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Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead) (karma: 18)
By foreverclovers
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 02:11 AM
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2007-09-05 21:21:36

Recently, there have been people from various sources complaining about the lack of ‘real’ information on technique in many posts here in the Irish section of DDN. Examples have been given of ‘suggestions’ for improvement made by dancers who really don’t know anything about what they’re doing to their bodies other than it ‘seemed to work’ for them.

Personally, I am always very careful to limit the advice that I give to a) what I know (such as steps and such like) or b) what I’ve been personally told by a professional in that area. Whilst I realise that it can be very useful for us to be able to post ‘How can I improve my xxx?’ and get a range of answers from other dancers, we need to start considering the safety of dancer’s bodies as a priority that comes BEFORE the ease of using the internet to ask for help.

Irish dance is primarily a competitive art form, which means two things. Firstly, that some of the techniques we are required to perform because of the ‘need to win’ or because it ‘looks good’ is actually dangerous for our bodies. Examples are going en pointe (overtoes) in shoes that are NOT safely designed for pointe, without any proper training or prior professional analysis. Or that we are taught to land down from our jumps on an unwavering straight leg in full demi-pointe (up on toes) without rolling down, causing shock injuries and the muscle imbalance in our calves.

Secondly, as a folk art turned competitive art form, Irish dance teachers are almost always lacking in any teaching of how to safely and properly perform technique, or the anatomical knowledge required to safely and correctly train young dancers and hone their skills. This is NOT the teachers’ fault. The problem lies in the fact that their teachers before them were never taught these vital skills, and whilst they form a crucial part of dance knowledge, they are not required to pass the TCRG. For teachers who do have some knowledge, most of what they have learnt comes from books or the internet.

So instead, we as dancers sit behind our computers, and to someone of whom we know nothing about in terms of skill level, previous injuries or body build, we suggest our homemade methods of improving our technical skills in order to place higher in competitions.

Can anyone else see something totally WRONG with this?

Finally fed up with this lack of knowledge, and inspired by Taoknitter’s fantastic posts on dance kinesiology, I myself have decided to do something about it. On top of my regular visits to my fantastic physiotherapist/podiatrist (who, consequently, specialises in ballet technique), where I learn most of the little I do KNOW about dance technique and the ways to improve it (and hence what I may be prepared to explain to others), I have recently purchased The Perfect Pointe Book. After Taoknitter recommended it on her site, I received the downloadable copy and set to work retraining myself, as a sixteen-year-old dancer, on how to have the proper form, strength and technique required to dance SAFELY AND CORRECTLY en pointe, be more flexible, have better turnout and greater overall strength.

The fact that I have to do this, whilst I watch an eight-year-old in my class working on her turnout in front of the mirrors, obviously pushing from the ankle and not the hip (I’m cringing as I write this because I know that up until a couple of years ago, I knew no better) or begging a ten-year-old to get down off her toes in her hardshoes because she’s teaching herself pointe work because she wants to be like the big girls, and no one else sees the danger because up until two years ago it was accepted practice to teach pointe work to seven-year-olds. As much as I adore my teacher and think she is a true fountain of knowledge of what she has actually been TAUGHT herself, I have to ask…WHY is the situation like this?

I had a hard time learning to go en pointe a few years ago. Thankfully I was a late starter, so my feet should have been fully formed by the time I got to pointe work. But NO ONE saw the need to teach me ANYTHING about correct pointe technique other than to suggest I hold onto a table until I was more confident. So instead, I read the voyforums and DDN and learnt that, for example, your knees should never be bent en pointe because it is terribly bad for them.

I have always been hyper-mobile in my hips and ankles (meaning I have very stretchy ligaments and can point my feet and turnout from the hip very easily). But my bones are badly formed so that my knees are hypo-mobile (lacking in flexibility) and turned in when I walk normally. So despite the fact I have always had fantastic turnout from using my hips and ankles, no one ever pointed out to me that my knees were barely out from dead straight when my hips and ankles were out at 180 degree turnout (Here I go with cringing again). Why did nobody point this out to me? Because nobody KNEW. I still remember the look on my physiotherapist’s face when two years ago I showed him my turnout at his request. Since then, I’ve worked hard to improve my horridly misaligned body to make my turnout technically safe and correct. And then, I read today on the voyforums that the champion Irish dancers are able to keep their knees facing straight-on whilst turning their feet out perfectly and that this is the correct Irish dance technique.

Speechless.

As much as I absolutely adore Irish dance and would never change for the world, I have to wonder…would I be constantly plagued with injuries from my too-weak-for-pointe feet if I had chosen ballet?

Probably not.

So just in case anyone got to the bottom of this massive rant…any thoughts?

38 Replies to Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)

re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead) (karma: 1)
By peabody
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 06:24 AM
Great post. Thanks for raising the issue in a serious way.

DD and I have only this week begun to understand hip flexor issues that dd has been facing on and off for years of dancing and what their ramifications might be. Certified athletic trainers, i.e., experts in sports injuries, are required for high schools in our district. She sustained a (thank goodness) minor pull to hip flexor and had to see the trainers before she could continue practice/play. I realized the strains had happened before, from ID. We had always said "groin pull." This form of dance is so much more demanding than it used to be, and I think all of us, not just TCs need to be aware of what we are putting these young bodies through.

And thanks once again to AnnD for her wonderful posts on taoknitter.blogsport.com
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By TaoknitterPremium member
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 06:56 AM
Good for you, Foreverclovers! You are a very smart young lady...it takes quite the initiative and intelligence to take such responsibility for your own training. Your lovely rant is very insightful...perhaps you will go on to be a much needed dance kinesiologist.

I hope your dancing career is long and wonderful.

Ann
taoknitter.blogspot.com
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead) (karma: 1)
By seannettaPremium member
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 08:52 AM
Well said, foreverclovers. That takes a lot of initiative and smarts to come to these conclusions and do something about it on your own. But it will take many more people like you to change the fundamentals behind the way ID is commonly taught.

ID is such a strange paradox in many different ways. We let our dances and costumes progress into styles that are incredibly flashy. But many in the ID community are reluctant to change the ways of teaching, or the culture behind it. So the actual content of the art form is allowed to mutate into whatever the trends dictate, but nobody would ever think of changing how the form is taught or the way schools and competitions are run, because of so-called "tradition." It's so weird. And frustrating.

But I feel a tide slowly turning. People like you, foreverclovers, and everyone else who's raised the issue, are going to be at the forefront of a good thing--a culture of ID that puts the body first and the fancy tricks second. It's going to take a while, and there will be much ranting and gnashing of teeth in between, but I'm confident we can get there. Keep it up.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead) (karma: 1)
By maureensiobhan
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 09:15 AM
Thanks for posting this. I've cringed at some of the dangerous advice I've seen given for turnout. I've seen advice given to go and stand facing a wall and pushing your feet into a full 180-degree turnout, to do the froggy stretch, and to stand in first position and have someone push your feet backward. All of these things force the turnout from the knees and ankles, and put a great deal of stress on the knee and ankle joints, since those joints wind up being torqued completely out of correct alignment.

As for toe stands and toe walks, perhaps they should be banned altogether for all age groups, since hard shoes were not designed for pointe work.

On landing from any jump, the knees must be allowed to flex to help the body absorb the shock of landing on the ball of the foot.

I've been horrified, too, at the advice I've seen given to improve elevation (height of jump). I've seen advice given to use ankle weights. This advice is dangerous, because using the ankle weights puts tremendous stress and strain on the joints on the joints and spine, leading to injury.

If you want your body to last for as long as you want to dance, you must use common sense and learn to separate the good advice from the bad.

Knowledge of injury and how to prevent injury should be a compulsory part of the TCRG exam. I don't know why An Coimisiun hasn't made it part of the TCRG exam.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead) (karma: 1)
By feissy
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 02:01 PM
Edited by feissy (184284) on 2007-09-01 14:26:10
Foreverclovers, I am forever grateful to you and everyone else (especially the above posters) who has recognized this problem, and I am unfortunately one of those people who have posted methods for improvement in dancing on this site, and I apologize. I can only hope that I didn't say anything wrong, but you are indeed right; we all need to be careful. Irish dance is no where at all close to being an activity that handles skills and athleticism with knowledge and care (or at least most of the time it seems), and it's unfortunate that most of us can't find a teacher or friend or whomever to turn to for advice. Irish dance may not be a SPORT (mainly an art form, but correct me if I'm wrong), but it requires strength, flexibility, etc..., which is NOT taken lightly in any other activity.

And I can say that I am one of those people that has suffered (and still is suffereing) through the pain, PT, and so many other things in order to have that "look" or style in ID. But I have tried to learn about physiology and anatomy to help, along with getting everything settled with some sort of a professional.

So, I have now realized that I need to be careful; not only in how I get my information, but how I perform and how I help others. So, this was an awakening, and I am truly thankful that you posted this. And I hope that everyone can read this, too, because of the many "How do I ...." posts and the replies to them.

Thanks again!
~feissy

P.S. I thought that your "rant" was definitely a good thing, and I enjoyed reading it! Thanks!
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By AnothermomtooPremium member
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 04:56 PM
Edited by Anothermomtoo (150568) on 2007-09-01 17:00:47
I realized very early on when my dd was in novice (I think) that something was wrong with ID teaching. She was having trouble with turnout and asked me to watch and tell her whenever she wasn't turned out. I would call it out and she was starting to look really great. Suddenly, she cried out that her knees had sharp pains in them. I told her to stop right away. I then asked her in more detail about turning out. Her TC told her whenever she wasn't turned out, but I don't think she ever told her how to achieve it. Maybe the TC had, and my dd was too young to remember. Anyway, I was shocked to learn that she didn't know she was supposed to turn out from the hips. (I knew this from ballet lessons.)

DD began to study ballet as well, and then the TC and workshop teacher were upset that she was plieing a little in order to take off in a jump and land. I was incredulous as doing so is necessary to prevent injury. I tell her to give a little in the knee and ankle as she needs to and then come back up to a straight leg and never to land with a straight knee. I don't care what any judge or TC says. The contrast is ironic since, in her ballet class, her teacher praises how high on her toes she is, but is often telling her that she isn't coming back down on her heals enough. This is the very "error" that ID judges mark her down for when they write, "higher on toes." I am very glad she is taking ballet for many reasons--one of them being that she will learn to protect her joints. Her ballet teacher is very knowledgeable about anatomy and protecting his dancers' muscles and joints.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By reeldansr
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 07:39 PM
Thanks heavens someone has posted this at last!!! Karma to you! I know from years and years of ballet training before ID, that there is a huge emphasis placed (by a lot of teachers, though not all, clearly there are ballet teachers who lack this knowledge as well) on correct alignment, and the proper way to execute steps and hold your body, particularly pointework. Just visit the ballet boards on DDN and you will see the "status" that pointework is given. At any reputable studio, it's a huge achievement to be allowed en pointe. It takes years of preparation and the teacher must be secure that the student is both strong enough, and has good to excellent technique and excellent alignment to safely dance on pointe. In my years of doing ID, I have seen none of this. The focus is on how to do the steps, and not necessarily on how to do them "properly." Great post!

RD
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 07:55 PM
What is insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

How many times have there been posts here on DDN where dancers asked for feedback on their video or picture, and then got angry because it wasn't the response they wanted to receive (such as toe stands and the like). How many times do we watch a champion dancer push the envelope with a trick, and wince, knowing that everyone will have to now attempt it as well.

My only hope is that the rational voices will speak, and speak loudly enough to be heard over the clamour for newer, bigger, and harder styles.

Here is to the voice of sanity- may you not be calling alone from the wilderness for long.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By foreverclovers
On Sat Sep 01, 2007 08:44 PM
Edited by foreverclovers (152855) on 2007-09-01 20:48:05
I'm so happy at the positive response to my message! (I figured I was either going to get slammed or praised, thankfully it seems it's the latter!)

I have been asked already where a copy of The Perfect Pointe Book can be found, just go to this website: theperfectpointebook.com
I cannot recommend it enough.

My original reason for writing my post was to warn people against giving out home-made remedies for technical problems, and I kind of went off on a tangent about why technique is not given the high standing that it ought to in Irish Dance.

This is a difficult point to make right, but I’m going to try anyway. We all have our own remedies for certain technique problems, and we all have the right to share them when someone requests help. HOWEVER. Remember that some of the dancers who read these forums are young and/or inexperienced. They may not necessarily be able to tell when an exercise or ‘tip’ is dangerous or not for them according to their capability and/or their environment. So if it’s really just something you figured seems to work for you but it’s not properly tested, say so. If it’s something that might be dangerous in certain ways, point it out. And if in reality it’s just ‘your perception’ and not your real knowledge, then make sure to include that at the bottom of your post. Or even better, leave the thread for someone who has a better knowledge on the subject.

Feissy: I believe that Irish Dance, as traditionally an art form, is moving further from an art form to a sport every day (requiring, as you stated, more strength and flexibility etc than ever before), and that is one of the major reasons that we need to address it's technical problems.

Thanks everyone,

foreverclovers
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By Naoisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Sep 02, 2007 07:14 AM
I started dancing when I was 21. I'm now 24, almost 25. I danced on and off for the first few years and have changed schools 5 times. I'm back at the school I started at but now I'm falling apart. I've always wondered about the lack of stretching, and the reasons for certain drills that just don't seem right...and there are times when I feel like over the years I've just learned steps but no technique. I moved into Novice very quickly (I'm in the "&overs) and am just now taking the time to slow down and learn the technique part of all of this. My TC is great, but I think we still face the problems foreverclovers was talking about.

Now, as of today, I haven't danced in a few weeks and I haven't signed up for fall classes, either. Why? Because my ankles are so bowed inward, soon I'll be walking on them. I'm dancing on the sides of my feet and landed on them, crushing the bones together, or rolling my ankles. My knee has started killing me and I don't know why. My dancing is suffering and so am I. I'm supposed to be going on my toes, but it's scaring me to death because I'm afraid of getting hurt. I still can't turn out and am afraid I never will. But I have made the decision to stop. At least until I get to a doctor and find out what is wrong. As much as I love dance, I also love being able to walk. And the way my ankles look is beginning to worry me and the people that care about me.

For the future, I have hope that the dancers of today that see the trouble with the way things are become TCRGs and make the time to make sure their students are being taught in the safest way possible.

For right now, I hope that it's not too late for me to turn things around and work with, not against, my body.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By irishmexican
On Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:18 AM
Although I agree with you on most of your points, I feel that it is a great thing to be able to call Irish dancing a sport and not just an art form. At some point it has to become the responsibility of a dancer to listen to her/his body. When there is a pain or an ache you should always have a 2nd opinion! Even if my TCRG was a trained specialist I would still go to a doctor. I have been dancing for over 10 years now, and I am lucky enough to have succeeded to championship level and competed at the national and international level, and yes I have had injuries, and I think that in the long run I will always carry some "pain" from my hard years of training, but I've also learned how to take care of myself. I feel that my TCRG has also expanded in her knowledge of training techniques and every year she comes back with better exercises for beginners and champs alike and everyone in between. Maybe I am lucky to have a great TCRG!

Thanks for the great information. You should write a letter to the Irish Dance Commission regarding your concerns. Maybe there would be a change or a requirement of some physical training knowledge for the exams! I think that would be a wonderful idea! I myself hope to take the exam some day, and I think that it is necessary to understand the physiology of the body to be a better teacher!
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead) (karma: 1)
By celtic_reel
On Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:15 PM
Our Highland Dance studio parents' group paid for two physical therapists that work with our city ballet and have provided PT for a number of our dancers to do an afternoon workshop. They gave handouts of safe exercises and stretches, did some group activities with everyone, and then had a few minutes with each individual dancer. This was one of the best uses of our parents' support group monies that we have ever spent, and I hope that we can do it again. So maybe even if your teachers are not as knowledgeable as you would like, you could bring in someone who can help both your teachers and the students.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By Luc01
On Tue Sep 04, 2007 09:37 AM
I could not agree more what has been said so far.. At the age of 25 and after doing ID for 10 years, I'm starting to feel the "results" of improper dance training and technique, suffering reoccurent injuries more and more often. Ever since I started assistant-teaching some years ago(and with a hope of getting my TCRG one day), I try to learn more about anatomy and dance physiology, hoping that the younger generation of dancers could avoid the problems I'm facing myself. So far, I'm vastly relying on what I've learned in my ballet years and the consultations with my physio and orthopedist. But still I feel there's so much more I need to know if I want to grow to be a "responsible" teacher.

My problem seems to be getting my hands on suitable literature to give me a more solid theoretical basis. Apart from the pointe book recommended before, could anyone give any tips on good books/web pages/magazines? Thanks a lot for any tips :)
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By Solea
On Tue Sep 04, 2007 09:53 AM
Here's a link to Taoknitter's favorite dance kinesiology books. They range from affordable paperbacks to textbooks, so there's something for everyone.

astore.amazon.com . . .
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By irish89
On Sat Sep 08, 2007 06:24 AM
Hi! good post!! I read it all! lol I just have one query... im 19 and have been dancing since i was 4. I have beautifully turned out feet but recently i have been getting serious pains in my knees and ankles. i went to an orthopedic who was shocked at how bad my leg alignment had become, presumably from ID. I was always told to 'push my ankles forward' in order to turn out my feet. Nothing was ever mentioned about my hips. I have never heard anything about using my hips. This might be the underlying cause to my problems. can anyone please shed some light on what i'm supposed to be doing with my hips when turning out my feet and trebling etc??? Any advice is welcome
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By TaoknitterPremium member
On Sat Sep 08, 2007 07:17 AM
Edited by zendancer1 (137979) on 2007-09-08 07:19:16
irish89 wrote:

I went to an orthopedic who was shocked at how bad my leg alignment had become, presumably from ID. I was always told to 'push my ankles forward' in order to turn out my feet. Nothing was ever mentioned about my hips. I have never heard anything about using my hips.


UNBELIEVABLE!!! Push your ankles forward??!!?? Never heard about your hips' role in the use of your leg?!! Your teacher's irresponsible idiocy just blows my mind!!!! You poor thing!

Here is the info you need plus an exercise to help you learn to use your turn-out: taoknitter.blogspot.com . . .

You also need to find a good physical therapist, preferably one with experience working with dancers, who can help you understand how you should be standing and using your legs.

Since there are obviously so many bad teachers out there, it is the dancer's (and the parents') responsibility to understand how the body works. You are in charge. Take care of yourself, learn, ask questions. There is more info here and a link to books that you can learn from on the side of the blog: taoknitter.blogspot.com . . .

I have been holding off on the specific rant about ignorant dance teachers, but this and recent emails I have received have got my blood boiling.

Ann
taoknitter.blogspot.com
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By leamanach
On Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:25 PM
I have actually heard someone in one of the ID organizations say that they didn't understand why teachers would think they need warm up and cool down techniques. I think the problem here is that if you look at videos from 20 years ago or more, the dancing was very low to the ground and much more casual. The ID dancer of today is truly an athlete and is always pushing their body. That body needs to be treated with the respect of proper dance technique. Because of the evolution of ID, the teachers and the organizations have never had that orientation. We need to encourage them to recognize how much ID has changed and respond accordingly.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By leamanach
On Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:36 PM
I have actually heard someone in one of the ID organizations say that they didn't understand why teachers would think they need warm up and cool down techniques. I think the problem here is that if you look at videos from 20 years ago or more, the dancing was very low to the ground and much more casual. The ID dancer of today is truly an athlete and is always pushing their body. That body needs to be treated with the respect of proper dance technique. Because of the evolution of ID, the teachers and the organizations have never had that orientation. We need to encourage them to recognize how much ID has changed and respond accordingly.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By ravendancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Oct 04, 2007 12:09 AM
I'm not exactly sure how I turn out (sad, I know), but I usually feel something of a stretch around my hips so maybe something is working right.

I suffer from exercise induced asthma, which may or may not be leading into full blown asthma, like so many youth in the USA today. Nobody can tell me ID isn't a sport until it doesn't have me gasping for air during practice (even with my inhaler). It's an art form, but all dance is. But it is also sport and I wouldn't regard the intensity we place on our bodies as anything else. I always warm up as well as I can, stretching my leg muscles, particularly after my hamstring injury (not pertaining to ID) last year.

My TC tries, but I'm not sure exactly how much she knows about the kinesiology of it all. But she's the only real teacher in our state, so...*shrug*. And I'm one of those people that won't stop if I can get through it (this mainly pertains to my asthma), but injuries tend to make me stop for a little bit, or at least slow my stuff down and not be as concerned about getting into the air, etc. This stuff needs to be out into the open.

Monica
McCafferty SOID
Little Rock, AR
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By maureensiobhan
On Thu Oct 04, 2007 02:03 PM
I wish that we had Saoirse here reading this thread. We definitely need more Irish dancers and teachers who have her vast knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology.

Speaking of pushing the heels forward to achieve turnout, she's warned many, many times about the dangers of pushing the heels forward to achieve turnout.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By kaitlin
On Sat Jan 12, 2008 06:54 PM
This is a fantastic post / subject. Too many talented Irish Dancers have been taken out from over training using 'flawless' (sic) Irish Dance technique, which they were admired and commended on, but in the end, they're the ones with the chronic injuries and devastated joints. It may look beautiful to go sailing through the air high above all the other dancer's heads and land on your toes with straight knees, but it's an absolute horror when you think of the actual cost to the dancer's body.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By irishdancer89member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Feb 29, 2008 01:19 PM
I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I have been dancing since I was 3 (ballet and ID). I never really started having problems with my feet/legs until I was around 16. Irish dance is beautiful, but it is so bad for a dancer's body.

Also, at my school at least, it seems like my TC moves some girls up far too quickly. There are little girls around 7 years old who are already in Champs because they have simply been puched through the levels. They don't know proper technique and if they don't learn it now, they may never catch up or do a lot of injury to themselves.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu May 22, 2008 02:54 AM
I have always been hyper-mobile in my hips and ankles (meaning I have very stretchy ligaments and can point my feet and turnout from the hip very easily). But my bones are badly formed so that my knees are hypo-mobile (lacking in flexibility) and turned in when I walk normally. So despite the fact I have always had fantastic turnout from using my hips and ankles, no one ever pointed out to me that my knees were barely out from dead straight when my hips and ankles were out at 180 degree turnout


That is EXACTLY what I have and I had no idea. I don't even know anyone else who has my problem. Yay, not a freak.
re: Irish Dance Technique & What We Post on DDN (Warning: Massive rant ahead)
By mairead032
On Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:53 PM
leamanach wrote:

I have actually heard someone in one of the ID organizations say that they didn't understand why teachers would think they need warm up and cool down techniques."


I'm 32 and have been dancing (not competitively in any sense of the word) for about 10 years. I feel I am lucky to have had instructors who *do* think of ID as a sport.

My current instructor is fabulous (formerly of the Trinity Irish Dance Co.) and she makes sure we start out with a nice "eased-into" warm-up, then stretching & some yoga poses, then some build-up drills and then the main class. She is very attentive to our technique so that we don't hurt ourselves. We always end by turning the lights low and enjoying a full cool down. Our class is like a book with a beginning, middle and end.

Lately I had been just feeling like 400lbs when dancing, and she pointed out that I was "dancing with my feet." She said I need to dance from the core. I used to weight train while IDing and due to real life issues, had fallen off that schedule. As soon as I realized what I was doing, it was as if a lightbulb went on. I have gotten back into full body conditioning and now there is a lot less stress on my feet and I feel great while I dance.

I happen to think that ID really should be considered a "sporty" art form. I think by approaching it like that will extend the life of your dancing. (hope that made sense)

Cheers!

Meg
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