Hey there dancers and welcome back to From the Top! Today we are talking about a dance favorite: leaps! As you all know, leaps are a dance staple in most dance genres and just like their counterpart, turns, there is more to conquering a leap than meets the eye. That’s why today we are sharing with you our top 4 tips to keep in mind to help you conquer leaps of every kind! So, if you’re not necessarily a “leaper” but want to take the first steps toward becoming one, keep reading!
“Increasing Leg & Hip Flexibility”
A widely known fact is that leaps require both leg and hip flexibility i.e. flexibility in your hamstrings, quads and working to open your hip flexors more. Since these are the areas that work the most in a leap, by increasing flexibility in this part of your body, you will be able to better achieve those nice even saut de chat, strong jetes or those wide leaps in second. Below are some stretches that are perfect to achieve your goal for bigger and better leaps! Do these once a day for amazing results!
• Straddle Stretch
• Toe Touch (standing and sitting)
• Splits (right and left)
• Knee-to-chest stretch (feel free to fully extend the leg for a deeper stretch)
• Butterfly Stretch
These stretches and many more are also included in our January 2019 “New Year, New Goals” Stretch Calendar! So, if you’re looking for more awesome stretches to help better your leaps, check it out by clicking the link below!
“Increasing Lower Body Strength”
Though flexibility is a known factor for achieving better leaps, lower body strength also plays a huge part. This is an element in leaps that is so often overlooked. It is leg strength that gets you off the ground and into the air at a good height. This combined with a nice plie during the prep for your leap is what gives the results everyone strives for, but we’ll get into that more in juuuust a sec. Below are a few exercises to help increase lower body strength!
• Walking Lunges
• Side Leg Lifts
• Running or Jogging (perfect source of cardio but also an amazing way to build up your thigh and calf strength!)
• Sumo Squats
“Begin and End with A Deep Plie”
One of the most important tips to remember when doing a leap of any kind is to prep for the leap with a nice, deep plie. Plies are to leaps as spotting is to turns. Just like spotting gives you more momentum to get around in a turn, a deep plie aids in giving you momentum to really get off the ground, into the air and the higher you are in the air, the more time you have to achieve a full leap. As you’re coming down from your leap, the same deep plie that you began with, is the same deep plie that you end with. Ending your leap by landing in plie does the important job of protecting your knees from the impact of the jump, which is very important for preventing injuries of any kind.
“Tighten Your Core and Lift Up”
Finally, our last tip is to remember to tighten your core and lift yourself out of your hips. This most importantly helps distribute your weight evenly, which in return will help you really soar through the air and get you from one place to another, as leaps are often used as traveling moves. Tightening your core and lifting yourself up will also keep you from landing loudly when coming out of your leap. The term I heard most growing up was to “never sound like a herd of elephants” when you land, so make sure you land nice and fairly light coming out of that beautiful leap of yours!
As always, I hope you enjoyed this post and I also hope one of these tips help you as you go along your journey of improving your leaps! If you’re also looking for ways to improve your turns as well, we have the perfect post that! Check out “A Turn For The Better: Tips For Achieving Better and Cleaner Pirouettes” for great tips to help you achieve turns that are nice and clean! The link is listed below! Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll see you in the next post!
“A Turn For The Better: Tips For Achieving Better and Cleaner Pirouettes”