Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Balance Tune Up! Conduct a Symphony of Moves With Maestro David Dworkin

Sanders, Mary E. Ph.D., FACSM, RCEP

ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal: July/August 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 33–38
doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e318296df5e
COLUMNS: On the Floor
Free

Disclosure: The author declares no conflict of interest and does not have any financial disclosures.

Mary E. Sanders, Ph.D., FACSM, RCEP, is a clinical exercise physiologist at the Division of Wellness and Weight Management in the School of Medicine and adjunct professor of the School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Reno. She is an associate editor of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal® and editor of the YMCA Water Fitness for Health trainingmanual. Dr. Sanders is ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise SpecialistSM and ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist®. Her Web site ishttp://www.waterfit.com.

Figure

Figure

“Music really balances so much in our lives — our thoughts, brain, physical being, it’s just amazing” ∼ David Dworkin

Maestro David Dworkin “sparkles with high-spirited virtuosity” New York Times

My first workout with Maestro David was to stand tall in our sneakers like an orchestra conductor. We raised our batons and conducted passionately to a mighty Sousa march. The workout was fun, invigorating, and inspirational. Not only did we work up a sweat, pumping arms and legs to the rhythm of the piccolos, but also we learned how to listen to music, with insights about the composer’s stories. We were immersed in David’s energy and embraced a musical experience.

David’s 40-year career as a conductor and clarinetist stretches from youth orchestras and the American Symphony to the Metropolitan Opera and PBS-TV. Now he blends music education into exercise and movement. David and I teamed up to bring his passion for mind, body, and soul to the pool. It was then we decided to blend a story of conductorcise with balance skills (surf and turf). In this article, we offer ideas so you can help guide participants to become the conductor of their own symphony. Take up your sneakers and baton and tune into great music with fun exercise.

Back to Top | Article Outline

BALANCE CHALLENGES SHOULD PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES TO PRACTICE CONTROLLED STABILITY

Participants should progress gradually and always with safety as the first note. Safety tips include:

  • □ Have sturdy supports handy for both seated and standing skills as needed by your participants.
  • □ Confirm that there is space around each participant, so that he or she can move or catch himself or herself by taking a step in case he or she loses stability.
  • □ Teach participants to not use each other for support. A chair, bar, or wall should be used instead.
  • □ Eyes can be opened at any time during the closed-eye challenges.
  • □ Include safe recovery from the floor skills practice in your program if appropriate.
Back to Top | Article Outline

TURNING UP THE VOLUME PROGRESSIVELY

Create a crescendo of challenges with simple progressions (easier to harder).

Back to Top | Article Outline

Lower Body Progression

Static balance:

  • □ Posture check!
  • □ Seated with arm support to seated without arm support.
  • □ Seated on unstable surface such as a stability ball or small ball (partially inflated) on a small chair.
  • □ Start with both feet on the floor and progress to one foot off the floor while seated on the chair or ball.
Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

  • □ Standing with support using a wide base of support, then progress to narrow, foot and toe, tandem stand (remember to switch legs) and single-legged stands.
Figure

Figure

  • □ Progress to unsupported standing using the same above-mentioned variations in base of support. Progress time spent on 1 foot from 5 to 30 seconds.

Dynamic balance:

  • □ Seated challenges can include marching, extending the legs (kick), or tapping feet.
  • □ Standing challenges can progress from small weight shifts, using each base of support, wide to narrow. Increase the time spent holding each position after the weight is shifted.
  • □ Lunge rocks with weight shifts can progress “around the clock,” forward and back, side to side, and on a diagonal plane.
Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

  • □ Add a freeze frame during the weight shifts for more challenge, change up the rhythm of the movement, slow to faster.
  • □ Travel using a march or kick step.
Back to Top | Article Outline

Upper Body Progression for Static and Dynamic Balance

  • □ Posture check!
  • □ Begin using an upper body support (chair, counter, wall) and progress to a light touch then to one hand or finger.
  • □ Conduct your orchestra starting with small movements and gradually enlarge the pattern by extending your arms, reaching farther away, up or down from your body center.
  • □ Include some body movement such as head turns (right, left, up, down), eyes open or closed to feel the balance challenges and music, seated or standing.
  • □ Change hands and conduct with your other arm!
Back to Top | Article Outline

FEEL THE HARMONY

Blend the movement and the music as you listen to your body and music. Here are some sensation and word cues that teach and enhance the feeling of the exercises for participants (1):

  • □ Feel, absorb (feet or seat)
  • □ Notice
  • □ Feel the energy
  • □ Draw in the energy of the music
  • □ Stretch, lengthen
  • □ Pull, pull
  • □ Focus eyes on ___
  • □ Sit or stand tall
Back to Top | Article Outline

MASTERING THE BATON

Maestro David teaches us how we all can become conductors of our own orchestra by using our arms or a chopstick as our baton. Arm movements paired with challenges to balance will provide a fun workout. Let’s learn the arm patterns as we “play” the balance challenges or you can also learn by viewing Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at http://links.lww.com/FIT/A9 and Supplemental Digital Content 2, available http://links.lww.com/FIT/A10.

2/4 Tempos

Begin in the starting position and arch down and to the right for count 1, then swing back up to the start position for count 2. It’s a down/up pattern.

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

3/4 Tempo

Begin in the start position, move down and bounce up slightly for count 1, and then move to the right, count 2, and swing up to the start position for count 3.

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

3/4 Waltz pattern 1

This pattern is used specifically for waltzes and uses a narrow oval shape throughout.

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

4/4 Tempos

Begin in start position, move down for count 1, to the left for count 2, to the right is count 3, and up to start position for count 4.

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Figure

Back to Top | Article Outline

THE BALANCE SYMPHONY, CONDUCTED BY EVERYONE. BRAVO!!!

David chose his favorite balance music, which can be purchased on iTunes for about $1 per piece, and he provides a dialog to share his passion about the music and movement. Étude is a French word meaning “study,” and in this article, David teaches us the background story about the music. Read these sections to your participants, so they expand their knowledge and can feel the music more fully.

Be sure to choose the balance challenge progressions that fit your participants’ needs.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Set 1: Static Balance (Seated or Standing) With Johannes Brahms

Hungarian Dance No. 3 (2:19)

Pattern: 2/4. Start with very small motion, then at about the middle of the work, the music gets faster and louder that cues us to create larger arm motion. It then returns to a quieter smaller pattern.

Hungarian Dance No. 6 (3:27)

Pattern: 2/4. This piece changes tempos. It starts slowly and then changes to a brighter tempo, cueing us to make larger conducting movements and motions.

Étude: Brahms took folk music he had heard while traveling through Hungary and then adapted it, originally for the piano, for four hands. He eventually orchestrated the pieces with wonderful color that told the stories of the spirit of peasants dancing, with both joy and sorrow, but always full of emotion. That is why these pieces are so flexible in tempo, as we also should be in life.

Lead your water symphony using a nonlatex Thera-Bond as a fluid baton

Lead your water symphony using a nonlatex Thera-Bond as a fluid baton

You can take your symphony to the pool and use a Thera-Band as your baton in shallow or deep water.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Set 2: Dynamic Balance Waltzes

Voices of Spring Waltz by Johann Strauss Jr. (5:54)

Pattern: 3/4, but conducted in a large oval pattern (called waltz pattern 1) as though you were drawing a narrow oval circle. Be very flexible with the motions, swaying at the same time from side to side and then reach out from side to side and then forward.

Étude: Johann Strauss Jr. (1825–1899), known as the Waltz King, lived almost75 years. During his long wonderful life, he composed many waltzes, polkas, marches, and operettas. His music made people want to dance, laugh, and enjoy the moment. Americans loved his music, and in 1872, he was in Boston for the Peace Jubilee!

Waltz From Masquerade Suite by Aram Khachaturian (4:08)

Pattern: 3/4 waltz pattern 1. Use the same pattern as described for the previous piece.

Étude: Listen for the conversations between sections of the orchestra while you are moving in an up and down motion in a narrow elliptical motion. The speed of the waltz, in most cases, makes it necessary to conduct in this one motion, although you count 1-2-3 in every up and down motion. Listen as the lower strings take over the melody, then in the second section, listen to the two melodies playing at the same time. Listen as though you are looking at a large canvas. See the colors with a lot going on at once. Take it all in and try not to focus on only the melody. Khachaturian (1903–1978) was born of Armenian parents but lived in Russia all his life.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Set 3: Duet of Dynamic and Static Balance

Die Fledermaus Overture by Johann Strauss Jr. (7:38)

Pattern: The 3/4 waltz pattern will change as tempos change during the piece. Begin with a 2/4 pattern. You’ll hear many tempo changes with rests and hold periods in-between. Combine static holds with dynamic rocking with freeze frame holds. The music continues through different melodies in 2/4, until you’ll hear the famous waltz 3/4 time conducted in the oval pattern once again. A beautiful slower section, still using the 3/4 pattern, follows this section. Listen to the oboe solo. All the melodies then repeat.

Participants strike up the band at the Clermont Retirement Community, Denver, CO

Participants strike up the band at the Clermont Retirement Community, Denver, CO

Étude: This famous overture to a fun opera really tests a conductor’s skill to capture the nuances. There are so many different tempi, including one of the most famous waltzes in opera literature. The piece is traditionally performed on New Year’s Eve because the story takes place on that special night. One of the nonsinging parts is that of the “Jailer.” Many famous comics have performed the part including Danny Kay and Dom DeLuise.

Il Viaggio A Reims (The Voyage to Reims) by Gioacchino Rossini (7:43)

Pattern: This begins in stately 4/4 and then goes into a 3/4. Move slowly through the beautiful oboe solo and move into the 3/4, which sounds more agitated. Hold for the short silence (fermata) and then move into a 2/4 delightful melody that is playful. Building the famous Rossini crescendos with larger movements and continue with a wonderful melody played by two clarinets with the full orchestra. Then just listen to another fantastic crescendo with a melody that keeps repeating in a very bouncy way. Think of dum-didily-dum-dum-dum de dum. This repeats and gets louder and is a signature of Rossini. Have fun!

Étude: Rossini (1792–1868) was nicknamed Signor Crescendo. Crescendo is a musical term that describes soft music slowly getting louder and louder, and Rossini became known for it. Within 13 years, he wrote 30 operas, 39 in all. He retired at a very young age, preferring to eat and sleep most of the time. Toward the end of his life, he did write a few more pieces.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Set 4: Dynamic Travel With Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Fandango Asturiano, the last section of Capricco Espagno (3:37)

Pattern: Waltz pattern 1 (3/4)

This wonderful piece captures the colors of Spain. It’s fun because the music goes from full orchestra to solo instruments. Participants can look, gesture, march, or move in the direction designatedto be the sections for flute, clarinet, harp, or violin. Near the very end, the work goes into 2/4. Listen for the change as it gets faster. It’s impossible to continue in the pattern you are using in one, so go to 2/4 instead.

Étude: Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) was in the Russian Navy and traveled the world. He visited Spain and was captivated by the sounds and colors of that romantic country that inspired his compositions.

Figure

Figure

In deep water, David conducts participants as they round up balloons representing various sections of the orchestra. If you have the wind section balloon, when the flutes play, you conduct with raised arms, challenging core stabilization to maintain vertical balance over hips and your head above water!

Figure

Figure

Back to Top | Article Outline

Acknowledgments

Photo and video credit: Susan Dworkin, New York, NY, and Mary E. Sanders, Reno, NV. Balance model Sally Higgins is a gerontology student at the University of Nevada, Reno, who hopes to somedaybecome a physician. Sally’s a swimmer and a musician. She’s played percussionand piano in the Carson City Symphony. For Sally, music is a fun mental exercise.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Reference

1. Scott S. Sensational activities that improve balance. FUNCTIONAL U, 6(3), International Council on Active Aging; 2008.
Back to Top | Article Outline

Resource:

2. Educational materials are available from David Dworkin at www.conductorcise.com.

    Supplemental Digital Content

    Back to Top | Article Outline
    © 2013 American College of Sports Medicine.