Just the musings of a small-town professional ballerina, business owner, wife, and beagle mama as she attempts to make it through this thing called life.

Feb 24, 2014

Vacation Exercises Part 2

Hey everyone! I had this scheduled to post on Thursday but it never went through! So, here it is!

I'm getting the itch real bad... I can't even tell you how much I'm craving to put on a pair of pointe shoes and MOVE. This is hard, people.

To make it through the last couple days of vacation without going crazy, here are some exercises to get your blood pumping' and make you feel those endorphins.

Every girl needs a good Angel's workout. This one is killer and I actually really enjoy doing it. Pump up the tunes and get moving!


Feel the burn. This one's easy to follow and fun to do.
Lastly, this one you'll need to listen to Macklemore's "Can't Hold Us" (Although you really can do this to any song). In my jazz classes, I have my kids do this workout from time to time. Mixes up the training a little bit and offers some variety. It's important to exercise the parts of our bodies that dance doesn't exactly target but thinks like squats and ab exercises do. (I know the picture is small, unfortunately I'm experiencing some glitches with blogger. Just click on the picture to see a bigger version.)

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a post geared towards you dance teachers out there. It's crunch time to start working on those recitals. Coming up on Wednesday is 7 tips on how to choreograph a dance that is challenging, but manageable for your students, and how to do it in 3-4 months!
All the best,
Rhiannon -

Feb 16, 2014

Update: February Break

So for some of you, if may be February break right now. As much as I will miss dancing, it's come at a very convenient time, as I'll have even more time to give my ankle tendonitis a chance to rest.

I had an incredibly wonderful Valentine's Day! I hope all of you did as well. My boyfriend made me dinner, we exchanged gifts, and it was absolutely perfect.

 However, I woke up the next morning and was terribly sick! No better way to screw up a long weekend than spending an entire Saturday either in a bed or on the couch, immobile. It was awful, guys. I can't even tell you.

But, luckily I'm feeling better today, even got a gentle workout in to start the vacation week off right. When you're not dancing, it's important to maintain your stamina and athleticism so you don't get back to work feeling like you've lost everything. It's good to give our bodies a break from the normal routine. Doing the exact same thing day after day isn't good. So over vacations I like to do a bit of cross training. This week, along with our Dancer S.O.S. submissions/answers, (ask me your questions in a comment below or e-mail me at: rhiannon@maine.rr.com. Ask me anything!) my posts will all have 3 examples of exercises/exercising that you can do over break to stay in shape. Today we'll start off with some things I did in my workout today (keep in mind I was extremely sick yesterday and had to take it easy, so I did about an hour of these exercises with generous breaks in between intervals).

1: Spinning. Hop on a bike and get your heart rate up. Spinning is a great way to burn calories and maintain stamina without beating on your body. Unfortunately, unless you have a bike at home, you will need to go to a gym or exercise facility to do this (unless you're in a warm, sunny climate and can go for a bike ride, which we certainly couldn't do right now up in Maine).

2:  For this exercise, get yourself a balance cushion. This exercise can be done on the floor as well but the cushion offers extra challenge. Standing on the balance cushion, do some curls with 3-10 pound weights (whatever you prefer). You could also lean slightly forward and do some kickbacks (refer to picture demonstration).

3: Lunges. Gotta' keep those legs toned! After the spinning and arm exercises on the cushion, I did 20 lunges (10 on each leg).

I did this circuit about three times. These exercise were provided by a professional personal trainer and anyone can do them. Work hard, don't push beyond your limits, and always warm up before you begin.

Until next time, readers! Don't forget to submit your questions for the weekly Dancer S.O.S. Advice Column!

Thanks for reading,

Rhiannon -

Feb 10, 2014

Guest Post: Amanda Howard - Stress Fractures

It's time for our monthly visit from the wonderful, Amanda Howard. Today Amanda will be discussing stress fractures and offers some wonderful advice as well as knowledge that every dancer should have.

Dancers are very prone to stress fractures like our friend Rhiannon. Fortunately I have not had one but it is always a good idea to study up on how to prevent them and how to help them heal faster. Remember that I am not a doctor and I will not claim to be able to treat anything. If you are having serious pain and trouble, always consult a doctor as it could be a worse condition. With that said…enjoy!

You have to pay attention to the signs of a stress fracture. Make sure you know what the symptoms are so that you can treat them accordingly.

You probably have a stress fracture…

…if you have constant pain during dance or during any weight bearing exercise with subsided pain when at rest.

…if you have a throbbing even after the exercise.

…if there is tenderness to the area and a gradual worsening of pain.

Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone due to overuse. They are most common in hips, legs, and feet. Depending on the severity of the fracture, it can take up to 8 weeks of recovery time. When your bones are used frequently, like muscles, they become stronger. However, exercises such as jumping, running, or jogging can cause the bones to become weakened making it more susceptible to fracturing.

The best way to prevent stress fractures is to vary your routine. Make sure that you are not putting too much stress on one area of your body when doing strenuous exercises. I strongly recommend that dancers stay away from running and jogging as it puts too much pressure on the delicate bones in your feet. As dancers, we need to protect these bones. If you do choose to run, wear good running shoes with enough padding and try to use your thighs instead of your lower legs. I also recommend that dancers do interval training and cardio regularly to keep variety in your exercise routine. You don’t want to just do ballet all of the time.

If you do end up getting a stress fracture, you want to make sure you take the necessary time off to let it heal and to prevent further complications in the future. Take coconut oil to maintain strong and healthy ligaments and connective tissue. You can buy extra virgin coconut oil at your local supermarket or you can take coconut oil in capsule form. The correct dosage per day is about 1-2 teaspoons. There are many ways to ingest coconut oil such as, stir fry, coconut macaroons, used in place of butter in baked goods, or just straight up. If you are interested in some recipes you can email me at Amanda.howard@live.com and I can give you a list of fun and tasty coconut oil recipes.

Another great way to help your fracture to heal faster is by using the R.I.C.E. treatment—rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Look for Dr. Christopher’s Complete Tissue and Bone for faster healing. It penetrates deep to allow the bone to heal properly. Calcium Lactate is great for building strong bones. You can find it on Amazon.

Getting back into routine might be exciting but take it slow. You don’t want to have future complications so make sure you are not pushing yourself too hard. Try swimming to build up strength in your muscles and bones. It is an easy and gentle way to get back into action. Make sure you warm up properly before class or any exercise. Do some gentle exercises to get your heart pumping and your body warm without putting stress on the weak bone. Take anti-inflammatories. The best anti-inflammatories are Marcozymes. They are natural and much better for your health than over-the-counter drugs.

One of the best ways to heal faster is to use an M.I.T (mineral infrared therapy). It’s like a lamp that you put over the injured area. It provides relief of muscular aches and pains caused by arthritis and soft tissue injuries, alleviates inflammation and edema from soft tissue injuries, assists in the healing of skin disorders, balances the nervous system, promotes the healing effects on internal organs, and treats bone fractures. Believe me it works great! I use it on my ankles, knees, back, neck, and just about anything.

I hope this helps the next time you find yourself with a stress fracture. Email me anytime with questions or comments; Amanda.howard@live.com. I would love to hear from you!


Dr. Christopher’s Complete Tissue and Bone—



Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed Amanda's post then share this article using the widgets below, feel free to leave a comment letting us know what you thought. Don't forget to follow and "like" A Dancer's Days on Facebook!
Thanks, lovelies,
Rhiannon -

Feb 4, 2014

February Update

What's going on in Rhiannon's life? I'll tell you what.

First off, having an injury, to a dancer, is like being in an abusive relationship. The thing you love is hurting you. When speaking with Miami City Ballet stars, Sara and Leigh-Ann Esty, they explained that some dancers who undergo injuries can slip into what they called an "injury depression." Which makes complete sense: not being able to do what you love, lack of exercise, lack of mobility at all, bla, bla, bla. Naturally, a person whose job is to move their bodies isn't going to be very happy. I can relate and can attest to the possibility that it is a real condition.

Right now Maine State Ballet is in the process of rehearsing for Cinderella which we will be doing fifteen shows of in March. So... let's do a little math here. I'm stuck in the boot for a month, no class, no rehearsal, no nothing. If all goes well and I can get out of the boot and dance again after the month, I'll still have an additional month until the show. SO, if all goes according to plan then I will still be able to perform the roles of The Fairy Godmother, and the Persian Princess.

The one thing everyone has told me is that I can't stop moving. Sure, I can't really jump with a block of padding and rods that goes up to my shin, but I need to be moving my body as much as I can. I'm going to try to do a little barre in my boot today... We'll see how that goes (HA)! Luckily teaching in it isn't a problem, I just have to rely on the kids to know when they're supposed to point or flex their feet, as my foot is eternally flexed. Teaching the little ones a new step has been a challenge but my eight-year-olds successfully learned pas de chat yesterday. Whew!

Aside from dance, I have my first ecology exam on Thursday. As some of you may know, I'm a writing and publishing major, so the sciences aren't exactly my thing. I'm a tad nervous but fingers crossed! Still waiting to get my grade on my first French exam back. Again, fingers crossed!

Balancing work, dance, family, and the boyfriend has, believe it or not, become easier. If there's one thing having a crazy schedule has taught me, it's that you have to efficiently manage your time and it's 1000% better to schedule time with those that are important to you. Having a moment to spend time with people you love and take a pause from the obligations of the daily grind is absolutely necessary in order to maintain a state of sanity.

Speaking of which, I have a lunch date with my boyfriend, Travis! I'll see you lovelies soon!

Stay tuned to read the latest in Dancer S.O.S. on the topic of preparing yourself for a career in the dance world. What could you be doing now to get yourself ready? I'll tell you!

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or remarks then please leave a comment below or e-mail me at: rhiannon@maine.rr.com.

Rhiannon -