Donna Krasnow
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The importance of body conditioning for dance, athletics, and daily life is becoming increasingly more recognized and valued, by teachers, artistic directors, coaches, and medical practitioners. Muscular strength and endurance, as well as flexibility can improve performance, aid in injury prevention, and enhance aesthetic beauty. However, for these changes in the body’s physique to be beneficial, it is crucial that the brain learns how to “speak” to the muscles so that they are organized in more efficient ways. This is called neuromuscular repatterning, or motor recruitment. When we dance, or move about in daily life, it is rare that single muscles achieve a task; rather, it is the complex organization of multiple muscle groups that must be achieved. We refer to this as “body integration,” and it is the job of the brain to establish patterns of muscle use that involve core support, balanced muscle function, and the right amounts of muscle tension to optimize the movement without undue stress.

The goal of the beginning video is to introduce the process of doing conditioning exercises for muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, while incorporating imagery and visualization techniques. These images can assist in forming neuromuscular patterns in the brain so that they are resources during movement, and can recruit the correct muscles in patterns that allow for good alignment and efficient muscle use, with as little wear and tear on the joints as possible. It begins with a short introductory talk explaining some of the primary images in the system, followed by a 40-minute session. The viewer can easily follow along, guided by the teacher’s voice and visual demonstrations by the dancers. Children as young as 10 years old, or adults with little previous exercise experience can do this beginning level video.

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