At the start of each practice, I like to start with calf raises, but done in many ways - I'll give credit to several people who have given me suggestions, some of them being Ieva Pauksena, Victor Fung, Derek Walker, and Michelle D'Ippolito (sorry if I forgot anyone!). I do my calf raises, with my partner with a practice hold (or just hand hold) and about 1.5 feet of distance in between us:
1) From heel to toe, then back down to heel, to waltz or foxtrot music - if I'm working on more control I will put extra slow foxtrot music
2) From just the toe, but varying the height at which my heel is off the ground, aiming to never have my heels touch the ground
I also vary whether or not my free leg is in front or back while doing raises, as to mimic the action of lowering in the swing dances whether one's about to progress forward or back
Another warmup are closed changes first with arms in practice hold, 1.5 feet apart, then with arms with body connection, then sans arms and maintaining as much body connection as possible, all the while thinking about bending the ankle to lower. This can be used as a really demanding exercise to not only practice lowering correctly, but minimizing over-dependence on the arm. Ieva suggested this to me in order to also see how one and one's partner move their legs and lower and rise together, like a "cow."
Lastly, I put on any sort of music (slower, instrumental/new-age, encourages breathing - I recommend Enya) and do what I call "vertebrae rolls" - I start bent over with my hands nearly touching my feet, and roll up and down counting to ten each way, feeling each of my vertebrae "unfold" as I breathe in as I go up, and each of my vertebrae "re-fold" as I breathe out as I go down. Just a minute of this helps a lot with allowing oxygen to awaken the back, which is important to support the frame.
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Join date : 2010-08-23