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How to Toughen Up Your Feet to Dance Barefoot

January 12, 2020

Ida Saki's feet are primed for performing thanks to years of training. (Photo by Lucas Chilczuk)

Foot calluses can be unsightly in sandals, but for modern dancers, they're a badge of honor that keep feet from sticking to the floor and protect against blisters and other injuries to the skin. Here's how to build and care for your calluses.

Building Calluses

Calluses develop naturally on the balls of the feet and heels in response to the friction caused by twisting and turning barefoot on dance and stage floors. The best way to build calluses is simply by taking class regularly and avoiding callus-removing pedicure products.

If you take a break from dance, your calluses may disappear, which means that suddenly launching yourself into an intense training schedule could quickly lead to raw feet. Ease into your regimen to give your peds time to toughen up. For instance, if you take a two-hour class, wear foot thongs for the second half. Gradually work up to taking the entire class barefoot.

Callus Upkeep

Dr. Thomas Novella, a NYC-based podiatrist who specializes in the care of dancers' feet, rarely trims calluses and advises dancers not to do so on their own. He learned this lesson the hard way: Once, he filed down a modern dancer's callus too much and it took three weeks to rebuild.

This doesn't mean that you have to ignore calluses completely. The surface of a callus needs to be flexible for relevés and turns. If it's too dry, it can rip. To keep them pliable, soak feet in epsom salts and warm water. KT Niehoff, director of Lingo Dancetheater and codirector of Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, keeps her calluses flexible by applying Vaseline each night and wearing socks to bed.

Sometimes a thick, dry callus can pull uncomfortably on the non-callused skin surrounding it, in which case you can use a pumice stone, but be careful only to soften the callus. If you remove it completely, the fragile skin underneath is likely to blister the next time you dance barefoot.

Healing Splits

Always keep an eye on your feet.  When calluses get too rough and hard around the edges, they can split easily. (A split is a cut or tear that exposes the delicate skin underneath a callus.)

Treat splits immediately to avoid infection—dance and stage floors are not always the cleanest. If the bottom of your foot becomes red, hot, swollen and painful, there's a good chance it's infected. After soaking in epsom salts, apply a disinfectant such as Betadine. Place a Band-Aid across the split (perpendicularly, as if the split is a river and the Band-Aid is a bridge), then wrap your foot in tape or an adhesive bandage such as Elastoplast.  If the wrap causes too much friction with the floor to dance, put moleskin, a smooth flannel padding available at most drugstores, on the outside of the wrap.  You can also dance in foot thongs until it heals.

Change Band-Aids at least once per day. To remove, press your thumb over the center, then pull one end up before the other end, keeping the split closed as you lift off the Band-Aid.

Do's

1. Do soak feet in epsom salts and warm water after dancing.  When calluses become too thick, use a pumice stone to lightly rub off the top layer of skin only.

2. Do keep calluses from tearing

by softening feet with petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) or lanolin-based creams or lotions such as Eucerin.  Lanolin is a fast-absorbing, deeply penetrating grease.

3. Do keep your feet clean, particularly if your callus has a split.  The open area is especially susceptible to infection.

4. Do dance in foot thongs until splits heal.

Don'ts

1. Don't cut or shave down calluses.

2. Don't use acid-based over-the-counter callus or corn medications, because they are more likely to dissolve calluses completely. Don't use products that include salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid.

3. Don't expect to build up calluses quickly. Work up to taking an entire class barefoot.

Article credit: Dance Spirit

15 Black Dancers who Changed American Dance

February, 2020

By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa

For Black History Month, Dance Informa reflects on black dancers who have significantly impacted the art form. In this article, we look at dancers who have already passed away, but left a living legacy.

Please click the link below to read this great article.  

https://www.danceinforma.com/2014/02/05/went-15-black-dancers-changed-american-dance/

Spring has Sprung

March, 2020

Happy Spring everyone! Praying for good health, healing, fortitude, strength, inner peace, hope, faith, resilience and an end to the COVID-19 soon, as we leap into a change of seasons.

Statewide Shelter in Place in Georgia, Schools closed 

April, 2020

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Gov. Kemp orders statewide shelter-in-place, closes schools for rest of school year

Read details at this link: https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/gov-kemp-give-update-state-response-coronavirus-crisis/T2JKSNBA2BGQNOGOTQ7Z75S5BI/

Wash Your Hands the Right Way

May, 2020

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During the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading.  

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.  Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.  Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.  Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations.  If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations.  

  • However, Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

For more information on handwashing, visit CDC’s Handwashing website or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

World Environment Day

June 2020


World Environment Day – June 5, 2020

Climate Change, Conservation, Environment, Global Focus, Health, Wildlife


World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June in over 100 countries.  The theme for World Environment Day 2020 is, 'Time for Nature,' with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development.


All of us are urged to protect our natural surroundings.  The stunning facts? An estimated 7 million people die each year from causes related to air pollution, with a majority occurring in the Asia-Pacific region.  This day also encourages worldwide activism.  That means everything from littering to climate change.  World Environment Day is both a global celebration and a platform for public outreach.


The UN first established World Environment Day in 1972.

Stretch Your Body

July 2020

Did you know that stretching everyday has health benefits for everyone, not just dancers? Stretching will improve blood circulation, posture, balance, flexibility, range of motion, help your body avoid soreness, increase strength, tone the body, and reduce stress.  Here are some tips from the Better Health Channel on how to stretch your body properly: 

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ten-tips/10-tips-for-safe-stretching

Opening Dance Studio Safely

August 2020

Here’s our checklist for opening the dance studio with some essential aspects to keep in mind.

Masks: Everyone must wear a mask or facial covering at all times.  That means teachers, students and parents.  The only exception is babies under 5 years old.  There are a few types of masks, and, while N95 masks and respirators offer excellent protection, they are typically exclusively for health care workers who need them most.  The public should use cloth masks with two to three layers.  You can also add a filter.  Make sure masks cover the entire lower two-thirds of your face, from the bridge of your nose to below your chin.

Hand sanitizer: Everyone coming into and going out of the studio should use hand sanitizer.  Consider reapplying once or twice during class, perhaps at the end of barre work.

Social distancing: We have all heard of staying 6 feet apart, but when you are dancing, you may need to remain 10 feet apart, as exertion causes heavier breathing.  Staying 6 feet apart is acceptable at the ballet barre.

Disinfecting all surfaces:  We clean the floors once or twice a day.  Sanitizing ballet barres, doorknobs and all surfaces dancers and teachers may touch before and after all classes.

For more safety measures and guidelines, please call us at (770) 787-4333.

Welcome to Fall Season

September 2020

This year, fall begins on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, in the United States and everywhere else in the northern hemisphere. 

Get ready for sweater weather, cooler temperatures, extra blankets and shorter days. 


Unfortunately, with the fall season comes sinus infections, which are more common in fall and winter.  The most common causes of sinusitis—allergies, colds and flu—are very prevalent this time of year.  Along with sniffling, sneezing and runny noses, come sinus headaches to those with allergies.  To get ahead of fall allergies, you may want to talk to your doctor.  


Fall is a time for a lot of fun so stay well and get out and enjoy yourself! Pick pumpkins at pumpkin patches, make pumpkin pies and other treats, apple picking with the family at orchards and farms, drinking hot cider, eating caramel apples, corn mazes, hayrides, pony rides, hiking in state parks, walking in your neighborhood and favorite walking trails, camping, attending outdoor sports games, zoo day, learning how to dance (the weather is great for cooling down after dance class), and taking fitness classes.  . 


Have a Happy and Safe Autumn! 



October is Breast Cancer 

Awareness Month

October 2020

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to not only increase awareness of breast cancer but to make sure women have hope and access to education, screening, treatment, and support.  Early cancer detection saves lives! Support Buddy Check 6, where you get in touch with your mom, sister, girlfriend or cousin on the 6th of every month and remind them to do their monthly breast self-examination.  Exams are important because the earlier you can find cancer, the better your odds are beating it.  Annual mammogram screening is important as well.  It's recommended women start screening at the age of 40.  The Mayo Clinic recommends women and their doctors discuss the benefits, risks and limitations of mammograms and decide together what is best.  

Can You Dance with Diabetes?

November 2020

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes.  


Can you dance with diabetes? The answer is yes.  Exercise actually helps to balance out glucose levels.  You can have a dance career as long as you take good care of yourself.  Follow a healthy eating plan, get enough sleep, and aim for regular physical activity.  Youth with type 1 diabetes should also check their blood glucose levels before, during, or after physical activity.

  

What exactly is diabetes? Diabetes is a serious condition that causes higher than normal blood sugar levels.  Diabetes occurs when your body cannot make or effectively use its own insulin, a hormone made by special cells in the pancreas called islets (eye-lets).  Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter -- and allow you to use the glucose for energy.


What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? A type 1 diabetic can’t produce insulin, while a type 2 diabetic can usually produce it but can’t use it effectively.  Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in children and teens, which is why it was previously called juvenile diabetes.


What causes type 1 diabetes? Scientists think it may have to do with both genetics and environmental triggers, but the exact cause is unknown.  There is nothing that a type 1 diabetic “did” to cause the disease.


Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin.  Exactly why this happens is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors, such as being overweight and inactive, seem to be contributing factors.


What are the symptoms? A type 1 diabetic will feel tired, thirsty and hungry all the time.  He or she may lose weight and have to use the bathroom frequently.  If diabetes goes untreated too long, diabetic ketoacidosis can result, causing stomachaches and vomiting, or even a diabetic coma or death.


Children with type 2 diabetes may experience increased thirst and frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision, darkened areas of skin, and weight loss.  


If you think you have diabetes, its important to go see your doctor.  You’ll be given a glucose test to determine whether or not you have diabetes.  Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce risk for heart disease, vision loss, nerve damage, and other related health problems.  Check out diabetes.org

for more information.