Tag Archives: Dance

Add These 6 Fall Drop-In Activities to Your List

While it’s great to enroll your kids in a handful of semester activities, it’s also nice to have a free day (or two) for play dates, relaxing at home, and drop-in activities. Our lives are so scheduled these days, it’s nice to not always have to plan so far ahead!

If you’re looking for an activity or two that doesn’t require scheduling months in advance, here are a few of our picks for drop-in classes—from unique activities that are new to the site this season to favorites we’ve had on Kidz Central Station for some time now.

The Brand New:

Krav Maga Experts
If you’ve never heard of it before, Krav Maga is a self-defense style based on Israeli military principles—and Krav Maga experts, located in the East Village and Upper West Side, offers classes for kids! Sessions here help children improve balance, self-esteem, discipline, and focus, and sharpen insight and intuition when avoiding and escaping potentially-harmful predicaments. This class is great for kids age four and up!

Manhattan Fencing Center
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Let your child take a “stab” at fencing this fall! Manhattan Fencing Center is home to the Olympic Silver Medal Saber Team (Beijing), three top eight finishers in the London Olympics, and many members of the U.S. National Men’s and Women’s Saber Team—so the instructiors here really know what they’re doing. With an intro package here, kids age seven and up will learn the basics through two private lessons and two group lessons—plus equipment! Classes take place in Manhattan Fencing Center’s Midtown West location and can be scheduled when it’s convenient for your child.

RESOBOX
This Long Island City program offers an array of unique drop-in classes in the Japanese arts. Kids as young as five can pop in to learn awesome skills such as Manga Drawing and Animation, Crocheting and Amigurumi Making, and Japanese Classical Dance—classes you can’t find just anywhere! The program also offers traditional Japanese Karate classes taught by an expert instructor, for those interested in martial arts. Most classes are scheduled for after school, so they will fit perfectly into any child’s school schedule.

The Good Old:

standard_silviya_12_10_classEvolution Enrichment Center
If you’re looking for a drop-in class and live downtown, this place truly has it all. Located on the Lower East Side, Evolution Enrichment Center offers some great and interesting classes for kids age two and up. From a music class focused on songs around the world to Rhythmic Gymnastics—their signature class—there is so many different activities for kids to try. This fall, they are also offering a Gifted and Talented test prep class that uses SMART Boards, touch screen technology, and hands-on manipulatives to prepare little ones for entrance into the G&T program.

Music with James
Music with James is just what the name implies—small, intimate music classes with James Humphrey, a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist, who for the past ten years has been performing at children’s events and leading music classes throughout Manhattan. At each class he plays a variety of different musical styles and instruments, while children age four months to four years sing, dance, shake maracas, and play along. Classes take place in Murray Hill and can be bought one at a time or in packs of ten—so you can sign up and drop-in as you please.

The Art Farm in the City
The Art Farm - Birthday Party
While The Art Farm is known for it’s awesome semester classes, luckily for all of us, they also offer two different drop-in sessions at their Upper East Side location—Open Play Time and Fun Fridays on the Farm! Open Play Time is offered Monday through Thursday afternoons and includes animal time, arts and crafts, and creative play in the playroom, and, as the name implies, Fun Fridays on the Farm is on Friday mornings, and kids can enjoy baking, arts/crafts, music, singing, and plenty of cuddling with animals. If you live in Midtown there’s a class for you as well—The Art Farm has teamed up with Creative Dream Parties for a drop-in Play Time with Animals class on Thursdays!

Why Dance Injuries Happen in Kids, And How to Prevent Them

Young ballerinas practicing a choreographed dance
Adolescence is a time of significant physical and psychological development for the dance student, and is typically coupled with a huge jump in training frequency and intensity. All of these factors combined make the adolescent dancer uniquely susceptible to dance injuries. In fact, injury incidence nearly doubles in 14 to 16-year-old dancers compared to dancers 9 to 13 years old.

At the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, we treat dancers of all ages from amateurs to professionals. Whether your child is dancing in an after-school group or a Broadway show, it’s crucial to remember the top risk factors for injuries in adolescent dancers, and the best ways to prevent dance injuries from occurring.

Risk: Growth spurt
The growth spurt is the most rapid and significant period of physiological development of any person’s life outside of when they’re babies. Adolescents generally experience growth spurts between ages 9–13 for girls and 11–15 for boys. Dance students, both male and female, are typically about two years behind their non-dancer counterparts in the onset of adolescent growth changes. Adolescents can experience growth slowly over a period of one to two years, or they can grow very rapidly over a period of a few months. The rate of this growth can dictate how significantly an adolescent dancer will be affected, both in their dance technique and injury risk.

During any growth spurt, the bones of the body grow first, followed by the surrounding soft tissue, including the muscles and tendons. This can create an internal imbalance in a dancer’s body that can lead to temporary decreases in flexibility, strength, coordination, and balance. These are temporary changes, but they can result in impaired technique and early muscle fatigue, which in turn increases the likelihood of injuries like tendinitis or stress fractures. These changes can also lead to psychological distress in young dancers – they don’t understand that their technique is suffering because of growth changes and can lose confidence in their ability to dance.

Safety tip: Simple activity modifications in class and rehearsal, such as reducing number of jumps, relevés, and other similar moves, can mitigate these issues and allow students to safely participate in dance throughout their growth spurts. Also, explaining to the adolescent dancer that these changes are temporary and due to a growth spurt can help boost their confidence in class.

Risk: Poor nutrition
Proper nutrition is critical in fueling the growing dancer’s body. Research into adolescent dance students has shown tendencies toward insufficient calorie intake and poor nutrition overall. Dance students can burn between 2,500–3,500 calories in a day, but the typical dance student only eats between 1,400–1,800 calories per day. The drive for thinness in dance often overrides common sense in young dancers. Because these adolescents are connected deeply with their identity as dancers, they will sacrifice proper nutrition for the sake of staying thin. This is an unhealthy attitude for all dancers to have, but can be especially damaging for an adolescent dancer whose body has increased nutritional needs for proper growth and development.

Female dancers are especially prone to injuries like stress fractures due to the connection between caloric intake, menstruation, and bone density development.

Safety tip: Adequate calcium intake (1,000–1,500mg/day) as well as getting enough calories (at least 2,500 calories per day) can reduce the likelihood for these types of injuries in female adolescent dancers.

Risk: Periodization
Dance training is rooted in the artistic culture of dance, which means that it does not follow the typical sports model of “in” and “off” season. Dance students often train at high intensity throughout the year and do not have an off season to let their bodies rest and recover from the demands of dance training. Dancers who train at a high intensity for too long are more likely to develop overuse injuries like tendinitis and stress fractures.

Safety tip: Periods of rest and recovery with a focus on cross-training activities instead of dancing are necessary to allow the dancer’s body to recover from the stress of dance training. Yoga and pilates are great activities for building and maintaining muscle strength, plus they are complimentary to dance training. Cardiovascular training—such as bike riding and swimming— is an excellent way to boost endurance while a dancer is on break.

If you have questions about keeping your child safe when dancing, speak to a trained professional.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Alison Deleget, MS, ATC is a certified athletic trainer with over 12 years’ professional experience; 10 years in the performing arts setting at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Hospital for Joint Diseases. She has presented on adolescent dancer injury risks at national and international dance medicine conferences, and has worked extensively with professional dance companies and Broadway shows providing onsite rehabilitation services. She regularly lectures at dance schools on topics such as injury prevention and injury management.