Sleek Technique

Sleek Technique

Sleek Technique, an online, ballet based, fitness programme, has been designed by two professional dancers as accessible dance-fitness programme for everyone. The live classes can be downloaded “on the go” and include authentic barre techniques and ballet bootcamps, as well as downloadable sculpting workouts delivered direct to computers, tablets and mobiles.

The technique prides itself on fitting in with busy lifestyles in order to create and maintain beautifully shaped bodies whenever and wherever you are. Sleek is an entirely portable fitness methodology, perfected for non-dancers by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s professional ballerina and fitness coach Victoria Marr and West End dancer Flik Swan. It combines elements of classical ballet technique and conditioning exercises used by the professionals to sculpt their lean, dancer bodies. The Body Beautiful workouts are delivered live online or are available to download to start transforming shapes, and with a maximum of 5 people in each live class, the founders are able to monitor technique to make sure participants get the most out of every session.

Sleek Technique combines the dancers’ knowledge on which exercises really give a toned and slender body, and the girls are always ready to help transform and aid progress. Sleek uses multi functional dance based exercises which condition and tone muscles whilst improving co-ordination, posture and stamina. These are combined with isolated isometric exercises which work to sculpt individual muscle groups. Sleek Technique is low impact and easy on joints, but high intensity to strengthen muscular structure. Stretching out each muscle group as it is worked then ensures longer, leaner, dancer like muscles are created with no bulk, to show off beautiful lines with curves in the right places.

Reasons to dance

Reasons to Dance

First of all, and most importantly, dance makes us happy! We get to do something we love every week, wear beautiful and sparkling costumes, improve our dance technique and performance, have fun, make friends and keep fit! Exercising through dance releases hormones called endorphins which make us feel positive, spreading to other areas of our lives too.

As well as increasing endorphin levels, dance keeps us healthy and active, and is far more enjoyable than going to the gym! Dancewear and gym-wear are quite similar, but there are so many designs of leotards, dance sneakers and other dance clothes, we are simply spoilt for choice. Dance also lowers stress levels by stimulating our brains in other ways, and takes your mind of other worries that are nagging away – dancing is fun, free and exciting!

Aside from learning about technique, different dance styles and new skills, dance also educates us about our posture and how we look to the outside eye. This has benefits that run far wider than for just dance alone, making us look younger, feel healthier and increase our longevity as humans who have learnt about the correct way to hold ourselves. Dance also increases strength and flexibility by improving joints, muscles and general stamina, as well as toning the body up.

By dancing, we are creating opportunities to meet new people as well as creating time for ourselves. There are no distractions meaning you can concentrate properly on learning the steps, polishing the routine or simply working on your technique. Meeting new people and making friends also means that dance becomes enjoyable on another level, socialising with others who share your passion.

Above all, dancing and taking part in dance classes mean we learn more about dance and engage in our favourite hobby – what’s not to love?!

Upcoming Dance UK events

Dance UKDance UK, the national voice for dance founded in 1982 to tackle the big issues facing the dance sector, has organised an array of events suitable for budding dancers, students, choreographers and teachers.

‘Fundraising for Artistic Projects’ is a seminar for dance managers and self-managed artists as part of the Business of Dance training programme on 5 April 2013. The session will provide practical knowledge and information for self-managed dance artists, company dancers looking to develop their own work, and independent dance managers who want to develop their skills. Focused on will be the types of funding available, identifying local funds open to artists, an overview of Arts Council England Grants for the Arts funding and top tips on how to write successful funding applications.

The ‘National Choreographers’ Conference’, in previous years known as Choreoforum, will be held on 11 May on behalf of the Choreographers Professional Network. The National Choreographers’ Conference is the only open national event for choreographers, whether it’s film, commercial, contemporary, West End, opera, youth choreography or choreographic teaching. A committee of diverse choreographers steer the conference content by requesting speakers, offering a forum to share artistic debate, concerns and to network with fellow choreographers in a non-competitive environment, to share expertise and information. The conference will also include sessions for individual, agencies and training/higher education institutions that are involved in Choreographic Talent Development.

‘Nutrition and Touring’, on 8 April, is a new seminar aimed at company managers, artistic directors, rehearsal directors, touring dancers and dance science students and practitioners. It will feature the most up-to-date research and advice in healthy touring and nutrition for dancers. Speakers will include Mhairi Keil, Performance Nutritionist and Consultant with the English Institute of Sport, Jess Sayers, Company Manager, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and Erin Sanchez, Healthier Dancer Programme manager, Dance UK in order to share knowledge and enable the attendees to learn from fellow dance professionals working in dance touring who strive to create healthy working environments in dance companies and theatres.

The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Medical Website

Rudolf Nureyev Foundation

The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation medical website has recently been launched, dedicated to dancers and the medical and health professionals who care for dancers. The website provides access to recent and archived articles from leading professionals in the field, in addition to listing up-to-date research and conference proceedings, resources and information and links to international specialist healthcare provision.

The website is currently administered through a partnership between Dance UK and the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, having been updated as a result of a dance survey conducted to assess the existing digital resources in dance medicine and science. As a result of a successful collaboration with leading dance organisations, as well as a Medical Advisory Board of leading senior health and science professionals dance practitioners, dancers everywhere will be able to benefit from the website’s service. Whether they wear leotards and tights or tutus and pointe shoes, dancers will have access to much information which will aid them throughout their dance studies and beyond.

The website will also be developing the International Dance Healthcare Directory to provide a listing of health professionals with experience in treating dancers, which can be searched by location, name, dance style and in which treatment they specialise. As a result, the website will provide links to existing national listings such as Dance UK’s Medical Practitioners Directory.

Nureyev established the Foundation in 1975 as ‘The Ballet Promotion Foundation’, aiming to invest and manage the Foundation’s endowment fund and to distribute grants to beneficiaries. The Foundation also served to promote ballet through the support of individual dancers, or companies, and performances. The Foundation received its current name in 1994 and remained keen to help young and talented dancers through their studies and in the development of dance as a whole. In addition to this, the Foundation was renowned for supporting medical, scientific and humanitarian projects.

The Dance Again Foundation

The Dance Again Foundation2012 saw the launch of the Dance Again Foundation, a charity which was created specifically to provide support and advice for professional dancers to help them return to the stage post-injury. Through its work, the Foundation aims to help each dancer manage each injury they have, and even prevent minor injuries develop into major ones through early intervention and enhanced rehabilitation. The injury does not have to have a dance-related cause: for many dancers who have experienced injury through accident, the Dance Again Foundation works to help dancers access the appropriate treatment and therapy to enable them to return to dance.

Luckily for dancers everywhere, the Dance Again Foundation has been able to establish a firm financial base over the last 12 months in order to help dancers achieve optimum recovery with the goal of enabling them to return to their career. The dance community is able to assist this work by becoming involved with fundraising and publicising the charity’s work, and dance teachers are able to particularly assist, making sure their students are aware of the Foundation’s existence. Seeking assistance for injuries, however small, can be made much easier. Several low-key fundraisers are planned for 2013 in addition to corporate sponsorship and other sources of fundraising being investigated. A large-scale gala concert is also being organised for the spring, and a line of dancewear and accessories for male dancers is also being designed.

The Dance Again Foundation initially came into being through the experience of one particular family, whose son was an apprentice with Bern:Ballett, and the Dance Again Foundation was able to assist with addressing the financial and facilitating situations of the family. Dancers dealing with these problematic injuries may find the finances and facilities are limited, yet the Dance Again Foundation works to ensure the dancer will be able to dance again.

The Truth Behind Shin Splints

Shin Splints“Shin splints” is the term for the ache and pain around the tibia and fibula which are the bones at the front of your leg that run from your ankle to your knee. They can be treated and prevented, but here’s the low down on the truth behind this troublesome condition.

Dancers are prone to shin splints because dance puts repeated stress on the lower leg. However, some dancers are more susceptible to shin splints than others which can be the result of many factors. Poor bone alignment, feet which roll in and joint laxity are all genetic factors in determining whether you may suffer from shin splints when you dance so it is easy to get caught up in the pain of the problem rather than working to solve it.

Shin splints can cover a whole host of problems such as stress fractures (tiny breaks in the bone which occur when the muscles around the bone become too fatigued to absorb shock, such as the impact from landing from a jump), periostitis (an inflammation of the outer lining of the bones caused by repeated stress on the muscles attached to bones) and chronic exertional compartment syndrome (caused by the muscles around the bone swelling and the lining encasing those muscles getting too tight, cutting off the oxygen and blood supply, causing an ache after dancing). These conditions can be caused by similar factors (in addition to genetics), such as your dance environment (such as a floor that doesn’t provide shock absorption or is “raked”), your dance shoes (which may lack support for your arches), and the level of activity your dancing encompasses (such as the amount of jumping you do, or simply how much you dance).

Despite the worry that shin splints cause, they can be treated, with recovery times varying through the intensity of the condition. Resting, icing and elevating your legs for a few days may be enough in some cases of shin splints, but more severe injuries may require therapy or even surgery. Most importantly, shin splints can be prevented! Shoes with support for your arches and sprung floors mean that the dancing you do and your body will be aided in its work, and you will have the best possible start.