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5 Good Reasons Every Dancer Should Do Pilates


There are so many benefits to combining Pilates and Dance I’m not sure where to begin. Here are a few to start you off:

1. Improved posture – Pilates = Posture (period or full stop!) Have you noticed how a dancer with good posture stands out from the crowd and seems to “carry themselves” with confidence and grace? Correct posture is about your spine being in its’ natural curves, your pelvis being in neutral and then the limbs moving without restriction or strain.
2. Better balance – every dancer needs to be able to balance on their own so that they’re not relying on their partner to hold them up and also so that they can recover themselves when they come off balance – whether on purpose or not! It’s about having your centre of gravity in the correct place.
3. Improved coordination – Pilates improves your ability to coordinate your muscles, joints and limbs with your breathing so that every movement, however small, is more efficient. This, in turn, helps your body and mind to cope with more complex movement patterns e.g .harder choreography, as well as being able to correct “bad” habits.



Natural Spin Dance Shoes & Dance Wear

4. Better alignment of the skeleton – alignment = how you position the body when still and in movement. Pilates strengthens the deep postural muscles which help you hold the skeleton in the optimal position so that movements are free and unrestricted. Better alignment and more freedom of movement will help you create beautiful lines with every step.
5. Stretch tight muscles – quite often the body overuses the “wrong” muscles because the correct muscles aren’t strong enough and don’t have enough stamina to do the job. This is why our hamstrings tend to be shortened and tight because we don’t have strong gluteal (butt) muscles (combined with too much sitting down and not enough stretching). Pilates teaches you how to stretch effectively and strengthen the weak postural muscles, thereby producing more balance in the body. Lengthened hamstrings will literally transform your posture and movement patterns by giving you a wider range of motion, which will have an effect on how you dance and move your body…

So in summary, Pilates equals better dance technique, which equals more freedom of movement, style and grace in your dancing.

Check out next weeks post for 5 MORE awesome reasons you should combine Dancing and PIlates

By Mandy Henderson, Dance and Pilates teacher.

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Check out Mandy’s Facebook Page for helpful hints and tips here.

And Mandy’s bio below:

“I started dancing aged 10, learning Ballet, Modern and Tap, went to a full-time dance college (Bush Davies) from 16 to18, and then danced professionally all round the world for 10 years. I’ve been involved in the Health and Fitness Industry since the age of 18, working in gyms and leisure centres teaching aerobics, circuits and dance classes in between dancing contracts – as well as training my fellow dancers during contracts.

I discovered Pilates in 1999. I had a temperamental back, having sustained a few injuries whilst dancing and Pilates made me feel strong within my centre and my whole body felt more stable and supported. I loved the dance-like elegance and flow to the movements as well as retaining my flexibility; I was hooked! I qualified to teach Pilates in 2000, sensing that it was going to be a life-long love affair…

I went to my first Modern Jive class in 1990. I was enthralled to find a whole new world of dance in which I could express myself, plus it was sociable and fun at the same time! I have since learnt to dance Salsa, Argentine Tango and West Coast Swing and also teach these amazing dances. I love the spontaneity of social partner dances and the shared language of each dance which means you can connect and dance with anyone, anywhere, once you know the basics.

I now teach Pilates and Dance full-time and feel very blessed to be able to continue my passion and enthusiasm for teaching physical fitness alongside my first love – Dance!

I have over 30 years of experience of teaching people how to look after their bodies and investigating how to maintain optimum health, but I learn something new from my clients and my own body every day. Our bodies are amazing. My wish is for everyone to be able to move their bodies and do the things they love for as long as possible – that’s certainly my main goal as I reach the second century of my life.

7 reasons dancing is the only New Year’s resolution you need

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Dance Better Now

I know a lot a people don’t agree with making New Year’s resolutions these days. Why make a promise to yourself that you will break in a month’s time, right? But whether or not you are jumping on the bandwagon this time of year, believe me, you need to try dancing.
Here’s why:
Fitness: It’s January and you are sitting looking at your stomach dreading the hours you are going to have to put in at the gym to remove that festive bulge. How about dancing instead? Salsa burns approximately 440 calories per hour, belly dancing approximately 360 for intense styles and tap can burn between 200 and 700 depending on the amount of steps you do. And the great thing about dance is that it is actually fun. I don’t dance to keep fit; I dance because I love it. Losing weight is a glorious side effect! There’s an awesome article here for more of the health benefits of dancing.
Social: I have a friend in most major cities in the country. This isn’t me having a massive ego trip, I just want to demonstrate the power of the dancing network. Dancing is a great way to meet new people, whether your motives are friendship or romantically inclined. Wherever you go, if there are dancers there, you are never alone.
Endorphins: Dancing is the perfect way to feel good safely and with no ill effects to your health. It’s even used as a form of therapy, check out this article here.
Stress relief: Dancing provides you with an escape hatch. A place you can go where day to day life melts away. The combined physical and mental stimulation is a powerful combination and once you get a taste of this I challenge you to not come back!
Affordable: Whether you are going to a local class or learning on-line, dancing is pretty inexpensive compared to most hobbies. Unless you are competing in ballroom and “need” a bespoke dress for every category that is!
Life skills: Dancing has so many transferable skills that you can carry with you outside of the studio. If you are a partner dancer you learn how to work as a team, how to look after one another and how to listen (but not with your ears). A solo dance session can teach you more about your body in one hour than a cardio session at the gym ever will.
Dance clothes: This one is more for the ladies than the guys. But dancing does give you an excuse to add loads of new items to your wardrobe. A favourite of mine is Honeystore for when it comes to dance shoes (affiliate link ).
So if you’ve never danced before, do it now……..If you have had a break from it……… do it now! Here’s Shia Labeouf with some parting words of inspiration if you are still lacking motivation.

Until next time Nick Stephens

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