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The Importance Of Jumping In Dance Training


Teacher article



In a recent study, dancers in a number of Ballet Companies around the world were surveyed to find out the reasons for the significant increase in injuries. It was discovered that one of the primary causes was simply that the dancers were not including enough jumping in their training to help prevent these injuries. So often nowadays, jumping is viewed as hard work that is not necessary to a dancer's training and therefore is neglected. Consequently this aspect of their daily training is either omitted or greatly reduced. According to an article by Mariana Shedden, M.S and Len Kravitz, Ph.D. " In order to stimulate Bone Mass Density gains in a particular bone, an exercise must overload that bone. This load imposed on a bone during exercise must be substantially greater than that experienced during normal activities in daily living. In other words, there is a certain threshold of loading which needs to be reached in order to produce a bone mass gain." In other words, dancers need to have sustained jumping in order to make their bones stronger and to help in the prevention of injuries.

From a cardio standpoint it is also so important for the dancers to use jumping as an aerobic workout. I find that sometimes when I am teaching a class, the students will decide after doing a petit allegro combination on either side that they are tired and sometimes actually stop. They feel that if there hearts are pumping or their legs are aching that they are working too hard! Of course, I explain to them the benefits of not stopping and the fact that they should keep moving until the music comes to an end but with the general mindset of instant gratification they very often only listen with half an ear! As a general rule, I usually have my dancers repeat a jumping combination at least twice on each side and depending on their level sometimes four times. Obviously a beginner dancer will have to have a much easier jump combination than a more advanced one. Jumps can be included in any class except in Tap. As a general rule I spend at least 15 minutes of jumping in my classes. Of course, dancers always like the grand jumps such as grands jetes and leaps in 2nd over the petit allegro steps such as jete ordinaire and temps leves!

Making sure that we keep our dancers healthy is of prime importance. I always explain to my dancers that injuries are not usually accidents, they are caused by weaknesses in their body and it is my job to strengthen them in every way possible so that their dance life will be a long one. Here are a couple of jumps to help your dancers increase strength.Making the dancers understand that it is important to push from their heels in demi plie and to finish the push up off the floor by using the toes so that in the air the feet are beautifully stretched.

1) 4 Sautes in 1st position, 3 sautes in 2nd position turning a half turn to the right finishing by bringing the feet back to 1st position on the count of 8. Reverse.

2) Jete ordinaire with 4 temps leves right and left. Jete ordinaire with 2 temps leves right and left. 4 jete ordinaire with 1 temps leve alternating feet. Jumps from one foot to one foot are generally more strenuous than jumps from two feet to two feet so it is important that the dancers really work on those jumps from one foot


Angela D'Valda Sirico

Angela D'Valda Sirico

Originally from England, Angela spent her early years in Hong Kong where she studied with Carol Bateman. She continued her training at Arts Educational Trust in England. After moving to New York City she continued her studies with Martha Graham and Matt Mattox. She appeared with the Matt Mattox Company and toured with the first Disney On Parade working with Disney and N.B.C. Contracted to the Teatro National of Buenos Aires she performed for one year and spent an additional year as a featured soloist at the Teatro Maipo, Argentina. Travelling to Madrid, Spain she worked for Spanish television in a weekly variety show Tarde Para Todos and from there decided to form her own Dance Company. With the Company she choreographed and performed throughout Spain in theatres, and on television. Angela met her husband Steve while working together on a television special The Valerie Peters Show filmed in Tampa, Florida. In 1979 they formed the Adagio act DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Angela and Steve have owned and directed their dance studio in Fairfield, CT. for the past twenty two years and in 2005 added music and vocal classes to their curriculum. Angela served as chairperson for the tri state panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and is Co-author of a Partner syllabus currently used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America. She continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations and choreographs for theatre, television and conventions and was commissioned by Boston Ballet 11 to choreograph the highly acclaimed Brother Can You Spare A Dime? DValda & Sirico are currently in production choreographing the opening to the National Speakers Association convention on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis for August of 2008. Angela is co-owner of Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

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