Get in shape for a dance team?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Lola, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. Lola

    Lola Sonero

    I know this sounds like an odd question, but we're getting an outside instructor into town on a regular basis to work on forming a dance team. This instructor has serious technique and a much more athletic style than what I'm used to.

    So what I'm worried about is; do you work out to prepare for the dance team or do the practices themselves get you fit in the way they need you to be?
    #1
  2. desconocida

    desconocida Descarga

    When I was on a dance team (which wasn't salsa, but I guess it doesn't really matter) I used to work out at home because I didn't feel that group practice alone took me to the level where I wanted to be. Before actually getting on the team I've also worked out quite hard for three or four weeks, because I didn't know what to expect, so I wanted to be prepared.
    But I assume it all depends on the way group training is designed - it might also be very challenging and technically enough to get/keep you in shape (e.g. Abakua). Then everything depends on whether or not you have your personal weaknesses you need to work on to achieve the overall level.
    I think I'm the type of person who'd rather work out more on my own though, if I was on a dance team, because I tend to be quite competitive :rolleyes:
    And I think you shouldn't be worried in the first place, I'm sure it's gonna be a great experience and you'll be fine! :bouncy:
  3. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    I can't speak from experience (since I've had only a very short stint at performing), but doesn't that depend on what sort of physical demands the performance style of the teacher puts on you and how the team training is conducted?

    If you are required to do lots of lifts and tricks and feel you lack the core (and other muscle) strength needed but the team training doesn't include exercise to work on that, then you will need to work on that yourself outside of the class. There's a couple here who's belief is that a strong core is essential for good dancing, and their closed class programme, which is a prerequisite for joining their performance teams, is half strength training (squats, pushups, lats pulls, etc), half salsa technique tuition.

    If it's stamina/cardio fitness you need, then unless the team training is really gruelling and fast-paced or actually include specific cardio work, I'd imagine you'd probably need to do some separate cardio training somewhere.
  4. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    just wrote a massive post that was eaten by the internet................

    In short -

    I use dancing as my Reason to be super fit. I want to look and feel good for dancing. Is it necessary? Who knows but it definitely does help. Dance teams are a great motivation to improve yourself, your fitness and your dancing.

    As Macmoto said, core strength is integral to key moves. I find though that it is imperative to maintain your own fitness program to compliment your training. Eg. I have a severely injured ankle thus constantly do rehabilitation exercises. Others may have specific niche areas they need to improve to produce optimum performance. Perhaps speak to your instructor to suggest a supplementary individual program tailored to help you have the best team experience possible.

    Enjoy and you owe me lots of dances mwa ha ha :)
  5. Lola

    Lola Sonero

    Thanks for the advice! I think I will have a couple of sessions and see what I need to work on as you all seemed to suggest.

    Smiling28 - of course I will dance with you tons...if I ever get to meet you on the salsa floor. *sniffle* only one dance with an sf member so far and I'd injured my ankle so I didn't even tell him I had danced with him as it was NOT a good dance night on my part.
  6. barrefly

    barrefly Nuevo Ritmo

    MacMoto speaketh the truth. Missy participated in one of Liz Lira's pro/adv. team classes
    and was very surpised that the class began with an intense workout of the kind Mac describes above. The better the team, the more challenging it will be. Strength, stamina and athleticism are just some of the aspects.
    Good luck Lola, and please keep us updated with videos if you are inclined.
  7. UnlikelySalsero

    UnlikelySalsero Rhythm Deputy

    I wouldn't worry about it directly, but any dancer/instructor that has a jazz/ballet background (what I call the traditional dances) will be used to doing 30 minutes (or more) of stretching/conditioning before dancing.

    IF you want to get in great dance shape, go take jazz/ballet classes in your area. They simply never dance without an excellent warm-up including stretching, strength and balance exercises. The strong jazz/ballet dancers are in amazing shape.

    Talk to the instructor, check out their background and ask them for recommendations. They will be thrilled someone is looking to improve and already thinking of working toward excellence.
  8. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Wait, isn't stretching *before* exercise supposed to be a bad idea?
  9. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I think the term "stretching" is getting overloaded with meanings, there's stretching muscles, and there's "stretching" like after you wake up... which is really a limbering of the joints.
  10. UnlikelySalsero

    UnlikelySalsero Rhythm Deputy

    The jazz dancers have it down to a science. They warm up and the major stretching part is after they have been working for 10-20 minutes.

    They work their way into stretching based on the classes I've attended.
  11. barrefly

    barrefly Nuevo Ritmo

    You will also see this in a lot jazz conditioning classes.....

    The first half hr. dedicated to stretching and excercising and the second half hr. didicated to "across the floor" work. The "Edge" had a class that did this, and Buddy Schwimmer's studio used to do this as well. (...don't know if they still do)
    It is a wildely employed practice among serious jazz studios.
  12. SalsaTO

    SalsaTO Son Montuno

    The instructor will tell you what you need in order to perform the choreography he has planned. If he does not, ask him. Either he will demonstrate the exercises you will need, or he will lead you through them until he is satisfied that you / the group have the necessary strength to learn the figures or elements.

    For lifts and aerials, I've been trained by people with ballet training - including pas de deux . You can Google Katie & Billie from Miami and view one of their routines. And they stress strength and flexibility for safe execution of the lifts they will be teaching. It is actually expected the students arrive at the workshop with the necessary conditioning. Welcome to the real world of dance.

    And, most professional dancers have personal trainers and spend time in the gym sweating and maintaining or gaining strength in all of their muscle groups. They are protecting their bodies, their source of income. It is a serious business.

    If there are any lifts, dips, drops or any patterns that require you to take your partner's weight, unless you are physically very strong and somewhat of an athlete, you will need to build strength in your core, legs and upper body. The same thing goes for the follower, as she needs a very strong core and shoulders for framing and for supporting her body as she is moving and being moved.

    Anything less is putting your partner into peril as you would not be able to control her weight as you are moving her. And you are putting yourself into peril as your back and shoulders and arms could well be overpowered by the elements you are attempting to do. Even a simple lift such as the stag requires a lot of strength from the leader as he is taking 100% of his partner's weight and the follow has to have great core and leg strength in order to control her legs and lower body.

    Here's a link to one of our performances... Partner spent six months in the gym working upper body and legs, especially for the snake and the part where I am 'playing piano' on her tummy. She is not resting on my leg, she is holding herself up with her right arm, shoulder and upper back....... I teach fitness and personal train.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDxDT62o2H4

    Have fun. You will learn a whole lot about dance that will make you a much better salsa dancer.
  13. J&A

    J&A Son

    With our performance team we work for 3 hours in our main practice, 30 - 40 mins stretching and some strength work, we use a routine designed by a Ballet and Jazz Dancer which starts easy and builds up to get the best out of that time. We then spend 10 mins with various spin exercises and then start working on the routines etc.

    We work the dancers very hard throughout those 3 hours and the ones that don't exercise on their own really struggle with stamina throughout the practice. We push the team to work on their own as much as possible as you can only get so much done in the team practices, the ones that do are the ones that improve the most and are the ones that get to perform in the bigger events. We make ourselves very clear on what we expect to anyone joining our team so that no one can complain if they get kicked out if they don't come up to our standards.

    Once you start working at a high level in anything, just doing that activity is not enough to keep your fitness at the required level, all serious professionals whether in dance or sport will have to exercise to keep themselves fit. The ones that don't are the ones that never really make it.

    Each team will be different and a lot will depend on the level of the team and the choreographers. Talking to them one on one before you start is the best way to work out any concerns you may have.
  14. miranda

    miranda Son Montuno


    What are the biggest challenges to this instructors serious technique workouts? Is it more to do with strength, endurance or advanced technique?

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