Do you teach Dance or How to Breathe?

 

Mme Eva Zitterkob, in the Arts Management, wrote a comment on a ballet community in Linkedin which grabbed my attention.

Now, I just want to quickly share a thought about a major topic in ballet (and possibly every other physical activity.

 

What she wrote was: 

‘After sitting in senior showings for a senior showcase for the past hour and a half. I can not say enough how important it is to train Dancers how to breath. There is no reason I should be hearing the huffing and puffing of a dancer because they cannot breath right. Coaches, trainers, professors and instructors please train you performers how to Breath. It’s very important but most of the time over looked. Breathing is needed in every aspect of Preforming Arts and Sports. Please train your students.’

I of course had to reply to this crucial affirmation, sharing my experience.

This is the major way we accomplish things at our best. Through breathing correctly, everything else can not be less than correct because of this foundational aspect of evrything, not just dance of course.

I speak in first person as I have never been taught how to breath properly. I was used to do 1 minute variation and to become blue, almost dying. Professors anyway could not teach me how to dance AND breath together. I had to learn it by myself as I grew up and matured my dance. There is a teacher however, Egon Madsen from Stuttgarter Ballett, who used to teach that every movement shall be done with its proper breathing (not casually, obviously).

I needed to take inspiration and act consequentially. Moreover, the muscles enflate when not well oxygenated, and how long could a dancer resist in a hour-and-a-half ballet if he/she cannot even dance a solo without puffing, panting etc?

I could not agree more.

 

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Then, Mme Eva Zitterkob added:

 

‘We can’t expect performers to just do things right, like breathing. It must be taught. We as professors, instructors, coaches, etc… Have to take the time to educate our students. I worked with gymnast for the past year and the ones that breathed correctly scored higher, levelled up, and were in control of their bodies’.

 

Definitely! I must admit this was probably the TOP issue of my dance, and she HIT it!

Now .. Do you know?

When I teach, I spontaneously want my students to combine movements with breathing. I want them to acquire an awareness of the importance of dancing AND breathing. First of all!

it’s as important as the posture, even more… it’s primary. I love Pilates also, mainly for its way to accustom someone to balance everything around the breath.

And, not only the simple act of breathing. You should know the WAY to correctly breathe, because there’s a good way and a bad way too! or many good and bad ways, anyway.

Without proper teaching, I used to dance breathlessly. Now I require from my dancers to FIRST think about their ‘health’ (including healthy movements) through correct breathing.

If they are not breathing, they will not be able to have the stamina to finish a variation or a long sequence of steps.

It should be first of all an acquired awareness. One must study dance AND breathing, to accustom body and muscles to a healthy way of making movements and create artforms without the audience grasping and collapsing because they are dying 😀

In fact, teaching ‘dance’ is not barely teaching ‘dance’, but it should be presented as the teaching to ‘breathe first and dance then’.

Having been a dancer on fire myself, I know that when a student is young and eager to dance a solo of Paquita, Swan Lake etc., I can understand him or her… it’s normal of course. They want to focus on the work, on the performance and the delight of ballet. They don’t merely think about preserving their health, as their whole energy is concentrated on the points above.

Once you grow, you understand that your energies are not limitless, your heels can be hurt at each tour fouetté coming down, your back starts to hurt and your ankles, muscles and memory don’t support you this much unless you ‘breath out’ and dedicate a safe, ponderated, wise warm up time to preserve your body.

You are no longer focusing on hundreds of turns or jumps, but maily on your health and in perspective. THAT’S where you begin to breath! Sadly :-/

Dance is not easily taught along with breathing, in my opinion, for 2 reasons:

– ignorance of the teachers;

– ‘vanity’ of this topic, as the students rarely would want to seriously focus on this aspect, for the reasons stated above (they are young and eager to dance!!)

 

Now it’s your turn to leave a comment below and let the world know about your precious experience. And please, KNOW that in the free resource you can download from here I have NOT forgotten to talk about this primary topic: if you want to deflate your quadricepes, avoid cramps, resist longer, stretch better etc. you HAVE to know HOW to add to your dance/warm ups/stretches the correct BREATHING.

 

Welcome here then! 

 

See you soon,

 

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(Article of Alessandra Bedin. Did you like it? I would love to offer you a free Report that furtherly deepens this topic. Only a couple of the secrets described inside of it can give you a great benefit in the very next week. Download it now for free, while it’s still available, from this link)




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3 thoughts on “Do you teach Dance or How to Breathe?

  1. Ah this great. Thank you for taking our conversation to another audience! The more people who know the better. Dancers and instructors alike need to take initiative to learn how to breath. This is cool.

  2. Welcome Eva, nice to meet you here! Yes I agree we should increase ballet students and teachers’ awareness about this foundational topic. In fact, we should coordinate countinually proper breathing to the movements.

    I want to add, however, that some very good teachers that I had seemed to avoid this topic instead to face it, in my past experiences. They used to tell me: ‘Don’t breathe this hard! you don’t have to show your efforts’, which is good, but they never really taught me HOW TO come to this point. They just ‘hit me with their stick’ but never really accompanied the students through a step-by-step- practice of ballet properly breathed.

    That’s why I would welcome every possible practice suggestion that you or other readers may have!

  3. I think I will definitely add this topic to my lesson as an actual subject to consider as a specific one, not something to leave by chance occasionally.

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