Magazine article Dance Spirit

Pom 101

Magazine article Dance Spirit

Pom 101

Article excerpt

When it comes to dance team, you know you've got the "dance" part of the equation down cold. But the pom work? Not so much. Maybe you're afraid it'll be too much like cheerleading, or that you won't understand the terminology. To help, we spoke with three college dance-team coaches to find out what you can expect in practices, and how dancers can easily transition to working with poms. You'll be surprised at the strength, sharpness and body awareness that can be learned from this flashy style!

POM PREP

Pom routines require a lot of endurance-keeping your shoulders down and arms strong for two to three minutes is harder than you'd think. "In the studio, you have exits and entrances or brief moments to breathe, but in pom, you're engaged the whole time," says Amanda Gaines, coach of the University of Minnesota Dance Team. "Cardiovascular workouts aren't enough; you also need to have good arm strength to maintain your energy."

Sharp arm movements require strong shoulders and a solid core, so work on holding center and side plank positions for one minute, maintaining good form with your shoulders down and in line with your hips. Your shoulders, arms and upper back can also be strengthened with push-ups, tricep dips and basic exercises with weights, such as bicep curls. "Many of our team members also use yoga to get into shape for the season," Gaines says.

TEAM PRACTICE TIPS

Poms may not be used during the first few practice sessions-you'll have to practice with closed fists-but that doesn't mean those practices won't be strenuous. Marca DeCastroverde, coach of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Rebel Girls, starts the season with motion drills to work on placement and timing.

Pom requires extreme sharpness in its movements. "To sharply stop in a position, dancers must tighten their arms, not their wrists. …

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