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GINA: How to Kick Up a Storm


If I had to think of one word that best describes who I am, it would be DANCE! I trained as a dancer through my entire youth, studied the art as a dance major in college, and consider myself blessed to have had a 12-year professional career doing what I love.

As a dance teacher I believe anyone can carry the confidence and poise of a dancer. From my personal experience as a performer I have learned tricks from dancers (old and new) that guarantee a fool-proof performance!

With the Flight Crew Cheerleaders audition right around the corner, be ready to KICK IT and stand out! Here are some technical tips and exercises that can help anyone of any age!

Always hold your stretch with great posture. Channel your inner ballerina and think … stomach (core) in, shoulders back, relax your fingers and toes, and elongate your entire body head to toe.

Stretch with feet flexed for half of the time and pointed half of the time. This will add an extra stretch throughout your legs.

Make sure that your legs do not roll in or out when in a straddle or hurdle position. Knees and shoelaces to the sky!

Remember to always inhale and exhale. Stretching should relax you, not tense up your body!

A great hard-hitting performance comes alive when a dancer can turn music into visual art. High kicks are an exciting addition to any type of choreography. What amazes the crowd most is how the kick line appears effortless in quality.

Here are some exercises designed to increase the flexibility and power of your kicks:

It's Floor Extension Time! Lie on your back, straighten the left leg while holding the right leg bent and close to your chest. Keeping your hips square, grab the right ankle with both hands and slowly pull it toward the right shoulder. While extended, point and flex the foot 4 to 8 times, then repeat the exercise with the other leg. *DO make sure while holding your leg that you keep your elbows outward, preventing your shoulders from rising of the floor.

Let's Stretch Those Hips! Sit up tall in a straddle position (legs open wide to the sides)! In each direction, reach over your head toward your foot, toward the corners (inside the legs), then down the center. Aim to lay chest down on the floor. Remain tension-free and breathe!

Look, Ma, I Can Split on Wall! Face the wall. Slowly slide the foot up the wall until the knee is straight, keeping the back and supporting leg also extended. As flexibility improves, move your standing leg back and press your hips closer to the wall (similar to a hyperextended split). This exercise can be repeated by rotating the hips in a side tilt and in an arabesque position.

Put On Your Ankle Weights!!! (MY FAVORITE!) Lie on the floor and hold up your upper body with your elbows. Bend one knee so that your foot is grounded. While holding your hips square, kick the opposite leg quickly up and down without letting your heel hit the ground.

Never forget that a beautiful smile is just as eye-catching as a dynamite high-kicking performance! And never stop dancing. I won't!


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