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Functional Assessment

In order to effectively work on any individual’s flexibility, we must acknowledge each of the structures that may restrict mobility and to what proportion they are contributing to an individual’s stiffness in any one area. Carefully assessing range of motion in different areas, with awareness of what sensation is experienced and where, can allow for the most optimal mobilisation techniques to be chosen for their program. The specificity of this style of training results in much faster improvements and fabulous compliance with the program as they start to see the results. This is especially true for students who have almost given up on improving their mobility due to the lack of results they have seen with regular stretching.

Within any group of dancers going into the same movement, the structure limiting their range will vary greatly. Some will be limited by neural tension, some by deep fascial tension from an old injury, some by bony or joint restrictions, and some by the muscle tension due to overwork, or even by the subconscious fear of moving into a range they have never been to before. Many dancers will also notice variability in their flexibility day to day or in relation to the time of day and the preceding activities. Teaching students what each possible sensation means and how to deal with it respectfully will help all students become more empowered in choosing the best way of working on their mobility at any particular moment.

Demi Plié and Grand Plié

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Rises in First Position

A simple Roll Down can give so much information about a dancer’s skeletal, fascial and neural mobility, as well as the status of the muscles in their neck, back, hips and legs. Watch the mobility of the spine carefully during the Roll Down, noting for any parts that move together rather than articulating segmentally. Also note whether the spine shudders at any stage, indicating weak segmental stabilisers. Ask the dancer to indicate where they are feeling any tension throughout the movement, as well as in their end range. 

Single Knee Bends

A simple Roll Down can give so much information about a dancer’s skeletal, fascial and neural mobility, as well as the status of the muscles in their neck, back, hips and legs. Watch the mobility of the spine carefully during the Roll Down, noting for any parts that move together rather than articulating segmentally. Also note whether the spine shudders at any stage, indicating weak segmental stabilisers. Ask the dancer to indicate where they are feeling any tension throughout the movement, as well as in their end range. 

Retiré

A simple Roll Down can give so much information about a dancer’s skeletal, fascial and neural mobility, as well as the status of the muscles in their neck, back, hips and legs. Watch the mobility of the spine carefully during the Roll Down, noting for any parts that move together rather than articulating segmentally. Also note whether the spine shudders at any stage, indicating weak segmental stabilisers. Ask the dancer to indicate where they are feeling any tension throughout the movement, as well as in their end range. 

Relevé Passé

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Tendu en Croix

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Functional Assessment Summary

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