Allexperts & Hip Flexors

I love allexperts.com. One, because you’re guaranteed a reply and two, you get prompt answers. But that’s besides the point. I submitted a question the other day about flexibility in modern dance. And I just wanted to share the reply that I got. It was really great, not for just flexibility but just about staying positive in dance in general.

“Yes, flexibility is an important part of being a dancer. Our bodies are our instruments, and we want to be able to create as many beautiful shapes and lines as we can with our instruments. However, I don’t believe it is necessary to be “extremely” flexible in order to be a successful dancer. A technique such as ballet is deeply rooted in positions and lines…and yes we all enjoy seeing dancers execute beautiful lines. But lines alone don’t make a dancer. It’s great to have a six o’clock penche`…but if you can’t stay on your leg, then what’s the point? A dancer is so much more than loose hips and hamstrings and banana feet. A well trained dancer has the ability to affect other people. Through his/her body, a dancer can tell a story, express emotion, reflect humanity.

What is required in order to be successful? Well, I think much of that depends on where you’re trying to be successful. A classical ballet company may need to see an arabesque well over 90 degrees, but a contemporary ballet company may not. A Paul Taylor modern dancer may need to use his/her body differently than an Alvin Ailey modern dancer. When a choreographer is looking for a dancer, they’re looking for someone who will take the choreography and bring it to life. Someone who is a total package…technique, expression, presence, creativity, professionalism and courage.

Focus on being a whole dancer. By whole I mean a dancer who is more that just a technician. Bring yourself to your movement…even when you’re standing at the ballet barre. Compare yourself only to yourself, and strive to reach YOUR fullest potential. Every dancer is different, and every “body” is different, but you may be just what a choreographer needs to complete his/her vision.

A decent amount of flexibility is necessary in order to be a dancer, yes, but extreme flexibility is not a requirement. A dancer may not be able to do a full split, but perhaps that same dancer is a beautiful jumper, or an amazing turner, or has a mesmerizing stage presence. If you hone your craft and present yourself as a total artist, your audience will be more interested in the art you’re creating than whether or not you can fold yourself into a suitcase. Good luck…and keep dancing!”

If you want to read my actual question, you can go to: http://www.allexperts.com/user.cgi?m=6&catID=3570&expID=121446&qID=4844585. Also, I asked this question to Kenya Massey so you should totally stop by and ask some more questions!!

Also, as you know I’ve been stretching everyday trying to achieve my splits, and last night, I came to a realization. I’ve been blaming my hamstrings all along for my inability to do the splits, when really, I don’t think my hamstrings are to blame. I think its my hip flexors holding me back. Whenever I practice my splits correctly (as in my weight centered over both legs) I only feel a stretch in my hip flexors. So I’ve decided to start focusing on those more. Granted, my hamstrings still need work to reach the level of flexibility I desire, but maybe not to reach the splits.

Also, I’m going to up my MSM intake in a couple of days. I still havent seen any results but I’m not expecting to until I reach the correct dosage which is around 3000 mg a day. Right now I’m only taking 1000 mg. So we’ll see. I have noticed a few mild side effects from the MSM but that is to be expected – until my body adjusts. MSM is a natural detoxifier which causes some slightly noticeable effects.

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