By Hallie Rumsey-Lasersohn
Professional Dancer and Dance Teacher at Modern Motion
Seeing a ballerina glide effortlessly across the stage while balancing perfectly on the tips of her toes in a tutu and satin pointe shoes is magical. It is no wonder many young dancers are eager to receive their first pair of pointe shoes, but there are many factors that determine whether a dancer is ready to safely begin pointe work including age, technical strength, experience, and maturity.
The journey to dancing on pointe is highly personal, but as a general rule dancers should not begin pointe earlier than age 12. This is because the bones in our feet do not fully develop until age 12-15. Beginning pointe too early can cause injuries, stunt foot growth, or even lead to deformities.
Age is not the only factor to determine readiness for pointe shoes. Remember: being on pointe means holding up your entire body weight on the tips of your toes. Regardless of age, if a dancer does not have the strength in their feet and ankles, pointe is not only dangerous but painful. Students should be able to complete sixteen consecutive releves on each foot with a straight knee before they are allowed on pointe. They should also have enough strength to balance on demi-pointe on one leg in a variety of ballet positions.
In addition to physical strength, students should have at least two years of consistent ballet training and a good understanding of ballet technique and alignment. Dancing in pointe shoes requires the foot and ankle to be pointed straight up and down without sickling and the hips and shoulders stacked directly over the toes with the core muscles engaged and the knees pulled up and straight.
Many people think of pointe as its own genre of dance, but this is not the case. Pointe should be thought of as advanced ballet. It is for dancers who are serious about and committed to their training. Good attendance, exemplary class etiquette, and a willingness to work hard are essential to succeeding in pointe work. The decision to put a dancer on pointe is for your teacher to make. For dancers who are ready to pursue pointe, it will be gratifying, extremely fun, and yes, magical! There is nothing like the feeling of setting a goal and working hard to achieve it.
By Hallie Rumsey-Lasersohn, professional dancer and teacher
Working as a professional dancer is not your typical job. It takes many years of training and dedication to get to that magical moment when you get up on stage and share your art with the world. Not a lot of people know what a normal workday looks like for a ballerina. I am going to give you a glimpse into a typical day in my life as a professional dancer.
Every day starts with coffee, a filling breakfast, and more coffee. I have been loving oatmeal with fruit and peanut butter in the morning. It keeps me full for a long time and tastes delicious. After breakfast I do my hair in a bun, pick out a leotard and tights, and head to the studio.
Once I arrive at the studio I spend about an hour warming up. I do a combination of stretching and conditioning exercises to help prepare my body for the day ahead. I take my time and listen to my body, giving special attention to any sore or tight muscles I might have from the day before.
Time for company class! We always start the day with a ballet class to warm up, prevent injuries and continue to work on our technique. We start at the barre and slowly work our way up to bigger exercises, ending with big jumps across the floor.
After class, I have a fifteen-minute break before rehearsals start. I drink water, have a snack, and put on whatever shoes I need for my next rehearsal.
Rehearsals vary from day to day. This could mean learning a new piece, working on a specific part, or doing a full run-through of a ballet.
Time for lunch. I eat whatever I am in the mood for that day. Sometimes it’s leftovers, other times it’s a big salad or a Pb+J with yogurt and a piece of fruit. I always make sure to get some protein in to help with muscle recovery.
More rehearsals! It takes a lot of preparation to put a show together.
When rehearsals are over I head home, take a shower, do some gentle stretching, and have a snack.
If we have a show that night I will eat dinner then head to the theater to get ready. It takes me about an hour to do my hair and makeup. I take another short warm-up class, put on my costume, and then it's curtain up for the performance. If we don’t have a show that night I am either teaching, reading, or watching Netflix.
If the dance studio is my favorite place in the world, my bed is a close second. Sleep is so important for athletes' minds and bodies. I put on a podcast or book on tape and get my rest before doing it all again the next day!
Written by Hallie Rumsey-Lasersohn
Professional Ballet Dancer and Teacher at Modern Motion
Flexibility is an integral part of dance training. It increases mobility, reduces muscle soreness, and helps to prevent injury, but for many dancers reaching flexibility, goals can be overwhelming. Here are 6 tips for improving flexibility!
Blog Author Hallie Rumsey-Lasersohn
Dance Teacher at Modern Motion and Professional Ballet Dancer
I learned the hard way that dancewear is delicate. I spent years throwing my dance clothes in with the rest of my laundry and not giving it a second thought. I thought I was saving myself time and effort but after numerous runs in tights, broken straps, shot elastic, torn seams, worn-out shoes, and a whole lot of wasted money, I decided to get serious about my dancewear care. With proper care, you can extend the life of your dance clothes tenfold. Seriously, I have leotards I have been wearing since high school that are still going strong. These tips will save you time, money, and keep your dance wardrobe looking good as new.
If you’re really dedicated to keeping your leotard, tights, dance shorts, and skirts fresh and tear-free then washing by hand is the way to go. I use Woolite Delicates and cold water. Scrub gently, soak for 30 minutes, and rinse. This prevents shrinking, fading, stretching, and any snags that might be caused by the washing machine. Hand-washing is a surefire way to keep your dancewear in top condition but let's face it, we don’t all have time to delicately massage our tights and leotards in a bubble bath each week. When I don’t have the time or energy, I turn leotards and shorts inside out, put my tights and skirts in a mesh laundry bag, and throw them in the washer. Make sure you wash with cold water on delicate. I suggest using an enzyme-based detergent. This will dissolve dirt without damaging the fabric. If you do get a run in your tights, don’t pull it! Instead, use a small amount of clear nail polish over the run to prevent further tearing.
This one is pretty straightforward. If there is one habit you should adopt to make your dance clothes last longer it’s air drying. The dryer is the number one culprit of wear and tear. Dancewear is made from thin material and will air-dry quickly, especially if you leave it in sunlight or near a heat source.
Canvas ballet shoes should be hand washed or machine washed on delicate in a mesh bag. Leather ballet, jazz, or tap shoes should be wiped down with a damp rag and or leather cleaner. Never put your dance shoes in the dryer. Try stuffing the shoes with paper towels or tissue paper to help them keep their shape while drying. If you air out your shoes after each use they will last much longer. It’s easy to throw your shoes in a sweaty dance bag and forget about them, but this will cause them to retain the moisture from your sweat and degrade quicker.
The Bottom Line
Dance requires specialized apparel that needs special care. Sure, you can throw everything in the washing machine and dryer and call it a day, but you’ll be shortening the life-span for these delicate and sometimes pricey pieces. Take good care of your dancewear and it will serve you well for years to come!
We wanted to share a bit of additional information about our studio plans for the remainder of the season. We will continue with In-Studio and Online classes. We have decided not to hold classes outdoors this Spring. We have also resumed in person uniform and shoe fittings with appropriate sanitation of fitting kits! We heard customer feedback and found that fittings are essential to the online purchasing process - so we’re happy to help! If you would like to schedule a shoe or uniform fitting, please let us know!
Our 12th Annual June Show, entitled “Out of this World” will be on Saturday, June 26 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. It will be an outdoor performance, divided into two or three smaller shows. In lieu of traditional dance costumes and to reduce the number of costume changes, we will be using recital logo cast t-shirts with dancer’s names listed on the back. The show will also feature our end of year awards and Me & My Guy performance!
Customer Policy Reminder
Everyone must comply with all health guidelines from the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health in order to participate in any in-person experiences, including but not limited to social distancing, hand washing and personal hygiene, and wearing of a facial cover where applicable.
Do not allow your child to attend class in person if he or she is sick, exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19, or has a fever or has been exposed to a close contact with COVID 19. In most cases, they can attend or watch class online when feeling ill. Parents and staff have a responsibility to report any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 from themselves or close family members to the studio if they have attended in person classes in order to allow for adequate sanitation of the studio facility, notification and contact tracing in accordance with health guidelines.
Modern Motion reserves the right to deny access to the facility, events, or classes to any student, parent, or individual accompanying an attending student who refuses to comply with or is otherwise found in breach of these requirements.
Modern Motion Dance School is offering a hybrid dance season! For our winter segment from November through the end of March, we will be offering classes online and in person with limited capacity, face masks required and physical distancing. Families may select whichever option they prefer, both options include a Virtual Performance in March. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com
Back to Dance - Executive Director Ginger Haithcox takes part in panel discussion with the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking
Listen to the Podcast audio here:
This season brings some new offerings, modified schedule, and options for busy families to keep their children dancing! Modern Motion is the perfect place for a fun and safe way to enjoy dance class. We are using a trimester plan for this season in order to take advantage of nice weather and outdoor classes!
To give a sense of accomplishment, each segment will include a brief outdoor or virtual performance for the children. New to Modern Motion, or not sure what class is the best fit? Take advantage of the 7-day Class Pass to explore classes before enrolling. Read more on this season's plans for classes - three segments, one season!
Modern Motion Dance School