Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hit The Splits This New Year: Here's How to Get Started

As we enter 2019 and are setting our sights high, we want to give you a couple ideas on how to keep your dancing en pointe!
Here are a couple of stretches to do every day.
Aim to do something this new year that will bring you to the next level!
Why is stretching important?
  1. Keeping a limber body helps prevent us from injuring ourselves.
  2. As we gain strength, our muscles shorten which can prevent proper use. We need to stretch them in order to maintain their proper function.
  3. Ever see a ballerina lift her leg over her head? She couldn't just do that overnight! She had to work on her stretching every day just like you do!
12 Stretches to Bring that Leg up a Little Higher!
It's cold outside! And when it gets cold, our muscles shorten and ache. Challenge yourself! Try a new stretch every day and keep practicing the old ones from previous days.
Tag us on social media and use the hashtag #musichousestretchchallenge and we just might feature your daily stretch!
Ready, set, stretch!

Day 1: Touch your Toes
  • Start sitting with your legs out in front of you straight with flexed feet
  • Reach up high to the sky and fold from the waist reaching for your calves, ankles or feet
  • Hold for 30 seconds

Day 2: Spine Twist
  • Start lying on your back
  • Bend your right leg and hug it in to your chest
  • Twist so that your bent right leg goes to the left and keep your right hand on the floor
  • Hold for 20 seconds and switch to the other side

Day 3: Hamstring Stretch
  • Start lying on your back
  • Bring your right leg up as high as you can while keeping your knee straight. Use a towel if you need to to ensure that your leg stays straight.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs
Day 4: Shoulder Stretch
  • Keep those shoulders down and back just like we learn to do in class!
  • Start by lying on your tummy with your arms out so that you are making a T shape
  • Roll your body to the right, keeping your arms in place. Roll as far as you can before the stretch starts to hurt.
  • You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

Day 5: Stretch in Second Position
  • Start sitting on the ground with your legs stretched out as far as they can go
  • Fold forward at your waist, reaching as far forward as you can while keeping your knees pointed to the ceiling.
  • Hold for 1 minute

Day 6: Foot Stretch
  • Start sitting on your knees
  • Roll forward and adjust your feet so that your toes are bending backwards as if you are up on releve
  • Sit back so that your weight is over your feet
  • This one can feel very intense! To make it a bit easier, put a pillow or towel between your bottom and your feet or under your knees
  • Hold for one minute
We're half way there, keep up the good work!
Day 7: Lunge Stretch
  • Start kneeling on one knee with the other leg planted on the ground in front of you
  • Without lifting your back knee, shift your weight forward over your front knee
  • You want to make sure your front knee stays over the ankle, so you may need to adjust yourself accordingly
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides
Day 9: Seated Cross Legged Stretch
  • Start sitting with your legs crossed in front of you
  • Lift your right leg so that it sits on top of your left leg.
  • If this is intense enough for you, hold here. If you want a deeper stretch, fold forward over your legs.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides
Day 10: Neck Stretch
  • Start sitting on your knees
  • Take both of your hands to the back of your neck and gently press your chin to your chest. Hold for 20 seconds
  • Bring your right ear over your right shoulder. Take your right hand and gently apply pressure. Hold for 20 seconds.
  • Bring your left ear to your left shoulder. Take your left hand and gently apply pressure. Hold for 20 seconds.

Day 8: Half Pigeon stretch
  • Start with your right leg in a figure 4 shape in front of you and your left leg extended behind you
  • Fold over your front leg putting your elbows or forehead on the floor
  • Hold for 40 seconds and switch sides

Day 11: Figure 4 stretch
  • Start lying on your back
  • Bring both legs up and adjust your right leg so that it is making a figure 4 shape over your left leg
  • Thread your hands through the gaps and hold on to the back of your left leg
  • Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides
Day 12: Child's Pose Stretch
  • Celebrate all of your hard work over the past 11 days with this restorative stretch
  • Start on your hands and knees
  • Sink your hips back so that you are sitting on your feet and stretch your arms forward
  • Hold for 1 minute and feel the nice stretch in your low back
High Five, Stretchers!

Tchaikovsky Who? Meet the man who composed some of the world's most famous ballets

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Russia and was the first composer from Russia to be brought to conduct and perform work in other European countries. Never heard of him? Let's listen to some of his most popular works, we bet you'll recognize one or two!
5 facts about Tchaikovsky
  1. Tchakovsky was only 4 years old when he made his first attempt at composing when he cowrote a song with his sister Alexandra.
  2. Tchaikovsky originally went to school for ciivl service. He had taken piano lessons through his whole life but didn't fully dedicate himself to music until his late teenage years.
  3. In his early career, Tchaikovsky almost exclusively composed operas. His symphonies however, gained him his reputation.
  4. Tchaikovsky is famous for writing three ballets: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, andThe Nutcracker Suite
  5. Swan Lake was the first of the three ballets produced. However due to poor staging and direction, was originally deemed a failure and pulled from his portfolio.

Tchaikovsky - Sleeping Beauty Waltz
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture (Finale)
Let's Listen!
Click the link below each picture, close your eyes, and imagine yourself floating and twirling
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake (Swan Theme)
The Nutcracker Suite: a holiday classic
Listen carefully and when you go see Music House's production of The Nutcracker, listen for these popular sections of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite
02 March - The Nutcracker Suite
07 Trepak (Russian Dance) - The Nutcracker Suite
13 Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - The Nutcracker Suite

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fantasy Football? Try Fancy Footwork!

We're feeling the onset of autumn with the changing trees, weather that makes you want to bundle up, and all sorts of spiced teas and desserts.

There is also a certain ball game that comes around this time of year and whether you are a fan or not, check out how some of these players are training.

We will give you a hint: several of our Music House Dance students train in this very technique!
Why do football players train in ballet?
Ballet provides a number of benefits to professional athletes due to its intensity and demand for discipline. Football players train in ballet to improve:
  • focus
  • flexibility
  • speed
  • strength
  • endurance
  • balance
Ballet demands strength in each of these categories and therefore the rigor of ballet training is known to help athletes improve their game on the field!

The Footwork Show Down!

Now let's put these two head to head for the ultimate match up!
Quick Feet! Who is faster?

Fancy Feet! Who is more sophisticated?

Leaping Feet! Who jumps higher?

Curious to see what this looks like?
We all were! Luckily a number of athletes were willing to show us just how their ballet training went.

Needless to say, ballet and football stack up pretty well against each other and offer alternative methods to train stronger!

Hit The Splits This New Year: Here's How to Get Started

As we enter 2019 and are setting our sights high, we want to give you a couple ideas on how to keep your dancing en pointe! Here are ...