Earth Day.

Earth Day: You can make a difference!

The past five years have been the warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Additionally, there are currently 150 million metric tons of plastic waste in the oceans that affect 700 species, with an additional eight million metric tons being added to the ocean every year, according to the Ocean Conservancy3. The plastic island in the ocean is real.

Young people and students are leading the charge to combat climate change and make the tough decisions that reduce negative human impact on the environment. Just this past March, an estimated 1.4 million students from 123 countries walked out of school and stormed the streets to demand action from global leaders1,2. Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg had strong words for world leaders at the UN Summit on Climate Change.

healing power of dance

The healing power of dance: talking about it isn’t enough

Sarah* entered the studio eager to move but very aware that dance, which once brought her joy, was very difficult to engage in or initiate. I invited her to merely walk around the space and explore her connection to her movement and body. She began to walk quickly with intensity and a bound energy in her upper torso. I asked her to identify how she felt in this walk, to which she replied, “This is what I do. I push through things and just keep going. This feels familiar, but I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to move forward, but I’m not sure what that looks like or how to do that mindfully and in a healthy way.”  

I invited her to find different ways to walk through the room. Sarah began to walk backward. She mentioned that this actually felt safe and that she could trust herself. She then began to move sideways and slowly began to roll her shoulder with each step. When asked what this movement represented, she said, “My creativity.” This sparked a discussion about her connection to creativity. She was discouraged from indulging her creative side and made to feel like she was an outcast and the black sheep of the family. She didn’t allow herself to be creative.  

dancing with friends

Want to be a better person? Just dance!

You may have heard that dancing is good for your brain, and we know that it is good for your body, but did you know that engaging in dance can actually make you a better person? How is that possible? You might be asking, “What if I cannot dance?” I’m here to tell you that it is possible for everyone, even if you have two left feet.

First, it is important to define or re-define dance. According to Wikipedia, “Dance is a performing art form consisting of purposefully selected sequences of human movement. This movement has aesthetic and symbolic value, and is acknowledged as dance by performers and observers within a particular culture.” I encourage you to put that definition aside and focus on dance as an “inherent form of expression.” Put on some music, and you will quickly see that you have a natural tendency to move to it. Dance, since the beginning of time, has been a physical outlet for celebration, grief, prayer and so much more.  

self care for dancers

Self-care tips from ALMA NYC

On January 14, ALMA NYC hosted a wellness seminar at Broadway Dance Center. The seminar featured a five-person panel of nutrition, fitness, life-coaching and holistic living specialists. The afternoon focused on the meaning of self-care, a concept that has become a very trendy topic in today’s society.   

Foods for Winter Health

4 ways to boost winter nutrition and immune function

During winter months, it’s more important than ever to maximize your nutrient intake to strengthen your protective immune defenses. You don’t have to go buy a bunch of expensive products to be your best. 

Here are some tried and tested immune boosters perfect for a dancer’s budget.  

Photo by Belinda Strodder.

Get warm and stay warm for healthy and stretchy dancing

Brrrr… baby, it’s cold outside! You’ve still got to get warm and stay warm before you really get moving, but it feels so much harder when it’s like Frosty and the elves had a little too much fun outside. Fortunately, it’s easy with a few tips, and you’ll be ready to burn up the studio! 

First, though, what does it even mean to warm up? Is it just a few stretches and go? Nope. You need to literally warm up your body from the core out to your fingers and toes, and the way to do this is to move around enough to get your heart rate and your breathing rate to increase. If you’ve broken a sweat, you’ve hit gold. Here are some of our tips for getting warm and preventing injury. 

New Year Goals for Dancers

New year, new me: 4 key steps

Happy New Year! It’s a little hard to believe it’s 2019, right? It’s the time of year when people are thinking about “New Year’s Resolutions” – specific goals toward self-improvement. On the whole, dancers are always consciously working toward self-improvements, it does seem like.

Nevertheless, the turn of the year might be a good time in which to formalize a process to create self-improvement – in technique, in artistry, in aspects such as professionalism and building one’s network. Let’s look at four main steps for initiating self-improvements for yourself as a dancer.

#1. Reflect: Where are you now? How was this year for you?  

It’s hard to make beneficial changes without being clear about what you want to change. Where are you now, after this year of dancing? Do you feel creatively fulfilled? Do you wish you could explore more stylistic diversity and/or challenge yourself more? Are you satisfied with how much you got to class? Did you perform as much as you would have liked to? Technically, what was your greatest achievement? Did you wish you had achieved something technically that you didn’t manage to? Did you delve into other creative avenues, other art forms or artistic approaches? What was most difficult for you in your dancing life? What’s a special dancing memory, or two, or three, you may have from the year? What are you most proud of?  

warming winter foods

Warming winter foods for energy and performance

So many traditional winter comfort foods are also loaded with extra calories, but warming, delicious, comforting food doesn’t have to be calorie overload.

Certainly dancers need energy without feeling weighed down, so here are some great examples of seasonal, warming, winter foods, for energy that aren’t too rich, and a new “creamy” soup recipe at the bottom.

Winter: A good time to start your dance journal

Winter is a time when nature becomes dormant. Although the human world buzzes on, in alignment with the nature all around us, we are drawn to rest and reflect. How might this apply to artists, with reflection (on both inner and outer) fruitful for creative output and personal growth?

Might winter be a good time to begin journaling as a dancer? How, practically, are some ways to start doing that? Here, we speak with Betsy Miller, Assistant Professor of Dance at Salem State University, and Boston-based dance artist; and Karen Klein, founder and artistic director of teXtmoVes, to learn more about beginning to journal for creative processes in winter.