Many athletes use jumps and leaps in their athletic performances, but dancers are among the various athletes that make it look graceful. Grace is earned in the early practices of the morning, until the late hours of the afternoon. Dancers are constantly striving to achieve the “look” of effortlessness, however, it can only be taught through countless hours of practice. Here are some pointers for increasing the height of your jumps and leaps.
In today’s technological age, dancers can benefit greatly from things such as slow-motion video. Before you start working on increasing the height of your jumps, take time to videotape yourself. When going over the video, focus on your take off, and the position of your torso. Once reviewing the video, determine the part of the leap you would like to focus your energy on.
While it may seem odd, positive imagery and positive self-talk do wonders for performance. Find a relaxing place, and close your eyes. Invision yourself leaping through the air. Concentrate on your take-off, arm and leg position, and even the landing.
Whole Body Experience
It is important to recognize that jumps, and leaps require more than just leg strength. While leaping, focus on where your eye-contact is. Instead of looking straight-forward, slightly angle your head and focus upward. Also, be conscious of your arm position.
Ask yourself this:
- Are your arms straight?
- Are your shoulders relaxed and pulled down?
- Is your torso upright?
- Are your toes pointed?
Back To The Barre
Your posture and plié are two key concepts to consider while increasing the height of your jumps. This can best be accomplished inside the walls of a ballet class. By correcting your posture (lifting) and deepening your plié, your jumps will increase in height due to potential energy.
Insider tip: When working on petit allegro jumps, use the barre to support your weight. This will provide more air time to focus on mastering the footwork.
Stretch & Strengthen
Stretching and strengthening are required for beautiful leaps. Working on your splits, practicing dynamic stretching, and doing static stretching, will all help in benefiting your flexibility.
To increase strength: Add repetitions of tuck jumps, high skips, and high knees into your morning warm ups. Also, consider incorporating plyometrics into your workouts.