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York Dance
Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers Book Cover

Dancers from Top to Bottom:
Jordana Deveau, Belinda McGuire,
Chad Clark, Meredith Thompson,
Natasha Poon Woo, & Sam Xu.

Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers

Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers is an invaluable resource for dancers and dance educators. The book includes detailed descriptions of the purpose, form, and rhythm of more than eighty exercises, fully illustrated with step-by-step photographs. Each exercise is also supported by accompanying imagery to assist dancers as they work through the program.

The book also provides notes for teachers, suggestions for transferring material to standing and moving through space, balancing exercises, and other supporting material.

180 pages, paper
ISBN 978-1-55077-207-4
November 2010
$36.95 CDN / US

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Donna Krasnow is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Dance at York University in Toronto, Canada, and is currently teaching at California State University Northridge and California Institute of the Arts. She has been an international guest artist at many colleges, universities, and professional training institutions including Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia; Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, Australia; Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences in Osaka, Japan; Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, Canada; and Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre in Toronto, Canada. She was the founding Artistic Director of Möbius Dance Company in San Francisco, California, and has performed, taught, and choreographed extensively in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Her current project is a book on motor control and motor learning for dancers, in collaboration with Dr. Virginia Wilmerding, the CEO for the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. For Donna’s full biography, visit Donna Krasnow's biography.

Jordana Deveau has been an active force in the Toronto dance community for over a decade. A principal performer with CCDT since 1994, her passion and skill launched her into the roles of Rehearsal Director and then Associate Artistic Director, where she trained future generations of dance artists for 7 years. Now pursuing an independent career, Jordana is the Co-Artistic Director, with Jesse Dell, of JD Dance and a founding member and Rehearsal Director of Event Horizon Dance directed by Miranda Abbott. She has trained in Toronto, Vancouver, New York and Vienna, and audiences have enjoyed her performances in the U.S, Europe and across Canada. She has performed in works by notable choreographers including Carol Anderson, Peggy Baker, Sidra Bell, David Earle, Kate Franklin, Margie Gillis, Andrea Nann, Roger Sinha, Holly Small, Santee Smith, and Gerry Trentham. When not on stage, she works in the community as an educator, rehearsal director and workshop facilitator.
Donna Krasnow (Top) & Jordana Deveau (Bottom),
Headshots by Gary Ray Rush

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Section 1. Introduction
  • Overview of Book Contents
  • How to Use this Book
  • Principles of Conditioning and Useful Terminology
  • Principles of C-I Training
  • Additional Elements
  • Imagery
  • Balanced Muscle Function
  • Transfer of Training

Section 2. C-I Training - The Method

  • Part 1. Fundamental Principles and Warm-Up
  • Part 2. Legwork and Core Support
  • Part 3. Flexibility Series
  • Part 4. Développé and Rond de Jambe Series
  • Part 5. Developing Turnout
  • Part 6. On Extension
  • Part 7. Final Strength and Stretch

Section 3. Appendices

  • Postural Problems and Muscle Imbalances
  • Skeletal and Muscular System Diagrams
  • Appendix of Terminology
  • Bibliography

REVIEWS

Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, Volume 16, Number 3, 2012, pages 135-136

Book Review by Gigi Berardi

In Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers, authors Donna Krasnow and Jordana Deveau make a strong case for C-I Training™ (conditioning-with-imagery) as a highly effective system for neuromuscular patterning. Krasnow, a former professor in the Department of Dance at York University in Toronto, has developed C-I Training™ as a conditioning technique designed specifically for dancers. The technique focuses on integrating the physical work of conditioning with the systematic neuromuscular patterning aspect of various somatic practices. It is, in effect, a way for the brain to learn to “speak” to the muscles.

The C-I Training™ system incorporates exercises to develop muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility, as well as visualization work. It offers a good warm-up before class or rehearsal, as well as a way to enhance technique and condition for injury prevention. Krasnow and Deveau draw heavily from the earlier contributions of Sally Fitt, Ruth Solomon, Zena Rommett, and imagery-work exemplars Lulu Sweigard, Irmgard Bartenieff, and Irene Dowd. Hatha yoga classes and Qi Gong are examples of other sources of inspiration. Divided into an introductory section and a C-I Training/Method (followed by useful appendices), this comprehensive text is contemporary, relevant, and user-friendly.

Clarity in Conditioning with Imagery is exceptional, from the detailed outline of the text (over 100 separate small sections with exercises) to definitions of terminology and the outlining of principles throughout. I found particularly interesting discussions of tonic (slow twitch) and phasic (fast twitch) fiber systems and, early on, principles of the C-I Training™ system, such as integration of the entire body, progression of the system over time, importance of alternating work in muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility, specificity of exercises to particular dance practices, and attentiveness to aspects that affect the quality of work, such as breath, timing, and transitions.

The exercises in Conditioning with Imagery can easily be performed as a continuous progression, with transitions that are specifically choreographed. Many of the exercises are challenging, in particular the développé and rond de jambe series. Almost all the exercises work, as they should, the core, from those in prone position (beats in low arabesque), to patterning exercises for the arms. In the final pages, postural problems and muscle imbalances are addressed through a useful chart, with the muscle imbalance or dysfunction specified (for example rounded shoulders, tight hip flexors, tight calves, and underused inner thighs), as well as the specific exercises that address the weakness. This practical book also addresses more abstract concepts, for example, rate of progression, as in this quote (which also exemplifies the expert use of imagery):

It is important not to progress through the variations too quickly. If the dancers feel cracking and snapping in the hips, the first strategy to attempt is to deepen the narrowing and hollowing. Also, encourage use of the images of reaching the leg away from the pelvis into space and seeing the surface muscles softening and elongating. If the snapping persists, try reducing the range of motion, and if nothing seems to achieve a smooth action, it may mean the dancers should return to a simpler variation.

One clear message in the book is that it is as important to feel the images as well as to think or will them. To aid in this understanding, the authors include thorough descriptions of the exercises, imagery sidebars, and exceptionally sharp and clear photographs of dancers performing them. To ensure that every detail is accounted for, descriptions include dozens of prepositional phrases. Some of the exercise titles themselves are skillfully pictorial, such as “open and close the book” (side-to-side rolling), “walking in space” (hip flexion), “the big X” (core initiation), “peel the banana” (turnout exercise), “shrugs” (descending scapulae), “flying bird” (chest lifts on 3s with arms behind), and “egg stretch” (final rest).

Krasnow and Deveau have written a text that is appropriate for a wide audience, from young children (provided they are aided by experienced teachers) to advanced dancers. Additional information is available through a DVD series, as well as a teacher certification program. I highly recommend this text as an essential resource in dance practice for educators, clinicians, and dancers alike.

LINKS

Book Cover Illustration by artist and retired dancer Martin Murphy

Headshots & Interior Photography by Gary Ray Rush

Website Design by Charles Moffat

Amazon.com / Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers

ThompsonBooks.com / Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers