by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Core training has been around long before the word “fitness” arrived at its current popularity and status. And the word that existed in its olden day form is Dance.
When it comes to fitness, we all are attempting to be vigilant about our routines especially in the core area. These days there is more scientific evidence to support why we should work the core muscles, how we should do it and with what weights, balls, bands, cables, videos, magazine articles, photographs, clothing and all the rest to assist us. But really it doesn’t have to be all that complicated.
Dancers have long known the built in benefits of not only core training, but as an additional advantage, aerobic, plyometric, flexibility and strength exercises. You need only attend any modern version of the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet or Swan Lake to observe core strength in action. Balances on pointes and demi-pointes for men and women; sugar plum fairies, swans and lovers lifted on high by their princely men whose rock hard abs have no rival, except for their lovely female counterparts whose core power not only keeps them on their toes, but supports feet glued to ears elasticity; jumps, plies, dives, turns and leg lifts of every sort all working from the center. The endurance factor alone stands these athletes apart from all others as a ballet dancer’s movements are intense and exact to a very high degree.
Los Angeles choreographer and dance teacher, Michael Cornell, likes to describe ballet as free standing Pilates. Quotes Cornell, also a former company member of BalletMet, Ohio, ” If you have ever taken a ballet class you immediately realize that it is all about the core. You can’t help but improve your over all core strength and posture if you take ballet a couple of times a week.”
Nike has been promoting dance via some of its popular YouTube posted videos of femme power hip hopper, Sofia Boutella, dance battles between ballerinas and hip hoppers and its Nike Dance for Women athletic line. Ballet Barre technique classes, Yoga Bootie Ballet classes, Pilates/dance workouts and all kinds of other off-shoots are popping up everywhere in every form. Clearly everyone is finally back on the dance band wagon well beyond the days of Flash Dance and the original Fame now revived.
But the other real benefits of dance are the fun, ageless, timeless, anyone can do it, stress reducing, body slimming and lengthening, factors. Awkwardness of jumping in for the first class aside, whether one has been dancing a lifetime or for the first time, dance is an experience that incorporates the core with ease and perfection without the expensive or need more space for storage at home peripherals or the monotony of the gym.
Finally, dance will make you smart. According to recent Scientific American MIND articles, by developing the core muscles and staying mentally engaged, the body develops its own body-brain intelligence and a level of awareness in three dimensional space and coordination. A double plus for focus and cognitive functioning.
In and of itself, Dance is a perfect balance of intelligence, core strength fitness, ease and fun for anyone. As an answer to the Core fitness question, it is the very reason to opt for old school simplicity over modern workout hassle.