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PrincessandtheFrog

Improving Stamina in exams

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Next week I've got a performance exam where at one part I have to perform a petit allegro followed by a really long grand allegro then followed by a solo which has lots of big jumps. However after the grand allegro I get really out of breath and I feel I don't perform my solo as well as I could. I notice that out of me and my classmates, I'm the only one who's really out of breath after the grand allegro but I do jump quite high. The ironic thing is that I play the trumpet so I shouldn't be as out of breath. I'm also a bit worried as when you're in exam conditions the nerves make you not breathe as well.

Does anyone have any tips on breathing and stamina?

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One tip my dd's teacher used to give her was to relax the shoulders so you aren't tensing up, and to breathe through your mouth - this can be disguised by smiling. :-)

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Try to think about your breathing as part of the choreography. When in the combinations do you breathe in? And when do you breathe out?

 

The more long term thing is to ensure you are aerobically fit through cross-training. This is increasingly recommended for dancers: running, cross-trainer machines, cycling, swimming, weight lifting.

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Don't forget to think about your nutrition... If you're getting a bit breathless I'm wondering if you could be a bit anaemic. Might be worth getting some red meat into your diet, to see if it makes a difference - unless you're vegetarian!

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My DD's dance teacher used to advise skipping for stamina building.  30 mins skipping per day for 2-3 weeks followed by 2-3 times per week afterwards really boosts stamina for fast or lengthy pieces.  It works too!

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Aerobic interval training will work to improve your aerobic fitness without taking you into too much of an aerobic training zone. Dance is largely intermittent in nature, so you want to train the metabolic pathways required for this. Conversely, any training that is too continuous will eventually lead to adaptations in the body meaning you'll be great at continuous exercise (eg running a marathon!). The best way to do aerobic interval training to cause a training effect (ie an improvement in fitness) but retaining the 'start-stop' intermittent nature of dance is to do 1 minute of high intensity, low skill exercise (7/10 level of intensity - things like star jumps, grapevines, step-ballchanges, hopscotch) followed by 1 minute rest. Do this for 10-15 sets which will take 20-30 minutes. 2 or 3 sessions of this a week should be enough to cause a training effect. 

 

(FYI my PhD was partly based around aerobic fitness in ballet dancers....)

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Wow, that's great DrDance - that sounds really simple and effective. (My PhD was not half so useful ...)

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Thank you everyone for all the tips they are very helpful :) . For long term the cross and aerobic training will definitely be beneficial. I think before when I was dancing I probably forgot to breathe but Kate_N's tip about planning when to breathe in the dance really helped me not forget to breathe.

 

Edited for spelling

Edited by PrincessandtheFrog
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Don't forget to think about your nutrition... If you're getting a bit breathless I'm wondering if you could be a bit anaemic. Might be worth getting some red meat into your diet, to see if it makes a difference - unless you're vegetarian!

I'm a crazy meat eater, I think I eat way too much!

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Wow, that's great DrDance - that sounds really simple and effective. (My PhD was not half so useful ...)

 

It's so easy to do too - no equipment needed except maybe a pair of trainers. You can even do it outside (weather permitting) jogging 1 min, walking 1 min or a spacious living room and a good few pop songs (or Christmas tunes?!) would suffice too!

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I'm going to add it to my gym routine on the treadmill - run fast for a minute, walk for a minute.

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