Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dancers' Best of Tumblr

Tumblr is a truly fantastically horrible site. Its clutches are so alluring to the procrastinating college student. I don't tumble that often, but when I do....

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All of the glory that is snarky ballet students (more universally applicable).

This one's a little more ballet specific...but anyone who dances will understand.

It's just...yeah.

This one is a photo blog...but oh so pretty.

A lovely Q&A section, plus more day to day quotes that are relatable.

More prettiness in the form of pictures...

Claims to be a modern dance photo blog, but is more of an all-around awesomeness blog.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Injuries You Can Heal: Sciatica

You guys said you wanted lifestyle tips, so this one is going to be based on my own experience with physical therapy, the dance kinesiologist in my department, and my experience with alternative healing. I'm not a professional and I don't pretend to be, so please take my advice with a grain of salt. This blog post is no substitute for a doctor's visit if you're really in pain! See my first post on feet.

The Biology
Sciatica describes a pain in the back of the leg, usually starting in the middle of the butt cheek and running down the length of the leg. It is caused due to irritation, inflammation, or pinching of the sciatic nerve.
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Usually, the problem with sciatica in dancers is the piriformis muscle (pictured below). Amongst the majority of the population, the sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis muscle, which is one of your deep turnout muscles. Obviously, with all of the turning out that dancers do, the piriformis is commonly very tight. When it gets too tight, it can clamp down on the sciatic nerve, giving you sciatica.
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The problem: Pinched/inflamed sciatic nerve.

What it feels like: Pain starting in the middle of your butt and running down the length of your leg. The pain will be shooting, stabbing, and/or burning.

The solution: A pinky ball and some stretching. The pigeon stretch is a common piriformis stretch - the more you move your leg into a more extended attitude, the more stretch you will feel. If you have a pinky ball, lie flat on your back. Place a pinky ball under your tailbone and roll sideways on it until the pinky ball is directly to the left or right (depending on which sciatic nerve is inflamed) of the tailbone. You'll feel a lovely searing pain. Relax into the ball. If your leg starts to tingle and go numb, the pinky ball is digging into an artery - just roll around on the ball with tiny, slow movements until you find a spot that doesn't make your leg go numb and is perfectly cradling the muscle.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Youtube Best of the Best: Updates 23

MOMIX for Target
This is absolutely stunning. Some of the things that MOMIX come up with are just ridiculous. Things you wouldn't even imagine could exist do exist, and in such style. I love Pilobolus, and MOMIX doesn't disappoint either.

Pat Cruz - Lemme See
Some really interesting subtleties and use of formations and shape.

Dave Crowe - Beatbox Dubstep London
This is a stretch - it doesn't contain much dance. There's a little popping and performance in general. Mainly, it's an amazing beatboxer being an entire orchestra + synthesizer. Talent is so unequally distributed. It's not fair....

P!NK - Try
Props to P!NK for doing real dancing, and props to her partner for making her look so good!

Justin Bieber - Beauty and a Beat
There's some dancing, and some of it is in the water (wow.), but what I really put this video on this list for was Ian Eastwood's brief appearance. Did you catch him?

Matt Luck and Emma Portner - Dancing in the Dark
Crisp, precise, clear, heartbreaking and heartwarming. Lovely.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Youtube Best of the Best: Updates 22

Mike Song - Skrillex - First of the Year
When it's half choreography and half improv...and you can't tell where one flowed into the other? You know it's good.

Shen Wei Dance Arts - Connect Transfer II
What if you could combine visual arts and performing arts, painting with dance? Oh wait, you can.

Yang Li-Ping - Moon Solo Dance
There's so much drama, control, and specificity that comes with shadow/silhouette play, and this woman pulls it off beautifully. The first two minutes are mesmerizing, but I do admit it gets a little weird after that.

Northwest Dance Project - (Vimeo) Covered
Okay, it's on Vimeo, not Youtube. Still a video, close enough. This is the beauty of what can be done with fantastic dancers and socks on a good floor.

Marion Crampe & Edouard Doye at Milan Pole Dance Studio
Some people may call this disgusting, I call it a beautiful and powerful display of strength and artistry.

Ian Eastwood ft. Chachi Gonzales - Fall by Justin Bieber :: Urban Dance Camp
They're the hottest couple ever. Ever. EVER. Oh, the choreography is amazing too.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo - Swan Lake Ballet Parody
Anyone who knows anything about Swan Lake has probably heard about this section of the piece - the one with four corps members dancing together holding hands (I'm sure it has a name...)? Ballets Trockadero is an all-male ballet company who performs spoofs of traditional ballet - and all en pointe! This is old...but still. But still.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Snap, Crackle, and Pop (part 2)

So quite a while ago, I made a post titled Snap, Crackle, and Pop, talking about cracking joints. Funny story, because almost a year later (one month ago), DanceSpirit made a post of the same name - only they consulted experts and wrote it better.

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Writer Julie Diana asked a few experts what the deal was about cracking. I'm sure you've all had the teacher or friend who told you that cracking your joints obsessively would lead to wearing away the cartilage in your knuckles and joints and possibly arthritis one day. But is it true?

The chiropractors and dance medicine specialists that Diana consulted say no. Cracking isn't necessarily unhealthy, all you're doing is taking your joint to the end of its ROM (range of motion), which feels good and loosens it up a bit. The crack that you hear is caused by one of three (normal) possibilities: 1) a little bubble of gas escapes when you move the joint to the end of its ROM, 2) the cartilage is not smooth and makes a sound when it rubs against something, or 3) tendons or small, tight muscles make a noise when sliding over a bursa.

All in all, it's not necessarily bad to crack and pop joints if it makes you feel better and more at ease with your ROM. Cracking even releases endorphins, and while short lived, endorphins make you happy. So crack, snapple, and pop away! (oops, did I mess that up?)