Often times when you enter into a new situation you are met with a mix of excitement and anxiousness. Such was the case when I recently went to teach the girls from Philadelphia Dance Academy summer session.
Here were teenage girls participating in a brand new activity; nonetheless, the girls seemed to be able to flow from dance to yoga almost effortlessly. Their yoga forms were as good as their dance moves I had just seen. They moved into the postures with ease and comfort. They seemed naturally able to understand the form.
I studied dance from 5 yrs. until about their age. It was something I loved and enjoyed thoroughly. I wasn’t the size of a traditional ballerina nor did I have the grace of one. I advanced more in jazz and modern dance. I was slightly frustrated by the fact that I wasn’t as expressive or advanced as some of my mates. I had no idea why, if I wanted to do something, I wasn’t able to fully engage in it. I think my level plateau and I never found a method or worked hard enough to excel past my natural talent.
Such as life; but, it is a good time to discuss the natural advantage that people would have in advancing their dancing skills with the addition of yoga or pilates to their regimen or vice versa. Joseph Pilates (1881-1967) knew this when he created a way to strengthen the body, elongate muscles, improve health while working the mind and body in harmony.
For me, learning yoga after I danced was very interesting and enlightening. I found it was the tool that could have advanced my dancing. When you practice yoga you learn how to concentrate, control, breath, engage in that moment in that form. This is very necessary to make each movement, pose, step, action a deliberate and artistic one in dance. The zest in a dance performance is the energy in the form.
In yoga I found my energy. I found my focus. I found my form. Slowing the mind down to control the body and emotions. While every person does not struggle with the same set of challenges I believe a true dancer must have high skill levels in these areas naturally or trained.
Beyond the immediate benefits to a dancer, anyone can benefit from these forms of exercise because they are mental and physical forms that help create grace and perspective in life. A free spirit will know how to release their body and mind and move to the rhythm thereby building a connection to their spirit. Let your spirit shine!
If you have a girl that wants to study dance, find out more by contacting:
Lori A. Lahnemann
The Philadelphia Dance Academy
232 S. Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106