I just spent a good 20 minutes searching for miniature skeletons online.
Getting a six-month head start on Halloween? No, just turning into the nerdiest ballet teacher ever!
I’m a nurse, what can I say? Anatomy & Physiology I was all about planes of the body, muscles, bones. Good stuff. Actually, it was pretty boring… at the time I just wanted to get on to A&P II, which in my estimation housed all the good stuff. BUT. I won’t deny that learning the skeletal landmarks and muscle origins, insertions, actions, etc. has come in handy. Especially in dance. Once you know what is under the skin working you have a better idea of why we do things the way we do and how we can maximize our bodies’ abilities.
Normally I would keep this nerdiness to myself. However, one of my students is a massage therapist. Therefore, she is also well acquainted with muscles and bones. We had a nice discussion in the middle of class this week about the sternocleidomastoid (the big muscle that sticks out of your neck when you turn your head). And I’ve found I have an easier time giving her certain corrections because she gets the anatomical principles I’m trying to explain. I jokingly said in class the other day that I wished I had a skeleton hanging around sometimes so I could show people what I’m trying to get at with my yammering.
Then, just this week, I was checking out the Dance Advantage Spring Fever Giveaway. The first day’s giveaway was from abc for dance for a pre-pointe dance curriculum. Which I would love to win, but let’s face it, my students are light years away from pre-pointe. However, I started poking around the abc website and found the FUNctional Anatomy series. What… I’m not the first person to think, gee, it would be really helpful if dancers knew something about anatomy?! Thrilling!
So I just had to order the first part of the curriculum which arrived in my mailbox today. So far I’m quite impressed. The lessons are very basic, but I think it’s just right for what I’m trying to accomplish, which is to give my students bite-size chunks of anatomical and physiological principles that they can immediately apply to their dancing. They are designed to go in order (working from the foot up) and are designed to only take 5 minutes or so to teach. Plus they all incorporate some sort of physical exercise, which I like for multiple reasons. One, it gives students an immediate application of the principles. Two, I don’t feel like the anatomy lesson is taking away from precious dance time. Three, the exercises seem simple and safe enough that students can do them at home and the handouts even give instructions to the students on how to do them.
The only thing I don’t quite like is that there aren’t enough drawings. For example, the first lesson on the foot, there’s only one drawing of the foot bones and it’s from the side view. I was hoping for something a little more clear. Hence, my search for a miniature skeleton who can accompany me to class. It doesn’t hurt that it could double as holiday decor!
Now let’s just hope that my students are as excited about this as I am and that I don’t end up boring them to death. Hahaha. Now if you’ll pardon me, I need to go re-tape my glasses and find my retainer.