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Balancing Dance and Your Busy Holiday Schedule


Balancing Dance and Your Busy Schedule

Upside Down Uptown Dance by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0/modified with text

For dancers, this month means holiday performances and rehearsals, the start of dance team competition season, maybe even learning the beginning of recital dances. For students, it means finals; for parents, it means holiday preparations in addition to work and family. Combine any or all of this together, and that to-do list could easily make you feel more frazzled than festive.

Read on for some ideas to keep your holidays merry and bright, packed schedule and all.

Protect your precious time.

In a tech-laden world, unnecessary time-suckers are plentiful. Use that break in between rehearsals to study for finals or order gifts online without diversion. Apps like SelfControl give users the ability to block distracting websites (social media, I’m looking at you) for as long as the user wants. Websites such as also serve a similar purpose.


Keep a calendar.

Include rehearsals, performance dates and all other events for the month. If you have older dancers and children, it’s particularly important for everyone to communicate their schedules so everyone is on the same page. For the on-the-go family, a shared online calendar, like Google Calendar, can be great – everyone in your family can see changes made to the schedule or add their own events, right from their computer or smartphone. You will all be calmer if you know where to be when and where you can expect to have free time to plan other activities.


Block out time for a breather.

You’ll go crazy as quickly as you can say “Nutcracker Suite” if you don’t include downtime for yourself in that schedule. Knowing you have fun and relaxation in your future is a fantastic motivator, and giving yourself that time puts the season in perspective.


Be realistic.

Check your expectations. No need to become superman/woman for the month of December! If trying to squeeze in homemade cookie baking makes you feel more humbug than happy, just buy some at your local bakery (I promise, the kids at the studio will love them either way).


Ask for help.

Enlist the kids to put bows on gifts you’re wrapping; tag-team with your spouse or neighbor for studio pick up duties. The holidays are about being together; it becomes work when you feel like you’re doing everything alone.


Plan to care of yourself.

It is essential for dancers to care for their bodies properly, and this busy season is no exception. Preplan (again, this is where the calendar steps in) in case you need to pack some healthy snacks for an extra long rehearsal or an on-the-go dinner for your little dancer. As difficult as it can be, also prioritize sleep – for yourself as well as everyone in your family. There’s nothing like fatigue and hunger to send happiness straight up the chimney.

Overall, it’s all about balance. As a dance parent for fifteen years, my mom, Paula Semko, became an expert at it. She summed up her approach to the season nicely:

“I think the most important thing is to savor it and know this won’t last forever…don’t get overwhelmed by the stress. Live each moment knowing your child is happy doing something that they love.”

And if the dancer happens to be you, remember that you are doing something that you love – and that will make that busy schedule worth it all through the new year.

What tools and tricks do you use to keep your holidays more happy and less hectic?

Your Blueprint for Better Balancing

IMAGE A toddler balances on one foot in her creative dance class. IMAGE

Photo courtesy Ben Spark

“Balance is, simply put, the ability to stay stable and not fall as we move within and beyond our base of support (normally our feet in everyday navigation).” [link]

When we think of balance, especially in dance, our mind goes to moments when balancing is a challenge – perhaps standing en relevé or maintaining a pose on one leg.

But our everyday movements, like walking, require this ability to balance as well. We are making constant adjustments, using our senses and our muscles, as we stand, shift, change, and move our bodies through space. This is balancing, something we’ve been gradually learning to master since we were babies.

Because it’s relevé, arabesque, or the tilt you teacher put in your contemporary dance that may be giving you trouble, I’m going to give some tips and thoughts to improve your overall balancing of poses. But just like when you were little, learning to balance is very much about trial and error. Each time you explore, challenge yourself, try and fail, and try again, your body is learning how to better balance itself.

Constructing a Balance


When building a vertical tower of blocks, the tower is most stable when each block is stacked directly on top of the one below it. This is true when balancing your body in a vertical position as well. In dance, this stacking of the body may be referred to as, or considered part of the concept of alignment.

IMAGE A picture of the skeleton from the side with major bone structures labeled. IMAGEThe ankles are stacked directly over your base of support, the knees over the ankles, the hips and pelvis over the knees, rib cage over the hips, the shoulders over the rib cage, the head and neck topping off the tower.

When something is out of place, it is still possible to maintain a pose but it may not be as stable or healthy for the bones and muscles that must work to support the position. When one thing is out of place, something else must counterbalance the misaligned body part.

A common example is allowing the rib cage to “open” or jut forward when standing en relevé. With your rib cage displaced in this way, you will likely need to shift the shoulders back, or tilt the pelvis (creating a swayed back), or both in order to balance.

I won’t go into all the possible or common alignment corrections right now – each body part could have its own post. Your teacher is in the best position to help you individually.

Having a good working knowledge of how the body should be aligned is a gigantic part of maintaining a solid vertical balance.


Strength and stability (or lack of these) in supporting muscles and joints can also affect your ability to balance. In relevé you may notice that your ‘ankles’ (actually it is the tarsus joint) are wobbly. The tendency is for dancers to supinate or roll toward their smallest toe (also called sickling) when in relevé. The body will try to correct and overcorrect looking for a stable alignment over the second or third toe. Someone with superior balancing ability makes these adjustments but they are much smaller, maybe even imperceptible. With weak or tired supporting muscles you will have larger adjustments to make and will wobble over your base of support.

Strengthening the muscles that allow for this side-to-side movement of the foot (supination and pronation) will give you more stability. There are many exercises that help with strength and control in this area but the most straightforward is practicing sets of relevé, first in a slow, smooth manner so that you can detect any of this sideways motion as you rise. The goal would be to rise each time with your weight directly over the second and third toe without supinating or pronating on the way up or down. Doing this under the watch of a trained eye (your teacher) will serve you best.

The muscles of the foot, ankle and lower leg are not the only muscles which support proper alignment of the body. In maintaining balance, an engaged and strong core (or center) – muscles of the torso (abdominals and back)- also play a key role in good balance. As in our earlier example, these muscles help to keep the shoulders over the ribs and hips, the rib cage in alignment over the hips, and the pelvis aligned. They also keep the torso from ‘sinking’ into the hips and legs.

Strengthening and learning to stabilize the core can be approached different ways. Your teacher is a great resource. You may Pilates or other exercises focused on the core but my best tip is to become a mindful dancer while you are in class – work to maintain proper alignment at all times, listen and apply corrections and you will gradually build awareness and strength that will help you with balancing (and lots of other things too).

Growing a Balance

We’ve talked about the structure of a balance and constructing a balance from ground up but. though you are maintaining a pose, there is constant motion involved (even when you reach the point of “stillness”). Also it may be easy to think of classical poses as a tall tower, but what about more contemporary, off-center, balances?

This is where I find the concept of growing a balance helpful.

IMAGE A ballet dancer in leotard and tights poses in arabesque inside a dance studio. IMAGE

Preparing for and getting into the balance is as important what happens once you are there. Whatever your preparation is – a plie, a shift of weight, a first position – maintain correct alignment with a strong connection or relationship to the floor. In these moments you are creating quality soil for planting your pose.

From this preparation, you’ll find it more natural to then grow from the ground up. In a simple relevé, for example, you’ll begin in a good first position with weight evenly distributed in the feet. The rise begins with your push from the floor and grows through your ankles, legs, pelvis, torso, neck and head but, it doesn’t stop there. You continue lengthening and growing as your roots go deeper.

The idea is the same whether your pose is a classical arabesque, a contemporary tilt, or a handstand. They all grow from the soil and branch upward and outward.

Opposing Energy

Your ability to balance can be greatly affected by how and what you think or imagine.

When balancing, you might be thinking really hard about holding yourself UP but actually DOWN is a pretty useful direction. As you rise to relevé or move into the position of your intended balance, think of pushing the floor away from you. Imagine roots embedding themselves deep into the ground while your branches (head, neck, and limbs) grow up or outward.

Eye Think Not

Sometimes dancers have the tendency to look down, even when they balance. I tell my students, “Keep your eyes on the floor and that’s where you’re likely to end up.” If you are a beginner, it may help to remember to keep your eyes lifted and focus outward. Imagine that you have x-ray vision and can look beyond the walls of your studio.

This outward focus can be a big help but remember that you can’t rely totally on vision for your balance. Dancers sometimes depend on it way too much. If you practice balancing only with a mirror in a well-lit room, you’ll find that balancing is much different and probably more difficult on stage.

Dealing with a changing center of balance

If you are a growing teen, you may suddenly find you are struggling with balances that were once easy. Sudden growth spurts can create a drastic change in your center of balance and also affect your ability to lift or extend longer limbs. I once had a 12-year-old dancer who had gotten really strong over the course of a year – her balances were stable, she was able to extend and hold her leg above 90 degrees, her movements were coordinated. Over summer break, she grew three or four inches and came back to class with longer everything – legs, torso, arms – and in many ways, it felt and looked like she was starting from scratch. If this is you, don’t get discouraged, keep working, practicing, and experimenting and you’ll soon learn to control your new body.
IMAGE A Jenga tower miraculously leans and balances on a single, uncentered, block. IMAGE

Balance Challenge

Once you can maintain a pose for a length of time try adding a new layer of difficulty:

  • Move your head while balancing (left, right, tilt, up or down)
  • Dim or have someone flicker the lights
  • Close your eyes
  • Balance on a soft or uneven surface like a pillow or tumbling mat

You can also improve your balance by exploring, moving into and through different kinds of balances:

  • Stand on one leg and slowly move your torso, head, and arms in any or all directions – try symmetrical movements first, and then asymmetrical. Test and challenge your balance. Can you pick up the pace?
  • Move and improvise to a piece of music. Don’t think of choreography but imagine that you are trying to touch every molecule around you with every part of your body and explore every inch of the room. Have a friend randomly pause the music (or you might use this Freeze Dance iPhone App if you’re alone). When the music stops, challenge yourself to freeze and balance in whatever position you’re in.
  • Try the first exercise again but don’t just balance on your feet. Try “gluing” one or two body parts to the floor instead: a hand and a foot, your bottom, your knee, your shoulder and head. Experiment with moving and finding moments of balance this way.

For more:

Anaheim Ballet has produced a video on Balancing like a Ballerina which has some fun visuals. I especially like their one finger balancing tip (talk about mind over matter!). I learned of the video through The Dance Buzz, who I discovered also did a post on balancing recently. You can check out the video and Cait’s tips at The Dance Buzz. (BalletScoop has also featured the video along with some pirouette tips)

Got a great balancing tip or pointer? Add it in the comments!

A note to dance instructors: I recommend the article Understanding Balance found in the IADMS Bulletin for Teachers (Volume 2, Number 1) which suggests that exploration is the best tool for “teaching balance” to students. The article implies that our vocal cues like “Lift your kneecaps” or “Rotate the hip” during balance practice actually work against our dancers, interfering with their “automatic balance mechanisms.” Instead, researchers recommend that teachers provide plenty of trial and error opportunities for dancers to creatively problem solve within their own bodies. What they learn through these experiences and explorations will serve them as they practice in class. Incorporating creative improvisation exercises like the few listed above, as well as the balance challenges into your classes are excellent learning experiences for your dancers.

Also listen to the Annaleise Burns (of ABC for Dance) podcast with Deborah Vogel in which they discuss the differences for balancing on stage vs. in the studio and ways teachers can train students for balancing in all situations. Here is the link.

Start-Up Stories: The Multi-Disciplinary Arts Program

Have you ever thought about beginning a multi-disciplinary arts program?

I get excited when I see programs like this offered because I’m a product of one. During the summer months my childhood dance school provided week-long arts workshops instead of the usual dance camps or summer intensives. The focus was always on two well-known artists – one a visual artist and the other a choreographer. The day was split into sessions led by artists in our community in which we focused on writing, drama, dance, and art. We discovered connections in their work as we ‘tried on’ the styles of the famous artists and learned to express ourselves through a variety of mediums. It was an enriching and creative experience that, at the time, provided plenty of summer fun but that I value (and sometimes miss) even more as an adult.

Former Dance Advantage contributor, Roger Lee, is starting his own multi-disciplinary arts program. Roger Lee Arts Academy will operate out of Studio 1831 in the heart of Philadelphia, within walking distance of Community College of Philadelphia, Masterman Middle and High School, Friends Select School, Center City, and more. We talked with him to find out more about this new venture, how he’s marketing it, and how he’s balancing it with the direction of his dance company.

Roger Lee Arts Academy

Dance Advantage: Your Summer Camp schedule includes Writing, Drawing, Acting, and Dance and your After-School program is similarly diverse. Why not just focus on dance?

Roger Lee: I have always been interested in the arts as a whole. Very few people know this, but I actually started out as a visual artist. My parents put me in drawing and painting classes from the age of 5 to 15. I did not begin dancing until I was 13 years old. During this time period I also took music lessons (alto recorder) and acting classes. I eventually decided to focus my education and career on dance. However, I never lost my love for other art forms. I always had a vision of creating a multi-disciplinary arts training center for youth. I wanted to create an environment where students are inspired to pursue more than one artistic discipline, not discouraged.

DA: Tell me about your core student base. Who are you reaching? Who do you want to reach?

RL: I have the pleasure of teaching a variety of youth from Philadelphia, PA. Since this is our first year of operation, our student base is still growing. At the moment, we have a beautifully diverse group of youth from all sections of Philadelphia, PA. We also are blessed to have an awesome balance of boys and girls. I hope to continue building a racially diverse group of students that represent all areas of Philadelphia (North, Northeast, South, Southwest, and West). While the students vary in their artistic training and experiences, they all have one thing in common: raw talent. I am blessed to have students with so much potential, passion, and excitement for the arts.

DA: What are the ways you’ve gotten the word out about your program? Which have so far proven the most successful?

RL: I have used a lot of methods to spread the word about the new Roger Lee Arts Academy. I have reached out to business owners, local schools, social and the traditional media. Each avenue has been fruitful in its own right. However, the support of local businesses has been outstanding. They have helped me to establish a scholarship fund for children to attend Roger Lee Arts Academy summer camp and/or after-school program! I want to give a very special thank you to our current sponsors Costume Gallery, BearBear Productions, oVertone, Chatting With Champions, and MiNudes. If businesses, organizations, or individuals are interested in sponsoring the Academy, they can visit for more information.


DA: You are balancing the opening of the academy with the direction of a relatively new dance company as well. How do you stay organized and energized as you pursue both projects?

RL: The two things that have kept me organized and energized in running Roger Lee Arts Academy and Roger Lee Dance Company simultaneously are my faith in God: praying and seeking God’s guidance and plan for my life has really kept me moving towards the mark each day (both sunny and rainy days alike!), and the thought of the people that I am servicing. For the academy, the thought of children from Philadelphia keeps me working. For the dance company, the thought of my dancers and the audience members that we touch with our gifts keeps me working.

DA: Tell me a little about what makes Philadelphia’s dance and arts scene unique.

RL: Philadelphia’s dance and arts scenes are unique because of their history. Our city has discovered many artistic giants such as Joan Myers Brown (dance), Will Smith (acting), Jazmin Sullivan (singing), Boyz II Men (singing), Bianca Ryan (singing), Isaiah Zagar (visual art), Gamble and Huff (Philadelphia Sound of Music), and so many more! We also have some of the most recognized high schools, colleges, and universities catering to visual and performing arts. Lastly, we have an undeniable urban style mixed with classical technique and crowd-roaring stage presence. Philadelphia is truly an artistic gem that is often underrated.


If you’d like to sponsor a student (or an event) at Roger Lee Arts Academy, again that address is


Do you operate a multi-discipline arts program in your city or at your dance studio? Tell us about it in the comments.

If not, what are your concerns or questions about starting such an arts program?

We want to know if we can help or connect you!

Why Dancers Practice Yoga

NYC professional dancer and choreographer Erin Cella needed a “palate cleanser”. Erin found, that after hours, days, and years of training, rehearsing, and performing in a variety of genres and performances, “yoga provided me with a sense of evenness.”

Similarly, Ashleigh Penrod, a professional dancer and choreographer in Minneapolis, MN, turned to yoga to help ground her dancing and deepen her somatic understanding as a dance performer and educator. Through her yoga training, Ashleigh reflects that she better understood “mood management, reactivity (rather, non-reactivity) and how to better tune into my own systems,” – essential tools for dancers who are constantly on the go.

Erin and Ashleigh are both certified yoga instructors. We became connected through movement during our time together in Temple University’s MFA program in Dance. Erin and Ashleigh have graciously shared their yoga experiences with me for this series on cross-training for dancers.

What is Yoga?

Yoga, in its most traditional sense, is a branch of Hinduism. The asanas, or postures that are popular as a Western form of exercise, are just one of the many limbs of Yoga. Elements of meditation and breath awareness are also part of the Yoga practice, in the traditional and Western experiences.

Yoga and the Dancer’s Body

Ashleigh suggests that yoga, as it has been integrated into Western culture, is a wonderful cross-training method for dancers because we often have imbalances in our bodies due to performance-specific training.

Eagle arms yoga pose

“People tend to fall somewhere between a spectrum of stability and mobility. The incredibly stable people tend to have strong, tight muscles, so while their joints may be protected from injury, they can experience quite a bit of pain – their tight muscles restrict range of motion and put pressure on the skeleton. On the other end of the spectrum are the “Gumby” people – they have the flexibility to bend, twist and contort their bodies, but they’re extra injury-prone, because they don’t have the muscle tone to support their motion. Yoga postures can bring everyone towards the center of this spectrum – encouraging the strong people to become more mobile and the flexible people to support themselves.”

Our bodies and the way we train them are unique and personal. Ashleigh recommends dancers take time to get to know how their bodies respond to yoga before jumping into an advanced practice. Beginner asanas and elements of yoga practice are also powerful tools for aligning and strengthening the advanced dancer.

Erin and Ashleigh have both found that yoga has helped them “untrain” some bad dance habits. Although not a substitute for regular dance classes to prepare for rehearsals and performance, having a regular yoga practice is a method dancers can use for cross-training.

“Yoga provides me with a movement practice without strings attached, which has proven to be essential as a professional performer,” says Erin. “I can practice movement linked with breath and presence, but without the added layer of a choreographer, peer, and/or audience watching.”

Training the body and the mind

Dance is a holistic experience – engaging the body, the mind, and the spirit. Erin observes that yoga is a complement to dance in this way as a cross-training method for not only the body, but for the dancer’s mental and emotional sides. “Because of yoga’s effect on my mind and overall feeling-state (it’s given me confidence and contentment with my dancing body), it’s transformed into a method of finding presence while moving, as opposed to just a training routine.”

Dancers also need physical and mental rest. The attention to mindfulness in the yoga practice can assist in achieving this. Erin practices yoga everyday, but does not necessarily engage in the physical postures. “Breathing and mindfulness are a HUGE part of the yoga practice, and I take time every day to simply notice presence in myself…. Over time (and in the present time) this insight has helped me to create a pre-performance movement practice for myself, which has led to more grounding.”

Read “5 Reasons Dancers Should Study Yoga” to further understand the benefits of yoga for dancers.

What do I need to practice yoga?

You only need your body! Props such as blocks and resistance bands, could aid the practice and be helpful in properly aligning the body within the postures. Additionally, some people use sticky mats, socks, and gloves to prevent slipping during the practice. There are many studios, personal instructors, videos, and online resources for finding the right yoga practice for you.

Dancers of any age can experience the benefits of yoga. Like any cross-training practice, Ashleigh recommends exploring some of the different types of yoga to see what works best for you. Two of the more popular practices are Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga. Ashleigh notes, “I think dancers connect with Vinyasa yoga in particular because of the specific attention paid to the movements flowing into and out of each posture, in addition to the postures themselves. The meaning of “Vinyasa” is “to place in a special way,” and that’s always resonated with me. It reminds me to notice connections and to be specific, not just with my breath and big movements but with each finger, toe, eye, – every part of the body.”

Special Moments

Ashleigh has had many special moments during her years of partnering dance with her yoga practice, and shares this particular moment: “I’m fairly long and gangly, and I find inversions to be particularly challenging. We were asked to move into headstand (in class). I inverted, floated my legs up, and tentatively held them angled forward case I started to topple backwards. The teacher stood next to me and cued to press down and up at the same time in order to shift my legs over my torso and align my body. I remember a very pleasing sensation of feeling stacked – like I was just as stable upside down as right side up. The reassurance that the teacher was near me but not physically assisting me gave me the confidence to move into the posture as it was meant to be experienced – rooted and elevated at the same time.”

Erin reflects that one particularly striking moment for her occurred during yoga practice when, “I realized I was balancing because I was focusing on my exhale, not because I was trying to lock myself into a position.” She continues…


Has yoga helped your dance practice? Tell us how in the comments!

How Yoga Can Help You Become a Better Dancer


Woman practicing yoga on beach

Yoga at Sunset” by Dennis Yang. Licensed under CC by 2.0

All dancers are ultimately on the same quest: to become better, stronger dancers. But in order to reach beyond their limits, many dancers find they need additional training methods besides dance, and yoga is a popular choice.

But why?


Why is yoga one tool no dancer’s survival kit should be without?

Increased body awareness

While all dance classes focus on position and alignment, yoga classes take this one step further. The slower pace of a yoga class naturally allows for greater precision. For example, instead of just putting your feet into a parallel position, you have time to check that the outside edges of your feet line up the with the outside edges of your mat, your weight is equally distributed to all four corners of your feet, your toes are spread wide and your pinky toes are anchored firmly into the floor.

By taking the time to fine tune the details of proper alignment (including your pinky toes) you learn to build each pose from the ground up to create a strong foundation, and to stack the joints for greater stability and power. In this way, every movement is conscious and deliberate, a moving meditation. Moving slowly and deliberately allows more opportunity to notice and correct habits that might create issues over time, such as rolling in or out on your ankles as you balance.

Increased strength and flexibility

Many of the standing poses in yoga develop the same muscles that are used for developpés, battements, and jumps, while other poses build strength in areas that are often overlooked. The upper body strength developed from downward dog and handstands is useful during promenades and lifts with a partner. Balancing poses have direct application in center floor (particularly during adagio) and backbends and back strengthening poses such as the locust pose help develop a killer arabesque.

Even though dancers are flexible, most of us have certain tight areas. Poses that focus on these areas will help you unlock greater range of movement and since yoga stretches are generally held for longer periods, you get greater results and make the body less prone to injury.

Linking breath to movement

One of the most valuable tools you will learn in yoga is breath control. Many dancers haven’t been taught to use the breath to help power certain actions. Even worse, we sometimes forget to breathe at all. Most yoga classes begin with tuning into the breath, focusing on lengthening the inhale and exhale, and working from there to maintain a slow, steady breath through the rest of class. Inhales are used for expanding movements, such as arching your back or lifting a leg, exhales are naturally suited for contracting actions such as stepping into a lunge or bending into a forward fold. Learning to link breath to movement helps you harness the energy of breath and use it to your advantage, which is especially helpful during challenging combinations like big jumps or long adagio sequences where you need extra power.

Focused breathing has a few other benefits: it helps to keep your mind from wandering, and serves as a way to measure when you have gone too far past your limits. If it’s too challenging to stay for at least three breaths in a pose then that’s a clear indication you are pushing too hard. Developing this awareness is a way to learn to tune into your body’s pain responses so you can avoid injuries.

Health benefits

Aside from the more obvious physical perks, yoga also works on a subtle level that isn’t immediately apparent. Spinal twists, for instance, not only keep the spine pliable, they also put gentle pressure on the internal organs, which has a detoxifying effect on the body. Inversions such as handstands and headstands reverse the blood flow, redistribute blood throughout the body, and improve circulation. This helps the mind feel clearer and calmer and may also ensure a healthier heart and lungs. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores.

Peace of mind

An important component of yoga is taking a break from the chaotic pace of today’s busy world through focusing on the present. Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the here and now; this breath, this pose, this moment. This shifts the balance from your sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight part of the brain) to the parasympathetic nervous system (the calming and restorative part of the brain). It also lowers the heart rate and decreases blood pressure.

Yoga practice has also been shown to improve depression and increase serotonin levels. Yoga and meditation build awareness, and the more aware you are, the easier it is to break free of destructive emotions like anger and stress and add a little more calm wisdom to your thinking. Yoga poses were originally designed to prepare the body to be able to sit in meditation and many people who practice yoga find they carry the meditative quality of yoga with them throughout the rest of their activities. Some decide to add regular meditation to maintain and grow these peaceful feelings.

Become your best self

Clearly, the benefits of yoga go beyond the physical; yoga is also a way to soothe the spirit and find peace of mind.

Whether you are looking to build strength, improve flexibility and balance, or just recalibrate your brainwaves to a more relaxed state, yoga has a lot to offer dancers. By learning to align your body, mind and spirit on the mat you will bring your best self to your dance.

How does yoga help YOU?


Grier Cooper

Grier Cooper. Photo courtesy Julie Pavlowski Green.

Grier Cooper has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

She blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of Build a Ballerina Body and the new ballet-based young adult novel, WISH. Grier can be reached through her website at