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Somatic Research

Dance Class with Thera-band

With the use of the Thera-band, there is a greater resistance placed on the body, allowing the dancer to more acutely feel which muscles are engaging properly or improperly and how this effects individual body alignment (especially helpful in engaging the inner thighs to find true parallel and turn out). An emphasis on contra balance, achieved by placing the Thera-band across the body, permits for greater awareness of weight placement, increasing engagement of core muscles, and allowing for further extension while maintaining balance. This quickly strengthens muscles and helps the dancer in springing from the floor, turning, and numerous other aspects of technique.

Through my individualized method, the dancer quickly learns how to increase range of motion, create space to extend, prevent injuries, and maintain healthy techniques throughout their career.


Anatomy and Pilates for Dancers


Understanding of somatic practices influences in her teaching and dance-making. Hee Ra integrates experience and knowledge of Yoga, Franklin Method, Pilates in her research of movements. Attention to anatomical structures and locations, body biomechanics, as well as spatial and functional relationships between body segments during movement.


Hee Ra Yoo is a certified Pilates instructor specializing in Pilates for dancers. She originally trained with Marla Bingham in 2001. Ms. Yoo then worked closely with Kathy Grant as private teaching assistant and demonstrator at New York University. Both Ms. Grant and Ms. Kryzanowska are original students of Joseph Pilates. Ms. Yoo’s teaching approach blends classical (Pure Pilates) and contemporary techniques to devise an exercise program unique and effective for advanced dancers. Ms. Yoo includes Pilates in her instruction to dance majors at Georgian Court University and Chautauqua Institution (Summertime).

Elizabeth Peck, School of American Ballet

As a dancer, Pilates is an essential part of my weekly routine. Without it, my body feels weak and more susceptible to injury. Although I have had two years prior experience with private Pilates, Hee Ra completely changed my outlook on reformer work. By teaching me to initiate each movement with breath, Hee Ra helped me to refine my technique and strengthen my deeper abdominal muscles. Applying her corrections during ballet class, I feel a deeper relaxation in my barre work.
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