Updated: May 2
Crossing is one of the most fundamental aspects of Irish dance. The “over-crossed” look of hiding your back knee while you dance is unique to Irish dance and often sets the top dancers apart from the rest of the competition.
To improve any Irish dance technique, we need to improve both mobility and strength of key joints and muscles–and crossing is no different. In this two-part series, we’ll break down exactly why and how to improve each of these areas for crossing… with an exciting announcement at the end!
CROSSOVER | Part 1: MOBILITY FOR CROSSOVER
Mobility is the range of motion a given joint can move through. To improve your ability to fully cross your knees over each other, we need to improve the mobility of your hips–specifically, the muscles on the outside of your hips (lateral hip muscles).
Think about what happens when you cross your legs. You need to bring each leg fully across the midline of your body. But when muscles are “tight,” they shorten. If the outside of your hip is tight (shortened), you physically won’t be able to bring your leg all the way across your body.
Many times, dancers will compensate for limited mobility in their hips by recruiting mobility further up their body. When this happens, dancers will get their legs crossed but in turn, their hips will twist or they'll twist through their waist which will cause their arms to wiggle from side to side.
To begin improving your crossover, start with these two exercises to help improve your hip mobility and length the lateral hip muscles.
HIP MOBILITY EXERCISES
Sitting with your legs straight in front of you, twist your upper body to the right and bend your right knee. With your left hand, grab the outside of your right foot, calf, or thigh and straighten your knee. Keep bending and straightening your knee with your breath, trying to twist more with each exhale. Repeat on the other side. 10-15 reps each side
HIP FOAM ROLLING
Laying on the ground, place your hip on top of a foam roller. Roll just under your hip bone then down along the outside of your leg. 1:00-2:00 minutes each leg.
AND…an EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!
A new month means a new release on the TT Online Institute! And this month’s release is a big one. The 30 DAY CROSSOVER CHALLENGE!
Now live on the TT Online Institute, the 30 Day Challenge will take you through exactly what to do each day of the month to improve your crossover.
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