July’s Workshop: Big Girls (and Boy) Tumbling

While the younger girls were in the back room at So Cal Dance working on their turning techniques, the older students were in the front room warming up and stretching out.

Back bends.

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Back stretches.  (Donuts)



Rockin’ and Rollin’


More donuts.



They worked on their splits.

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Soon enough, everybody was up and starting to tumble.  They began with various cartwheels.

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And very quickly, most moved on to their aerials.

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For some, whose aerials aren’t quite there yet, their focus was to add that extra lift to their one armed cartwheels

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Some students with pretty solid aerials were working on their form (straightening up their legs or better pointing their toes) while others were putting theirs into combinations with heel stretches or turns and other tumbling tricks.  Honestly, with all the pictures grouped together like this now, it’s kind of tough to figure out who was doing exactly what.

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Other than aerials, there were still a lot of skills to work on, like hand stands and hand stands to back bends to standing up (front limbers)



Back walkovers

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Back handsprings

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Another back walkover



More back handsprings

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Towards the end of the class, things got very complicated.  All around the room students were working on their most advanced tumbling tricks and I was taking pictures madly, working the shutter in over drive trying to capture as much of it as I could.

Here’s an “almost” aerial, where a hand went down.



Here’s a back handspring from another student while that same girl from the previous picture threw her aerial again, only this time she kept her arms up and nailed it.




Another back handspring, a round off (that was going to go into a back handspring) and  a one armed cartwheel.

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A couple more back handsprings.

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A great shot of an aerial, almost exactly in the middle.



A heel stretch into an aerial, where she held onto her leg the whole time.

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Her aerial again, without the leg hold, a back tuck and another back handspring


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Ms. Kelly given a spot on an aerial




Back walkover into a back handspring

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Back handspring, aerial and back tuck, with spotters.

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Whew, that was a lot, but the fun wasn’t over yet.  All the students were sent to get a drink, grab their dance shoes and come back in ready to work with Ms. Lynnrae on their turns!

July’s Turns Workshop: Big Girls (and Boy) working with Ms. Lynnrae

For the second half of the workshop with the older students, Ms. Lynnrae gathered the students and began with a quick introduction.



Next she called on of the students she knew well, up to the front and discussed toe point.  She spoke about pointing the whole foot, starting from the ankle and making sure the whole foot is stretched to a point.

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She’d brought along a spring loaded toe stretching machine which she demonstrated using for all the students, talking aging about how the most beautiful pointed feet begin up at the ankle.

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Next everyone moved towards the mirror.  She asked one of her students who she’d brought along to demonstrate to stand at the mirror in a pique turn position.  She explained the necessity of a level head, a long neck, a nice flat back, and level lifted leg position.


She also talked about hitting a nice HIGH releve position.



The whole class lined the mirror and one of the walls to practice.  Ms. Lynnrae moved around the room and made corrections.

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They changed to a different position, with a bent bottom leg, and worked on that for awhile.

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Then she talked about flat backs and core muscles.  She had a few of her demonstrators illustrate her points.  One even put on a cane to completely drive the point home.


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Once again, everybody gave it a try.

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Finally, she talked about the importance of having a level head, literally.  Lynnrae did a headstand to demonstrate her point, which is that just as you can’t do a headstand a stay balances with your head cocked at a funny angle, you can’t turn well like that either. DSC_5111 DSC_5114 DSC_5117


She balanced books on some of the kids heads to help them find their level.

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Then, finally, it was time to get up and spin.

They began with pique turns, and divided up into three large turns to practice them.

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After all the groups had a few opportunities to practice, they moved on to a combination made out of several different kids of turns.  First the students marked the pattern along with the instructor, then each group had a couple of goes at it.

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Then came some work on fouettes and alsicones.

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For the final combination, she added an illusion on to the end of an extremely complex series.

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Eventually, everyone had taken their final turns, and the time was running out.  Everyone gathered for a quick group photo and then it was time to pack up until next time.


July’s Turns Workshop: Younger Girls with Ms. Lynnrae



For the second hour of the workshop, the younger dancers moved into the back room at the studio to work with the guest teacher, Ms. Lynnrae, on their turns.

She began by running them through a warm up to get them out of a tumbling mindset, and into a dance mode.  They stretched themselves out again, and focused on their posture which would be important when they began to turn in a few minutes.

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They stretched their legs while seated on the floor some more also.

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They even worked on strengthening their cores.



Then, it was time for them to turn.

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Ms. Lynnrae helped them perfect their starting position.  She explained how you can not expect to turn well, if you start off with bad form.  They must begin by standing tall, with a tight core, firm arms and strong legs.

She worked with them on perfecting their pique turning positions.  She discussed how there are a lot of other options of course, for but regardless of the position one is spinning in, the dancer still needs to have strong legs, firm arms, a tight core and, of course, beautiful, tall posture.

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She balanced rolls of tape on their legs and books on their heads to demonstrate her point.

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With all of this in mind, then, they practiced their pique turns some more.

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They worked on some other spinning positions too.

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They also worked on their fouettes and alsicones.

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Ms. Lynnrae put tape on one of her demonstrators to illustrate the natural “square” of the body.  She explained that it is important to keep the body “square” while spinning.  Too often dancers get off their balance (their square goes off kilter) and the turns don’t work.

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With all the new information fresh in everyone’s brains, she had them all do some turns moving towards the front of the room.  She encouraged them to carefully spot themselves in the mirror while they danced, focusing on their posture and keeping their bodies square.

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Towards the end, she played a little game with one of the youngest students.  She asked her to mimic like a mirror. She wanted to ensure that even the littlest ones understood they while they dance they can look to their demonstrators and try to copy what they see.

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Everyone took a few more passes across the floor.

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Sadly, time soon ran out.  Everyone thanked Ms. Lynnrae for the amazing lesson and then they posed for a group picture together.


July’s Turns Workshop: Younger Girls Tumbling

July’s first weekend workshop was held at So Cal Dance.  It started out in the usual way, with the younger girls coming in first.  They began with their normal stretching exercises and warm ups.

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Back stretches

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Half splits and more back stretches

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Knee Scales, flipped over to back bends and then repeated on the other side

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Some jumps were mixed in.  Tucks, Pikes and of course, straddles



More back bends.  Need to practice standing up from them, as well as kicking over.



Then it was time to start tumbling, with some cartwheels

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Back walkovers

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Travelling back bends…. walking down the mat



One armed cartwheels



And the ever popular aerials!

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Hand stands

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Then handstands into into forward rolls



Straddle presses to handstands

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Front Walkovers

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Chest rolls

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Back handsprings

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Finally it was time for everyone’s final trick.  Ms. Kelly calls this their “Thing of their choice.”  🙂  Most kids pick to do either the thing they are so close to finally perfecting or the one that have only just mastered.

Like this back walkover



Or this one armed front walkover.



What a great hour it had been.  But time was up already and these girls needed to head next door into the other room to work on their turns…..