glass_icarus: (partners)
[personal profile] glass_icarus
Went to a dance social last night for the first time in... about 2 months? It was a great party and I spent a long time dancing with practice-partner S (we've been on practice-hiatus for a few months, but we tentatively agreed to start again :D), as well as a couple of people visiting from elsewhere in Quebec. I've missed my zoukers a lot, but damn, I need to get back in shape. Time to see if I can get into the habit of doing pilates workouts at home a couple times a week.

A few of you have asked me to talk about dance and I think it might be a bit much to try to combine all of those posts into one. [personal profile] jhameia's question about muscle development feels apropos today, since I woke up sore in my everything. Honestly, muscles are a thing that I never particularly cared about- I'm not the biggest exercise junkie, and I started dancing because it was fun and not because I wanted to have great abs or whatever- but the more I learned, the more I started to realize how valuable the muscle training aspect is, even if I'm still not particularly good at it outside of dance contexts.

Dance is a full-body workout, and obviously builds muscle in your legs and trains your feet. Many ballroom lessons and team practices with older members were exercises in foot articulation: training myself to really feel the floor, where and how to balance or shift my weight, how I was using my toes to grip or point in latin or to step leading with the heel in standard. There was a lot of practice walking, perfecting lines and weight shifts and how to rotate my hips or hold my tailbone, breaking in my dance heels as I went. There was also a lot of posture correction- maintaining your dance frame involves a lot of core work, including back muscles. My friend H could isolate his back muscles as well as his abs extremely well, and he spent a lot of time explaining how it felt to me so I could try practicing that too. While I can safely say that nobody I know ever danced their way to a six-pack, strictly speaking, my back gained a certain level of definition after my collegiate competition years even not having done any serious workouts beyond dancing (I did a lot of dancing, though). Of course, the friends who were more serious about competing and leveling up than I was in undergrad did their time in the gym in addition to practicing, many of them committing to pilates training for core control/strength reasons.

Now that I'm in zouk, where I have to pay attention to more of my body more intensely in order to maintain a good connection, not to mention older and bouncing back from muscle stress less quickly, the value of training and stretching are that much more apparent. Zouk in particular has a higher risk of injury, what with head movements being so common. Between those and the wide range of body movements, muscle isolations (for body waves, for example), flexibility, and range of motion are important. Beyond that, there are a lot of fun moves- some of which involve counterweight, balance, and spinning- that require a strong core, thus my latest attempt to work pilates into my routine again. Of course, pilates is good for more dances than just zouk, and I'm not sure there's anything I'd recommend specifically for zouk, beyond careful attention to your neck and back to avoid strain from intensive head/body movement...

Er, looking at this, my response might miss the mark on things you wanted to know, but if you have further questions feel free to ask! :P
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just another fork-tongued dragon lady

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