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Dance Anatomy

By Jacqui Greene Haas, Human Kinetics, Champaign, 2010, 195 pp., ISBN 978-0-7360-8193-1

"Your illustrated guide to improving flexibility, muscular strength, and tone"

This book is a four-color illustrated guide, well written, informative and full of creative advice for dancers on how to stay healthy, achieve their full potential, and discover more efficient ways to improve their technique. It is organized in 9 chapters and features 82 of the most effective dance, movement, and performance exercises for proper breathing and the prevention of common injuries, all accompanied with illustrations capturing the dancer in motion, highlighting all the active muscles associated with each movement. Dance requires an impeccable balance, intense muscular control, grace, rhythm and speed, but to impress audiences, and above all, be better than the competition, dancer need to understand the basic anatomy and receive the most efficient training.

Chapter 1, The dancer in motion, uses illustration of three dance positions – the jazz layout position, the attitude derriere position and the split jump as demonstrative movements of how your body works through description of anatomy, movement plans and muscular actions. Chapter 2, Spine, brings advice on how to use the entire spine in dance and how to improve balance stability, balance of muscle action and flexibility to reduce risk of injuries. Chapter 3, Ribs and Breath, refers to the importance of the efficient use of the breath in order to reduce upper-body tension and improve core strength. In Chapter 4, Core, the author analyzes the significance of applying core strength to dance movement and presents exercises that develop strength in the core. The focus is on the muscles of the core that contract to stabilize the spine. The focus in Chapter 5, Shoulder girdle and arms, is on the efficiency of movement within the shoulder complex through scapular stability to maximize efficiency of arm work for power, aesthetics, balance and momentum. The next chapter, Pelvis and hips, focuses on pelvis as a link between trunk and legs and can be very powerful when organized and balanced. All dance styles show off capabilities of the legs, so in Chapter 7, Legs, the focus is on exploring the bones and muscles that contribute to the beauty of the legs and feet in dance and is followed with numerous useful exercises. Chapter 8, Ankles and feet¸ shows relevance of well knowing lower-leg alignment together with core and pelvic strength what gives power to the feet in order to achieve quick, fearless and better technique. Chapter 9, Whole-body training for dancers, examines how to perform dance movements without straining and overusing muscles along with the exercises that review musculature, previously discussed in all chapters, to promote body’s ability to work as a unit.

To actually use this book, not only to read it, it is essential to develop an effective conditioning programme that takes into consideration changing cycles of classes, practices and times of layoff, using the written and described exercises. With good organization, this book may help every dancer to establish in detail how to achieve better turnout, a higher develop, more flexible camber, better arabesque and to improve technique.

This must-read book for every dancer is meant and designed for all students and instructors who want to continue their education and to get to know their full body potentials.

For more information, please visit www.HumanKinetics.com