On the Bendy Bodies Podcast, Dr. Linda Bluestein and I co-host interviews with a wide variety of experts who work with hypermobility disorders. From doctors to therapists to dance coaches, every guest offers unique insight into the difficulties people with hypermobility face in dance and the athletic arts. Take a listen and be sure to follow us so you never miss an episode!

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How do you prepare a hypermobile student for the rigors of the professional dance world, finding that balance of exploring their gifts while moving cautiously to avoid injury?

 

This week we are joined by Mariaelena Ruiz, director of Cary Ballet Conservatory’s Professional Training Program and recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Teacher Award at the Youth America Grand Prix NYC Finals. She discusses her experiences training high-level dancers who wrestle with their hypermobility.

 

Mariaelena brings her decades as a professional ballerina with a wonky body to her classroom and has a personal understanding of the struggles hypermobile dancers face. She asserts that her injuries also made her both a better dancer and a better teacher, and made her a firm believer in cross-training. She discusses why her teaching is focused on strength and not bendiness, and how she shapes a student’s training over the course of several years.

 

We talk about why slower is better, and how she and her team approach the long-term training of a hypermobile dancer. She shares tips for teachers of hypermobile dancers, gives advice for frustrated bendy dancers, and reveals what she’d like to see support-wise from the dance medicine community.

 

Full of thoughtfulness and packed with advice, Mariaelena’s interview is not one to miss!

Training the Hypermobile Dancer

with Jennifer Milner

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For people working with artistic athletes such as dancers, circus artists, and gymnasts, training the hypermobile body brings its own set of challenges. Shepherding a “wonky body” through healthy training may feel overwhelming and frustrating and, at times, like you’re spinning your wheels.

Dr. Linda Bluestein turns the tables to chat with Bendy Bodies' own Jennifer Milner about what it takes to train a hypermobile dancer or athlete. Jennifer brings her almost twenty years of cross-training dancers across the globe to the conversation, revealing what she’s learned from her dancers and her own dance career navigating injuries with a hypermobile body. She shares what she’s observed in the hypermobile population and how she approaches their training differently than the general population.

Jennifer discusses her goals in working with hypermobile dancers and provides concrete suggestions on how to achieve them. She discloses what she wishes dance teachers and medical professionals knew about hypermobile dancers, and how dancers with hypermobility can add longevity to their careers.

This interview is full of practical suggestions. It's a must listen for dance teachers, strength and conditioning coaches, healthcare professionals, and dancers themselves!

Empowering Flexibility

with Dr. Jen Crane

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Extreme flexibility has permeated social media and influenced every physical art form, from dance to ice skating and of course circus arts. As artistic athletes are asked to explore greater and more unstable end ranges of motion, performers are often left to figure out how to stay healthy for themselves. For those artists and athletes, the question isn’t IF they should work in an end range of motion, but HOW.

Dr. Jen Crane, a physical therapist specializing in circus arts, chats with us on how to do just that. She talks about the difference between productive discomfort and non-productive discomfort, and how to self-assess between the two. She weighs in on the pros and cons of seeking a definitive diagnosis for EDS or other connective tissue disorders, and emphasises the need to be strong in your end range. Jen shares her views on passive versus active stretching, how she increases flexibility with strength drills, and sketches out the changes she’d like to see in circus arts training.

Perfect for all people with hypermobility looking to learn more about strengthening, as well as anyone wanting to pursue increasing their flexibility in a healthy way, this episode is a wealth of information on stretching and strengthening safely.

Dancing with Hypermobility

with Beckanne Sisk

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Hypermobility is often desired in dancers for the long, beautiful lines it affords. But hypermobility adds its own challenges to dancers seeking a long, healthy career on the stage. In this episode, we chat with principal dancer from Ballet West and international guest star Beckanne Sisk about how she manages her hypermobility.

 

Beckanne opens up about learning to rein in her hypermobility, discovering when to hold back and when to lean into it, as well as how her pre-professional teachers helped her learn control.  She talks about how she maintains her strength and flexibility, what her maintenance program looks like, and why she stresses the importance of mentally working correctly while approaching the work thoughtfully. Beckanne speaks frankly about her approach to stretching safely (hint: it’s not about stretching, it’s about strengthening!) and advice she’d like to share with younger hypermobile dancers (hint: stop stretching and start strengthening!) Beckanne explains why she’s grateful for her scoliosis and hypermobility, how they’ve challenged and shaped her as a dancer, and what she wants to share with the next generation of dancers.

 

A must-listen for every dancer struggling with hypermobility, this podcast is one you won't want to miss!

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Nowhere is flexibility and hypermobility more valued and explored than in the circus arts! But while circus artists are highly skilled and extremely strong, working in extreme end ranges of motion comes with its own set of issues and potential injuries.

In this podcast, we chat with Dr. Emily Scherb, a DPT who specializes in circus and performing arts. Emily examines what’s similar (and different) between circus and performing arts, looks at what is “normal” for the circus population, and outlines when to push into your end range and when not to.

We explore the differences in rehabilitating the hypermobile versus the non-hypermobile population, who Emily would like to see on an artist’s dream support team, and why she literally wrote the book on anatomy for aerial artists. Emily explains why she prioritizes education for instructors and performers alike, and how she wants to change the language of technique and instill self-knowledge for the next generation.

Emily believes circus training can be beneficial for all populations, and encourages adults to start recreational classes! As she says, “It’s never too late to come play with the circus!”

Bendy Bodies Podcast Emily Scherb episod

Nowhere is flexibility and hypermobility more valued and explored than in the circus arts! But while circus artists are highly skilled and extremely strong, working in extreme end ranges of motion comes with its own set of issues and potential injuries.

In this podcast, we chat with Dr. Emily Scherb, a DPT who specializes in circus and performing arts. Emily examines what’s similar (and different) between circus and performing arts, looks at what is “normal” for the circus population, and outlines when to push into your end range and when not to.

We explore the differences in rehabilitating the hypermobile versus the non-hypermobile population, who Emily would like to see on an artist’s dream support team, and why she literally wrote the book on anatomy for aerial artists. Emily explains why she prioritizes education for instructors and performers alike, and how she wants to change the language of technique and instill self-knowledge for the next generation.

Emily believes circus training can be beneficial for all populations, and encourages adults to start recreational classes! As she says, “It’s never too late to come play with the circus!”

Bendy Bodies Podcast Emily Scherb episod

Nowhere is flexibility and hypermobility more valued and explored than in the circus arts! But while circus artists are highly skilled and extremely strong, working in extreme end ranges of motion comes with its own set of issues and potential injuries.

In this podcast, we chat with Dr. Emily Scherb, a DPT who specializes in circus and performing arts. Emily examines what’s similar (and different) between circus and performing arts, looks at what is “normal” for the circus population, and outlines when to push into your end range and when not to.

We explore the differences in rehabilitating the hypermobile versus the non-hypermobile population, who Emily would like to see on an artist’s dream support team, and why she literally wrote the book on anatomy for aerial artists. Emily explains why she prioritizes education for instructors and performers alike, and how she wants to change the language of technique and instill self-knowledge for the next generation.

Emily believes circus training can be beneficial for all populations, and encourages adults to start recreational classes! As she says, “It’s never too late to come play with the circus!”

© 2016 by In:Motion Ventures, LLC.