The most fascinating thing to me about dancers is more than their coordination, grace, and balance, but their flexibility. It is a physical attribute that dancers have to work on in addition to physical exercise. Flexibility is about more than just the muscle, but also joints, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue. Babies are extremely flexible because they have more cartilage where adults have calcified bone. Some factors will limit flexibility such as age, bone structure, fatty tissue, and injury. Ligaments and tendons do not stretch, they tear and cause injury which leads to a shorter range of motion. Avoiding injury is very important to a dancer because it will set back their training while their body heals. As with any physical training, if flexibility is not maintained it will be lost.
Kinesiology is the the scientific study of human movement. This is an important topic for scientific fields including healthcare and biomedical research and development. Kinesiology incorporates the physiological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms of movement. Understanding how it all works not only helps us to develop within sports and exercise, but for rehabilitation as well. Adaptive plasticity is a principle in kinesiology that describes how practice will improve performance. Physical activity effects the brain and damage to the brain, such as following a stroke, can have a negative effect. Flexibility and strength are more complex than just muscle, the brain and nerves are key contributors.
Regardless of the tools an artist uses, the most important factor to being successful is to practice. Dancers need to be flexible, but they also need balance, timing, coordination, and strength. The choreography is just as important as the dancer’s skill. Just as a music piece must be composed, dance also needs to be written to arrange the movement, steps, and patterns of the dancers. Dance and competition have been emphasized by television networks with shows such as Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and Breaking Pointe to name a few. I prefer to watch performance arts live in theater because that is the most impressive place to witness this beautiful art form.
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