Dance Therapy?

What is it?

Dance Therapy, also known as Movement Therapy or Dance Movement Therapy, is “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being” ( Now, you may be asking: what on earth does any of that mean? To put it simply, Dance Therapy allows one to get in touch with themselves through dance and movement. It is not dancing for a performance or dancing to improve technique. Dance Therapy is a way for one to non-verbally express their innermost feelings in a safe and comfortable way that makes the body feel good.

What can it help?

Some examples of the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical issues Dance Therapy can help include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Childhood obesity
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Post traumatic stress
  • Dementia
  • Communication issues
  • Autism
  • Aggression/violence
  • Domestic violence trauma
  • Social interaction
  • Family conflict


Want to see an example?

Check out my favorite Dance Movement Therapy video! It shows how this modality can be used for children in a hospital setting:

Speaking Through Dance

Famous dancer Martha Graham once said that “dance is the hidden language of the soul.” However, did you know that ballet can quite literally be a language? No! I’m not talking about French. I’m talking about Ballet Mime!


Ballet Mime uses specific movements that are meant to symbolize certain words. It is very reminiscent of sign language! Here is an image that shows some drawn examples of Ballet Mime.5796_sleepingbeauty-3(

To see what Ballet Mime is like performed, check out this video:

Contemporary vs. Lyrical

Check out some of the important bullet points for each style of dance below and you’ll be an expert in no time!




  • Modern + jazz + lyrical + ballet
  • Free and fluid movements
  • Close to the floor
  • Can be done barefoot


( )



  • Ballet + jazz
  • Smooth and fluid movements
  • Expressive of dancer’s emotions
  • Movement often goes with lyrics of music


( )



Still a little lost? Check out this cool video to see the differences in contemporary movements and lyrical movements:


The Basics of Tap Vocabulary

Check out these important tap basics below!


  1. Stamp – put your foot on the ground with weight
  2. Stomp – put your foot on the ground without weight
  3. Hop – jump up and down on one foot
  4. Leap – jump from one foot to the other
  5. Slap – brush the ball of your foot forward and down without weight
  6. Flap – brush the ball of your foot forward and down with weight
  7. Shuffle – brush the ball of your foot forward and back
  8. Scuff – brush the heel of your foot forward
  9. Ball-change – use the balls of your feet to do two marches, often back and then front

Motivational Songs To Work Out To

I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to push harder in a workout than when my favorite singers are serenading me with words of encouragement.


  1. Salute – Little Mix
  2. Roar – Katy Perry
  3. Brave – Sara Bareilles
  4. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
  5. Just Hold On – Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki
  6. Work – Rihanna and Drake
  7. Shape of You – Ed Sheeran
  8. That’s My Girl – Fifth Harmony



Here is the link to my favorite workout and song:

Overstretching . . . And How to Avoid Doing It!

What is overstretching anyways?

Basically, it is just how it sounds. If you overstretch, it means you are pushing too hard in your stretching. Some people are born with natural flexibility, but if you push too far without the muscle and joint support to back you up, you can really hurt yourself.


What happens if I overstretch?

It is very likely that you will damage your body. Overstretching can manifest in sprained muscles, sore joints, damaged sockets, stress fractures, etc. Arthritis is a long term effect of repeated overstretching.


What are signs of overstretching that I can look out for?

Thanks to The Ballet Blog, here is an easy to read list of overstretching signs:

  • Pain in the joint
  • Like the joint needs to ‘crack’
  • A strong ‘line’ of pull (often this is a nerve)
  • Pain in another area (i.e. pulling in the calf when you are trying to stretch your hamstrings – again, this is usually fascial or neural tension)
  • Pain on the opposite side of the joint (i.e.. in the back of the hip during second splits – this will not get better with more pressure)
  • Compression pain (ie. in the front of the hip when pulling the knees to the chest)
  • There should not be pain the next day (no – not even a “good sore”)


How can I stretch safely?

Take it slow! Listen to what your body is telling you. It isn’t a race to see who can do a split first. Just enjoy dancing and take care of your body.

Tap Dancers You Should Know

We love tap dancing here at Shooting Star Dance Center! If you love it too, it’s important that you know about the dancers who paved the way for tap today. Here is a list of some of our favorite tap dancers:



Ann Miller . . . You may know her ability to tap 500 sounds per minute!

The Nicholas Brothers (Fayard and Harold) . . . You may know them from their phenomenal tap dance sequence in the film, Stormy Weather.

Savion Glover . . . You may know him as the choreographer of Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk.

Gene Kelly . . . You may know him from Singin’ in the Rain.

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson . . . You may know him from his famous “stair dancing” talents!

Fred Astaire . . . You may know him from the many MGM musical comedies he starred in.

Ginger Rogers . . . You may know her as the woman who did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels!!

Sandman Sims . . . You may know him for his sandbox dances, if the name didn’t already give it away.

Eleanor Powell . . . You may know her as the “Queen of Tap Dancing!” (Now that’s a title!)



Be sure to share your favorite tap dancers with us, as well!

Helpful Ballet Terms

Is your child trying to show you what they learned in class, but can’t quite remember the names of anything? Don’t you worry! This post will explain some of the steps your child might be trying to show you.


First Position – The back of the dancer’s heels together and toes are turned out. This position resembles a “V.”


Second Position – The dancer’s toes are turned out, but instead of heels touching, legs are shoulder-width apart.


Third Position – This position is best achieved by starting in first position. One heel slides to touch the center of the other foot, with toes turned outward.


Fourth Position – This position is best achieved by starting in third position. Whichever foot is touching the center of the other slides forward so it’s heel is diagonal of the toes of the back foot.


Fifth Position – This position is best achieved by starting in fourth position. Slide whichever foot is in the front in towards the other foot so the heel of the front foot is touching the toes of the back foot.


Barre – A long, wooden bar attached to the wall of a dance studio. Dancers hold onto it while performing a warm up.


Plie – Bend both knees. A Demi plie is a small bend of the knees where both heels remain on the floor. A Grand plie is a bigger bend of the knees where both heels come off of the ground.


Saute – Jump! (Don’t forget to make sure the dancer’s toes are pointed.)


Inspiration from:

How to be ready for dance class to start

  1. Get dressed- Our dress code not only provides a clean, uniform look to the class (which eliminates distractions with younger dancers) but also helps the dancers and teachers easily see alignment, and gives the body the ease of movement needed to fully participate in class.
  2. Pack your dance accessories- Such as a sweater, leg warmers, knee pads, and your shoes.
  3. Pack a water bottle- Refillable ones are convenient and environmentally friendly.
  4. Eat- We don’t want you dancing on an empty stomach. Be sure to eat something small and healthy before class. Bring a snack with you if you know you’ll need an energy boost while changing shoes.
  5. Do your hair- Any hairstyle is fine, so long as your hair is out of your face.
  6. Warm up your muscles – Walk, jog, plie, jumping jacks anything goes just get moving!  This will prepare your body for any dance class here at Shooting Star Dance Center.

Dance Movies for a Family Movie Night

Want a fun night in with the family?  Check out our top picks for family dance movies!

  1. An American in Paris
  2. Singing in the Rain
  3. Hairspray
  4. Happy Feet
  5. Mary Poppins

What are some of your favorite dance movies for the family?