicine and Science – aka Dance Wellness – for her online site, just to introduce readers to that aspect of information in the dance world. I was pleased to do so, and so in January of 2012, we posted that first article. Your response, as readers, was so overwhelmingly positive that Catherine asked me to start a new on-going segment of 4dancers, entitled “Dance Wellness”.  I did, and the rest is history. Over the last 3+ years we have posted, 36 articles, written not only by myself but by guest contributors whom I have brought in.

Your eagerness to learn more about this important field has prompted us to take the next step, to continue “spreading the word” online about the many aspects of Dance Wellness, and how all of this information can help dancers to “dance longer, dance stronger”.  We are so pleased to announce the 4dancers.org Dance Wellness Panel–a distinguished group of people from the Dance Medicine and Science field, who have agreed to join us in this new endeavor.   

Below you will find each of our panel members, along with information about their backgrounds, associations and areas of specialty. We are thrilled to have them on board, and we look forward to sharing more dance wellness information with you in the coming months!

My best to everyone-
Jan

Jan Dunn, MS
Dance Wellness Editor – 4dancers.org


 

_44A9975

James Garrick, MD

James Garrick, MD., is an orthopedic surgeon and the founder and Medical Director of the Center for Sports Medicine, at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, California. When founded 35 years ago, the Center had the first Dance Medicine department on the West Coast, and had one of only two West Coast Pilates facilities. For forty years he has been one of the leading figures in the dance medicine field, with particular research interests in the epidemiology of dance and sports injuries. His research includes a cost analysis of dancers’ workman’s comp injuries, insurance coverage of independent dance companies in San Francisco Bay area, and injury patterns in young dancers.

Dr. Garrick was physician for San Francisco Ballet Company, founded the clinic for dancers at San Francisco School for the Arts, and is currently on  the physician panel for the San Francisco Ballet School. He also founded the Sports Medicine Division at the University of Washington, and is a founding and former board member of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. He is a clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, and serves on the editorial board of several journals. He has authored / co-authored five books, including Ski Conditioning (1978), Peak Condition (1986), and Sports Injuries – Diagnosis and Management (1990), as well as numerous articles for medical journals and book chapters.

Dr. Garrick is a member of American College of Sport Medicine, American Orthopedic Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), and International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS).

Gigi Berardi, PhD

Gigi Berardi, PhD

Gigi Berardi, PhD has an academic background and performing experience that allow her to combine her interests in the natural and social sciences with her passion for dance, as both critic and writer. Over 300 articles and reviews by Dr. Berardi have appeared in broadcast and print media, including Dance Magazine, Dance International, the Los Angeles Times, the Anchorage Daily News, The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald, LA Style, IDEA Today, LA Reader, LA Weekly, and scientific journals such as Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, Kinesiology and Medicine for Dance, Dance Research Journal, Your Patient and Fitness, and Impulse: The International Journal of Dance Science, Education, and Medicine. She has written as a national advocacy columnist for the Dance Critics Association Newsletter and has served on performing arts panels for the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She currently serves as a contributing editor and writer for and a correspondent for Dance Magazine. She is a founding co-editor of Kinesiology and Medicine for Dance and currently serves as Book Review Editor for Journal of Dance Medicine & Science. Her public radio features (for KSKA, Anchorage) have been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Dance Critics Association, and is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

A professor at Western Washington University, she received the university’s Diversity Achievement Award in 2004. Finding Balance: Fitness and Training for a Lifetime in Dance is her fifth book. The completely revised edition appeared in 2005, a seminar on the earlier edition was noted in The New Yorker; both editions had second printings. Her technical training, residencies, and seminars are listed in her resume. In winter, 2000, she was a Fairhaven College Distinguished Teaching Colleague for dance.

Robin Kish, Dance Wellness

Robin Kish, MS, MFA

Robin Kish, MS, MFA, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance at Chapman University. Robin blends her background in dance and science to creative innovative educational programs supporting the development of safe and effective dance training programs.

She has presented research and developed education lectures for the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) and the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS). In 2013 she developed the first online dance kinesiology class for the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). As a product of the private studio / competition environment she is passionate about bringing dancer wellness and safe teaching practices to the industry.

Moira McCormack

Moira McCormack, MS

Moira McCormack, MS, is Head of Physiotherapy at The Royal Ballet Company in London, UK.

After a professional dance career in classical ballet she trained as a dance teacher and then as a Physical Therapist and has worked with dancers for the last 20 years. She teaches anatomy, dance technique and injury prevention internationally, with a main interest in the management of the hypermobile dancer.

Janice Plastino, Dance Wellness

Janice G. Plastino, PhD

Janice G. Plastino, PhD is Emerita Professor from the University of California Irvine (USA) in the Department of Dance. Her book with James Penrod, The Dancer Prepares: Modern Dance for Beginners has been in continual print with revisions since 1970. She has published extensively with papers, journal articles, and several book chapters. She has danced professionally on television, stage, and in dance companies for national and international venues.

Dr. Plastino’s choreography of over 50 works includes 15 years as co-director of Penrod Plastino Movement Theatre, directing opera at Lincoln Center, New York, and creating works at NBC and the BBC television. She is regarded as the founder of the field of Dance Science, and established the first dancer screening / wellness program in an educational setting at UCI in 1982. She introduced the Pilates Method in the UCI Dept. Of Dance in 1983, the first such program in higher education.

She was instrumental in the formation of the National Dance Education Association (NDEO), and a leader during the organization’s early years. She has been a member of Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) since 1989, served on the BOD for four years, and in 2013 was awarded the Dawson Service Award. In 2015, she became the first recipient of the International Association for Dance Medicine’s (IADMS) Dance Educator Award.

Dr. Plastino has reported her findings in dance science to scientific societies and medical associations throughout the United States and abroad. She was an invited guest of the USSR government in 1988 (before détente), observing the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet companies while consulting and lecturing about dance injuries. The Olympic Committee invited her to lecture on dance injuries at the 1984 Olympic Scientific Congress held in Eugene, Oregon and in Seoul, South Korea in 1988. Her pioneering and continuing work in the pre-participation screening of dancers has been lauded by the medical, research and dance communities. Many of her students have established wellness programs at their colleges, universities, private studios, and private practices.

Dr. Plastino is currently adapting her movement theories for use in for the private dance studio. She is most passionate about the private studios having easy access to new research in training methods of the young dancer. Currently she consults on dancer wellness, evaluation of public and private dance programs, gives dancer wellness workshops, and continues to present papers at conferences.

Emma Redding

Emma Redding, PhD

Emma Redding, PhD is Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Emma originally trained as a dancer and performed with the company Tranz Danz, Hungary and for Rosalind Newman, Hong Kong. She teaches contemporary dance technique at Trinity Laban and lectures in physiology alongside her management and research work. She has been Principal Investigator for several large-scale research projects including a 3-year government funded study into dance talent identification and development as well as studies into the physical and mental demands of music playing and the role of mental imagery within creative practice.

She has published her work in academic journals and is a member of the Board of Directors and a Past President of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS). She is also founding Partner of the UK National Institute for Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS).

Erin Sanchez

Erin Sanchez, MS

Erin Sanchez, MS is the Healthier Dancer Programme Manager (job share) at Dance UK in London, administrates the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation’s Medical Website for healthcare professionals and dancers and manages the Dance Psychology Network.

Erin pursued vocational dance training with American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet School and the Alvin Ailey School. She also holds a BA (Hons) in Dance and Sociology from the University of New Mexico and an MSc in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

Erin is a registered provider for Safe in Dance International, a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science and holds the qualification in Safe and Effective Dance Practice. She has lectured in dance science and taught dance technique in the United States, UK, Egypt and Malta.

Selina Shah, MD, FACP

Selina Shah, MD, FACP

Selina Shah, MD, FACP is a board certified sports medicine and internal medicine physician and the Director of Dance Medicine at the Center for Sports Medicine in San Francisco, CA and Walnut Creek, CA. She has lectured nationally and internationally on various dance medicine topics and has published papers in medical journals and books including her original research on dance injuries in contemporary professional dancers. She is the dance company physician for the San Francisco Ballet School, Liss Fain Dance Company and Diablo Ballet. She is a physician for Berkeley Repertory Theater, Mill’s College, St. Mary’s College, and Northgate High School. She takes care of the performers for Cirque du Soleil and various Broadway productions when they come to the San Francisco Bay Area. She has taken care of several Broadway performers (i.e. American Idiot, South Pacific, Lion King, Book of Mormon, MoTown, and Billy Elliot). She is a team physician for USA Synchronized Swimming, USA Weightlifting, USA Figure Skating and travels with the athletes internationally and nationally. She is also a member of the USA Gymnastics Referral Network. As a former professional Bollywood and salsa dancer, Dr. Shah is passionate about caring for dancers. She continues taking ballet classes weekly and also enjoys running, yoga, Pilates, weightlifting, and plyometric exercise.

Nany Wozny

Nancy Wozny

Nancy Wozny is editor in chief of Arts + Culture Texas, reviews editor at Dance Source Houston and a contributor to Pointe Magazine, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine, where she is also a contributing editor. She has taught and written about Feldenkrais and somatics in dance for two decades.

 

Dance Wellness Contributor Matt Wyon

Matt Wyon, PhD

 

Matthew Wyon, PhD, is a Professor in Dance Science at the University of Wolverhampton, UK and a Visiting Professor at the ArtEZ, Institute of the Arts, The Netherlands.

At Wolverhampton he is the course leader for the MSc in Dance Science and Director of Studies for a number of dance science and medicine doctoral candidates. He is a founding partner of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, UK.

Prof. Wyon is Vice President of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science and a past chair of the Research Committee. He has worked with numerous dancers and companies within the UK and Europe as an applied physiologist and strength and conditioning coach.

0

A Franklin Method Foot Warm-Up For Dancers

by Jan Dunn, MS

Aloha to All!

In this article, the first of a two-parter, I’d like to share a foot warm-up that comes from the Franklin Method. I learned this many years ago, from Eric Franklin, and it has been a part of my daily warm-up ever since. I have taught it to dancers (and non-dancers!) in many workshops / classes, such as for the national touring company of “A Chorus Line” – and the response has always been….”wow, I love this – thank you for teaching it to us!” I thought that since 4dancers has been highlighting feet this month, I would do an article for you describing this sequence.

This is most beneficial done before you do a class / rehearsal / performance, or even first thing in the morning when you get up. It does a lot more than just warm-up the feet, as I hope you will see as you do it along with me…

The Preparation

Before starting, take a quiet moment to “tune in” to how your body feels, especially your feet. Just stand comfortably, weight on both feet, and notice. There is no right / wrong, good / bad — it’s just a moment to see how your body is feeling overall, and your feet as well. (Think of it as a “pre-test”!)

The Exercise

1 – Massage: take just one Franklin Ball (I will discuss the balls at the end of this article), and put one foot on it. Gently roll your foot back and forth on the ball, giving the sole of your foot a nice massage. How much pressure you put on the ball is up to you, and how long you do it is also individual — your body will tell you “OK, that’s enough”.  It should feel good — no pain or discomfort, please!

massage 2

2 – Forefoot Rotation – Put your forefoot on the ball, heel braced on the ground (heel stays on the ground throughout) – inwardly then outwardly rotate your foot, reaching first the little toe / then the big toe down towards the ground. Your knee / hip will move with the foot — only go as far as comfortable in each direction. I usually do about 5-6 on each side. With this movement, you are getting lots of movement going in the various joints in the foot (all 33 of them!), as well as the ankle / knee / hip.
toes down2toes down 1

3 – Vary the inward / outward foot rolling so that now the toes are coming up and away  from the floor – I like to imagine that the floor is hot, and I have to reach my big toe / little toe up to the ceiling to get away from it. So it’s still an inward / outward rotation, but is different from the toes down version.

Read more

2

Ribbons, Ice, Everything Painful and Nice: A Pro Dancer Talks Pointe Shoes

Alabama Ballet company member Nadine Barton on pointe shoes and foot care.

Nadine Pointe 1

1. What brand and model of pointe shoe do you wear?

Capezio Aria.

2. How long have you worn this model?

For about five years.

3. Why does this model work best for your feet?

I like the way the model shapes to my feet as well as provides support in the right ways. I never liked having space from the floor when I am up on pointe, and, with these, I can always feel the floor.

4. Does anything about the structure of your feet create challenges for pointe work?

Read more

1

My Pretty Feet

IMG_0858

Pointe shoe “gear” – photo by Jessika Anspach McEliece

He looks over at me with that twinkle in his eyes, and I see the mischievous 7-year-old boy gleam through my husband’s 32-year-old self.

“Come on babe… just do it. Just show them your feet… please?” and turning toward his friends – okay more like acquaintances… practical strangers to me – he proudly says, “You guys have gotta see these things…”

I shoot a half glance-half glare back at him and he knows exactly my train of thought. But how can I be mad at him when he’s looking at me like that? When he’s so proud of them for me? How can I really be that embarrassed by my “worker tools,” as he puts it? After all, that is what they are, callouses and all… And it could be worse… He could ask me to put my leg over my head, or have them guess my weight.

I meekly slip off my loafers and hesitantly raise my gaze to meet their slightly horrified faces.

My feet.

My feet.

“Um…. Wow. Aghh… Yeah. So do they hurt? Because they look like they hurt.”


That’s the typical reaction I get whenever pedestrians (non-dancers, that is) see my very ugly ballerina feet – and they are very ugly. Our physical therapist, Boyd Bender, actually keeps a photo of them on his iPhone to show any of his clients who might feel self-conscious about their own toes…

And ever since Center Stage and that scene where Jody Sawyer takes off her pointe shoes to show a very bloody blister (you know the one…), it has been a point of fascination – pun slightly intended.

The funny thing, I find, is what we consider “pretty feet” in the dance world has nothing to do with how pristine they look in flip-flops… That’s relatively easy to accomplish: buff down those callouses and shellac a bit of red nail polish and voila! You’re good to go… ish.

There’s only so much you can do for those bunions…

The hard part is getting those feet to look pretty in pointe shoes… harder still to get the pointe shoe to cooperate with you. To conjure the effect of weightless, effortless floating; balancing or turning on a dime – these are hallmarks of ballet and yet not easy feats by any means. I can’t always blame every problem I have on the shoes, but sometimes they really do have a mind of their own!

Well after 19 years of wearing these mini instruments of torture I’ve learned a few tricks to making them work for me, instead of the other way around…

Read more

9

Are You Ready For Pointe?

Photo courtesy of Mararie on Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

Photo courtesy of Mararie on Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

 

I’m so pleased to introduce this month’s guest contributor, Selina Shah, MD, a dance and sports medicine physician based in San Francisco, where she is Director of Dance Medicine at the Center for Sports Medicine. A dancer herself, Dr. Shah is the company physician for the San Francisco Ballet School, Liss Fain Dance Company, and Diablo Ballet, among others.  Her article discusses the different factors that determine when a student dancer should begin pointe work. 

We are grateful to her for sharing her expertise on this topic —pass it on! 

– Jan Dunn MS, Editor, Dance Wellness


by Selina Shah, MD, FACP

If you are anything like me, you are captivated by ballet. You love its grace and its gravity-defying, gentle power. You dream of performing as a prima ballerina. In the years of work it will require to get there, perhaps the single most important milestone you will face is when to go en pointe.

Dancing en pointe is an advanced stage of ballet that requires unique skills. The challenge is to place almost all of your weight on the extreme tips of your toes, yet appear as light as a feather. In fact, no matter how long all of your toes are, research has shown that most of your body weight is carried on the tip of your big toe. It may sound very hard, but in truth, it’s even harder!

How Will I Know When I Can Get Pointe Shoes?

Teaching TipMost likely, your teacher will decide when you are ready to go en pointe. Many factors are involved in this decision. One common myth is that there is a mandatory age requirement of 11 or 12. In actuality, having adequate training rather than age is what matters. Usually, this means at least several years of consistent, high-quality training. Often girls are around age 11 or 12 before this happens, but some girls may be ready sooner, some later, and some not at all. Keep in mind the quality of work is more important than quantity.

You need enough flexibility in your foot to rise fully to pointe. One way to test this is to point your foot while sitting down with your legs extended in front of you. Next, place a pencil on top of the ankle and it should be able to lay flat from the tibia to the foot across the ankle joint.

You need physical and technical skills, such as strength, balance, alignment and control. For example, you should be able to hold passé on each leg with arms in high fifth for at least a few seconds. You should also be able to perform a clean pirouette with a smooth landing.

You also need to be able to continuously accept and apply teacher feedback.

Last but not least, you must consistently maintain your discipline and focus to keep your skills sharp and reduce the likelihood of injury.

Barre is where you form the crucial foundational skills on which pointe, and all other ballet movements are built. Listen to your teachers when they give you corrections and apply them until they become second nature. For instance, “working the floor with your feet” in tendus helps build your foot strength, which is essential for pointe. Working diligently on your turnout (and not cheating!) results in proper alignment. Use your core strength (ask your teacher how to do this correctly) to help you with balance and control. Apply these skills in the center and across the floor.

Various Foot Types

261936797_761833106a_z

Photo courtesy of mmarchin on Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

Knowing your foot type is important when you look for pointe shoes. Most people fall into one of three categories.

  1. The “Giselle” or peasant foot shape is one where the first three toes are of equal length, making this ideal for pointe because the big toe gets assistance from the other two toes in carrying the weight.
  2. The “Morton’s” or “Grecian” foot, in which the second toe is the longest, is more prone to developing callouses, pain, and stiffness in the big toe. Most of the body weight is still carried by the big toe in the Morton’s foot.
  3. A narrow “Egyptian” foot, in which the toes taper in length from the big toe which is the longest, usually requires a cap on the second toe so that it can assist the big toe with weight bearing.

Finding The Right Pointe Shoe

Pointe shoe fitting is complicated because of the variability in shape, size, strength, and flexibility of each dancer’s feet. Most dance stores will have specialized pointe shoe fitters on staff. Your first visit to the store will take some time as you try on a number of shoes until you find the one that feels good and fits properly. As you gain experience in pointe, you will likely change shoes.

With hard work and dedication, one day you may be fortunate enough to hear the words “You are ready for pointe!”


Selina Shah

Selina Shah, MD, FACP

Selina Shah, MD, FACP is a board certified sports medicine and internal medicine physician and the Director of Dance Medicine at the Center for Sports Medicine in San Francisco, CA and Walnut Creek, CA. She has lectured nationally and internationally on various dance medicine topics and has published papers in medical journals and books including her original research on dance injuries in contemporary professional dancers. She is the dance company physician for the San Francisco Ballet School, Liss Fain Dance Company and Diablo Ballet. She is a physician for Berkeley Repertory Theater, Mill’s College, St. Mary’s College, and Northgate High School. She takes care of the performers for Cirque du Soleil and various Broadway productions when they come to the San Francisco Bay Area. She has taken care of several Broadway performers (i.e. American Idiot, South Pacific, Lion King, Book of Mormon, MoTown, and Billy Elliot). She is a team physician for USA Synchronized Swimming, USA Weightlifting, USA Figure Skating and travels with the athletes internationally and nationally. She is also a member of the USA Gymnastics Referral Network. As a former professional Bollywood and salsa dancer, Dr. Shah is passionate about caring for dancers. She continues taking ballet classes weekly and also enjoys running, yoga, Pilates, weightlifting, and plyometric exercise.

3

Dancers And Stretching: How Hard Should You Push?

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! — That’s Happy New Year in Hawaiian! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday — and
“Nutcracker” season — and are ready to start the New Year.  This month’s post is a brief one to help you with your stretching. New research (on dancers) shows that the intensity of your stretching doesn’t have to be extreme in order to increase your flexibility.

The post is written by Matthew Wyon, PhD, who has written for our Dance Wellness column before — Matt is currently serving as the Vice President of IADMS (International Association for Dance Medicine and Science), and is also a professor / researcher at the University of Wolverhampton (UK), as well as being affiliated with England’s National Institute for Dance Medicine and Science.   

So — enjoy the post, and have a good start to your New Year of dancing longer, stronger, and safer!

– Jan Dunn, MS, Dance Wellness Editor


by Matt Wyon, PhD

Dancers are renowned for their flexibility or range of movement, and devote a lot of time maintaining and enhancing this attribute. There has been much written on the different stretch techniques such as static, dynamic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) and when they should be implemented — for example, dynamic stretching during warm-up and static during recovery. However, the intensity at which the stretch should be held has had little research until recently. We often feel that unless the stretch is just below the pain barrier, the point where the muscle starts to wobble, nothing will change; this often equates to “8 out of 10” intensity.

A series of recent studies has started to challenge this concept. The first showed that at 8/10 intensity there was a huge increase in inflammation blood markers, suggesting that the muscle being stretched was actually being traumatized — but at lower intensities (3-6/10) this effect wasn’t noticed.

But will this lower intensity help increase flexibility?

A six week experiment on dancers who were split into one group that stretched at their usual intensity (8/10), and another at the lower intensity (3-5/10), noted that the dancers in the lower intensity group increased their grande battement and developpé height. The second group (8/10 intensity) saw a very slight but not significant increase (5-degree) compared to 20-degree for the low-intensity group.

So it seems less is more when it comes to stretching intensity!

It must be emphasized that this intensity should be used at the end of the day as a recovery and improving range of movement technique, rather than during warm-up.


Dance Wellness Contributor Matt Wyon

Matt Wyon, PhD

Contributor Matthew Wyon, PhD, is a Professor in Dance Science at the University of Wolverhampton, UK and a Visiting Professor at the ArtEZ, Institute of the Arts, The Netherlands.

At Wolverhampton he is the course leader for the MSc in Dance Science and Director of Studies for a number of dance science and medicine doctoral candidates. He is a founding partner of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, UK.

Prof. Wyon is Vice President of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science and a past chair of the Research Committee. He has worked with numerous dancers and companies within the UK and Europe as an applied physiologist and strength and conditioning coach.

He has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles in dance medicine and science.

0

Connect With Us!

Visit Us On PinterestVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed