To run the best studio possible, dance instructors need to teach more than plies and box steps. Teaching proper breathing techniques for young dancers is just as important as showing them the right moves. As a studio owner, you should make sure that all your beginners are being instructed in proper posture and breathing so they can grow into beautiful and confident dancers.
Benefits of Proper Breathing Techniques for Young Dancers
To new dancers, especially those who haven’t participated in physical activities before, practicing breathing may seem a bit silly. However, there are a number benefits that come along with proper breathing techniques. Live Healthy explained that you can help prevent muscle fatigue by giving your body extra oxygen. Dancers with strong respiratory muscles will be able to dance for longer periods of time and stay alert and focused.
Controlled breathing also helps to relieve tension dancers may be carrying. This can relax muscles and loosen movements. According to Live Healthy dancers who are stressed are more prone to injuries. Practicing breathing exercises will help young dancers to move more fluidly and give a better performance, all while preventing physical harm.
Practicing Better Breathing
Take a few minutes in each of your novice classes to practice some breathing exercises with the students, and make sure your instructors are doing the same. An article on teaching proper breathing from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing recommended you encourage students to breathe deeply from their diaphragms by focusing on expanding their ribcages. Proper breathing techniques for dance includes heavy utilization of diaphragmatic breathing.
There are a couple of easy exercises to help dancers become accustomed to this potentially foreign practice. Live Healthy suggested you start by having students lay with their backs on the floor with their palms on the lower abdomen. Take deep breaths to the count of four, and have everyone watch their hands rise. Exhale and focus on tightening the abdominal muscles. Another option is to practice a few easy yoga poses, like upward salutes and forward folds. Everyone should inhale as they raise their arms up and exhale as they bend forward to touch their toes.
Slowly Progress to Rhythmic Breathing
Once your students get the hang of these exercises, Dance Teacher magazine suggested you move on to rhythmic breathing. To practice, play a song that you’ll be using during rehearsal, and have the dancers pace their breath to the tempo. This exercise will help prevent stiffness and tension when performing and make the dance appear smoother and more effortless.
This article was updated at 2:22 p.m. on September 17, 2014.