Below, you'll find a list of websites that I've found to be helpful when I need information outside of the dance studio or ice rink. That noted, it's important to remember to talk with your dance instructors and skate coaches about the information you run across online. The Internet provides us with a host of articles and stories, but it can never take the place of a personal coach, instructor, or professional. For example, one of the best ways to improve your skills is to watch professionals working.
I've listed online dance and skate wear sites, but please be sure to check out the selections at your local dance shop and talk to a sales associate who you like and trust. Develop a relationship with them, especially regarding shoes. Hopefully, the sales staff will be familiar with your teacher or coach and work in unison to help you find the best products for your goals. Nothing on the Internet can take the place of a trained professional who is familiar with the products and tools of the trade, as they are proficient in answering your questions and fixing you up with appropriate apparel. Discount sites might work for quick and easy staples, but supporting local shops will enhance your local dance community and economy. Happy shopping!
1. Need help with your classical ballet technique? Try Kathryn Morgan's Technique Tips.
2. Want to type in any ballet move and see it immediately? Try the Ballet Dictionary from American Ballet Theatre.
3. Need even more help with your ballet technique? Check out Ballet in Form or Finis Jhung.
4. How about figure skating technique? Try iCoachSkating.
5. Looking for off-ice training? Here's SK8STRONG.
6. Need to boost your confidence on ice? You'll love Ice Cool Confidence.
7. Interested in discount dancewear? Check out Discount Dance.
8. Interested in discount figure skating wear? Try Discount Skatewear.
9. Looking for information on flexibility? Check out the The Ballet Blog.
10. Need even more help with your flexibility? Here's Easy Flexibility.
Here's a photo of me working with a student on her arabesque line, which is known as a spiral in figure skating.
Her homework involved her practicing her spirals against a wall at home. She's got her journal on the floor with checkmarks in it for each day she practiced. And now she's showing me her hard work.
We're going for the aesthetic of long lines and straight legs with the knees pulled upward. Though my hand is over her knee, I am giving only a gentle reminder to straighten and am avoiding pressure or stress on the knee area.
We're in the process of developing her strength so that she can lengthen her neck and lower her shoulders, pull in her stomach muscles for support, face her shoulders forward, pull up in her standing leg, and wing her foot to complete the line.
Arabesques and spirals require strength in addition to the understanding of technique and placement. The student pictured above has been practicing this body line for nine months. It is especially rewarding to see her transfer all of her hard work in-studio to the ice. This teacher is proud!