DANCE ALIGNMENT AND INJURY PREVENTION
DANCE ALIGNMENT AND INJURY PREVENTION
Rix Kix regards safe dance practice as being able to implement a positive learning environment with awareness of injury prevention and alignment. A proactive approach to teaching dance involves a sound understanding of each individual’s physique, age, maturity and gender. Catering the dance activities to the specific interests of the students will create a positive learning environment. Be a life long learner as a teacher and always keep updated with evolving curriculum and new scientific research about the cognitive behavior of children, youth and adults. Applying this information with safe dance practices will reduce the risk of injury and enhance the learner’s well-being.
SAFE DANCE PRACTICE
“The human body is an instrument for the production of art in the life of the human soul.” – By Alfred North Whitehead.
Rix Kix regards safe dance practice as being able to implement a positive learning environment with awareness to injury prevention and alignment. A proactive approach to teaching dance involves a sound understanding of each individual’s physique, age, maturity and gender. atering the dance activities to the specific interests of the students will create a positive learning environment.
Be a life long learner as a teacher and always keep updated with evolving curriculum and new scientific research about the cognitive behavior of children, youth and adults. Applying this information with safe dance practices will reduce the risk of injury and enhance the learner’s well-being.
Dance involves the whole body. Therefore dance has inherent dangers that can lead to injury.
A dancer needs to be aware of the needs and capabilities within their own body. Strength, joint flexibility, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance as well as coordination are all elements that can be improved with frequent and effective training.
CREATING A POSITIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
Having an understanding of the interest and characteristics of each student will create a positive environment where students will learn dance appreciation. By catering the class to the individuals, behavior management will not be a major concern.
We keep the classroom POSITIVE, always encourage student’s and merit their strengths and achievements. When correction needs to be provided, commend them on something they have done well and suggest what they could improve. Promote self-esteem, confidence and assertiveness.
Have a classroom understanding that the guidelines are to listen to the teacher’s instructions, listen to others and also be understanding and empathetic to students. Develop trusting relationships with students and facilitate open communication. Be fair and consistent in your behavior management and use language that is appropriate and free from any bias.
Ideokinesis and kinesioloy and effective positive imagery tools that could be implemented in the dance classroom. Using the social constructivism approach of problem-solving choreographic tasks are useful activities for collaboration. Mutual care and responsibility should be learned and encouraged through these tasks.
UNDERSTANDING STUDENT DEVELOPMENT
Having an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body and how the mind functions will assist in implementing appropriate exercises. Fifth position in ballet and pointe exercises should not be delegated to the young human frame.
Body image amongst teenagers is a major concern and building psychological well-being is a priority. If there is an extreme case, an expert should be notified. Ensure that the students have an understanding about nutrition requirements and its importance to sustainability and well-being.
Facilitate a progressive development of understanding and skill, start slowly and carefully with activities that allow students to maintain control over their own body. Once the fundamentals are grasped, achievable, rewarding and enjoyable challenges should be provided.
WARMING UP AND COOLING DOWN
Having a thorough warm up and cool down is essential to prepare the mind and body for physical activity.
The purpose of the warming up is to prepare and focus your body and your mind. A warm up should involve a cardio component that begins moving the major muscle groups in the body to raise body’s temperature. Movements should include mobilising the gliding, angular, rotational joints and involving internal and external hip rotational exercises. 10-15 minutes is sufficient to increase the heart and breathing rates, blood circulation to the muscles, muscle tone, joint flexibility, mental alertness and reaction speed and the overall feeling of well-being and desire to move.
The purpose of the cool down is to reduce the body’s temperature and is the ideal time to stretch deeply, calming the breath and the mind and rewarding the body for its effort. A recovery period is then needed to replenish the body.
INJURY PREVENTION AND REGULATIONS
The activities should always be appropriate to the space available. Where possible this space will be well lit and ventilated, have a sprung clean floor and high ceiling and be an obstacle free zone. Access to water is another important aspect to safe dance practice. Being aware of the fire drill procedures. Having wheelchair access and separate gender changing facilities available is also important.
If the ideal environment is not available, injury preventative methods may include students bringing an extra layer of clothing if it is cool or allocating small brief water breaks and changing activities if the room is humid. High impact activities such as jumps and running should be avoided if the floor is made of concrete. When the space is very intimate, small group activities could be used as an alternative, allowing students to practice their constructive criticism skills when watching other groups perform. Socks should be avoided on slippery surfaces and appropriate footwear should be worn if the ground is dirty.
Have access to a telephone and the emergency contact information if there was an injury. Record details of the injury using the appropriate procedure. A first aid course is essential and a first aid kit should be available on location. Any medications cannot legally be distributed to students.
Be aware of common dance injuries and methods to treat these. Teach and understand the principals of alignment, impact and control. Injuries to the soft tissues of the muscles are the most common and recurring type of injury. The use of stretching exercises as part of conditioning can greatly reduce the incidence of this type of injury.
Muscle soreness experienced after exercise is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This can appear 24-48 hours post exercise, but is not a serious cause of concern and will subside with cessation. The more training the dancer undergoes, the more adaptable the body becomes and muscle soreness becomes rare. When a new form of exercise is introduced, DOMS becomes more prevalent. Prevention is a thorough warm-up and cool-down, involving static stretching. A hot bath or shower and massage are remedies beneficial in treating this type of condition
A cramp is a common pain that is caused by an over-fatigue of muscle or through depletion of electrolytes in the diet. The pain occurs when the muscle involuntarily contracts at it’s maximum. Gentle stretching and massaging will promote blood flow to the area and this will reduce the pain.
Inflammation is caused through injury and over use and ice and rest is needed. This is the body’s natural response to injury and can be either acute or chronic. Local blood vessels dilate and increase blood flow which causes heat, redness and swelling. White blood cells enter the tissues to remove dead and damaged cells. This process also contributes to swelling.
Another natural healing processes are scar tissues and adhesions. The formation or scar tissue is a vital part of the early healing process as it binds all the damaged fibers together. Soft tissue injuries can create large amounts of scar tissue. This can lead to adhesions which may restrict the function of the tissue fibers and structures
A stress fracture is a hairline crack in the bone which is caused by excessive repetitive stress which requires rest and a doctors referral.
A Sprain is a tearing in the ligament supporting a joint caused when the joint is hyperextended beyond its normal range. A ligament consists of bands of fibrous tissue that link bone to bone. This can be prevented through proper alignment and an efficient warm up and cool down. The R.I.C.E principal of rest, ice, compression and elevation should be implemented. Strains, tears or ruptures are similar injuries.
Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon which is caused by over-use of external rubbing pressure. A tendon consists of fibrous tissue that link bone to muscle. This injury can be prevented through a proper warm-up and warm-down and adequate resting periods. If treatment is necessary, the R.I.C.E principal should be used.
Correct alignment helps reduce injury and promotes technique. It assists the body to function more effectively mechanically, allowing the movement to be energy efficient. The spine holds a natural S shaped curve, this awareness can be increased through pilates and conscious attention to the alignment of the body. It is important to remember that the through-line, the imaginary line that passes directly through the centre of the body passes through the middle of the ears, shoulder joint, hip joint, knee joint and finally to the mid to the front of the ankle joint.
Developing practices that assist in enhancing alignment and are preventative techniques for injuries include yoga, pilates and the feldenkrais and Ideokinesis methods:
Yoga began in India over 6000 years ago. It’s main goal is to maintain healthy minds in healthy bodies. The traditional view of yoga in the eastern tradition develops metaphors and ways of describing the bodies life forces and energy centers as it is experienced from the inside out. It’s focus is on treating the person. Western form views yoga from the outside in, treating the physical condition. Yoga involves balancing the breath, mind and body. It explores different poses and stances that intentionally calm the mind. Yoga has many beneficial aspects for the internal body and its organs, assisting the body to function in harmony with the spirit.
Pilates was developed by German man, Josef Pilates. It consists of resistance controlled exercises that strengthen and stretch muscles, open up joints and release tension. This body conditioning technique focuses on improving alignment, posture and stability through the core abdominal muscles.
“By reawakening 1000’s and 1000’s of otherwise ordinary dormant muscle cells, Contrology correspondingly reawakens 1000’s and 1000’s of dormant brain cells, thus activating new areas and stimulating further the functioning of the mind.” -J.Pilates.
Feldenkrais Method was designed by Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, who studied human movement using his knowledge in mechanical and electrical engineering. This technique increases self-awareness and alter the body’s motor patterns so that faulty movement patterns can be positively changed. Alignment is adjusted through slow and repetitive movements that allow gravity to support the body.
In a constructive rest position, laying on your back with knees bent, there are eight lines of actions in the Ideokinesis method to be visualised. This technique was first developed by L Sweigard following the work of Mabel Todd. The goal of each line of action is to produce various changes in the neuromuscular action of the body so changes in the relationship of skeletal bones result:
1) Lengthen the back- Envision a heavy chain passing along the spine to the heels.
2) Pelvis to widen- Visualise the back of the pelvis as thin pancake batter, separating at the centre and spreading outwards.
3) Centre of knee joint to the centre of the acetabulum- Hanging the knee to the ceiling.
4) Narrow the rib-cage- A deflating balloon.
5) Narrow across the front of the pelvis- An accordion closing.
6) Shorten from the big toe to the inside of the heel- Watch the big toe as a turtle withdrawing its head and neck back into its shell, crawling straight back into the heel.
7) Shorten from the mid-front of the pelvis to the top of the lumbar curve- Visualise the pelvis as a ring, like the rim of a basketball basket. Watch the front part of this ring move closer to the breast-bone.
8) Top of the breast bone to the top of the spinal column- Visualise the breast bone as a zipper, lengthening in the direction of the head.
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