WANT TO DANCE PAIN-FREE, AND BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE?

Did you know the injury rate in dance is near 100%? Meaning that if you dance, chances are that at some point stuff will probably start to feel sore, you may become injured, and, if left unchecked, could force you to stop dancing temporarily. Injury seems to be in the very nature of dance. But it doesn’t have to be.

 

Maybe you’ve already experienced an injury, or your joints are achy all the time. Maybe you’ve been told you need to “get a stronger core”, but are unsure how to do it. If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve felt helpless because you keep getting injured and the only option seems to be to give up dance. But this is only one option of many.

 

Dance Stronger aims to show you these different options.


WHAT IS DANCE STRONGER?

Dance Stronger is a multi-media resource for dancers, providing guidance for the safe and effective development of movement quality and strength to support their dancing.

Dance Stronger includes a 290 page ebook, 4 week full-body training program- complete with home/gym options, and videos and written descriptions for each exercise, and a supportive online community. The approach is one of self-exploration through developing body awareness, and progressing exercises in an honest way with plenty of options to adjust exercises to your individual level.

The program and philosophy place a large emphasis on:

  • Self-movement assessment
  • Breathing mechanics
  • Checking progress with outcome measures
  • Improving movement quality over quantity
  • Optimizing nervous system state (sympathetic vs. parasympathetic)
  • Warming-up effectively
  • Finding an appropriate rehab specialist (when needed)
  • Progressing safely through exercises
  • Proper exercise technique for exercises such as squats, deadlifts, push-ups, and more.
WHO IS DANCE STRONGER FOR?

Dance Stronger is for you if:

  • You’re a dancer. You haven’t had (m)any severe injuries (yay, you!), you’re curious about how you can use cross-training to improve your strength, mobility, and your dance technique, while preventing future injuries. You want to learn about the theory and philosophy of strength training for dance and reduce your daily aches and pains to enjoy dancing even more.
  • You’re a dancer.  Sadly, you have already experienced a plethora of injuries, and you’ve finally decided you want to take control. You want to overcome imbalances created by these past injuries, regain strength and mobility to prevent injuries, and dance better than ever, for as long as you desire.
  • You’re a dance teacher/educator. You want to teach students, colleagues, and dance-parents the way to a stronger, longer dance career. You want to walk the talk for what the future of dance training could look like, help your students learn safer dance practices, prevent injuries, and become educated yourself on what a strength training program for dancers looks and feels like.
  • You don’t identify as a dancer. BUT maybe you started dance later as an adult. You take classes, you love to move, and you want to learn how to make your body more resilient so that you can continue to participate in this beautiful movement practice you love at your full potential without screwing your joints, long-term.

But Dance Stronger isn’t for everyone.

If you think you’re perfect the way you are, you dislike change, and you’re not interested in tuning in with  your body, then you probably won’t like Dance Stronger.

If you don’t care to learn about how to breathe for optimal performance, recovery, and pain-free movement, then you probably won’t appreciate this resource. If you’d rather plug in your headphones, blast Eminem, and jog for an hour in a sympathetic state than honestly tune in to how your body feels, then this isn’t the program for you.

It’s ok! I’m not offended. It’s important to make sure you’re choosing a path that is right for you at this point in your life.

In fact, before you sign up I want you to know for sure this resource is for you, so you can get the first two chapters free (click on the book cover image at the top of this page).

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

Everyone’s experience with Dance Stronger will be different, and I don’t want to impose expectations that could inhibit your unique process. However, most participants have experienced these benefits while participating:

  • Deeper understanding and awareness of your own body and its needs
  • Better breath control
  • Balancing asymmetries and improving connection to your body
  • Stronger core, upper, and lower body
  • Confidence in your body’s abilities so you can take more risks in dancing
  • More effortless dancing with less pain and soreness
  • Improved technique, more turns, higher extensions, feeling more grounded
  • Support from an amazing community all the way through
  • The reassurance in having the knowledge and tools to help your dance career last longer

You can read for yourself the experiences of other Dance Stronger members a little further below on this page.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO JOIN DANCE STRONGER?

There are three main reasons why people join Dance Stronger. Maybe these resonate with you, too:

1. You know that to become the best dancer (and human) you can be, that you need to cross-train, become stronger, and that you have imbalances to address, but not having the knowledge or confidence to get started.

2. You’ve been through enough injuries and have finally decided that it is time to take action and develop strength and movement quality to prevent future injuries.

3. You’ve been following my writing on The Dance Training Project blog and find that my philosophies on dance, training, and movement resonate, and you are curious to learn more about my ways of working with dancers.

Essentially, you’re interested in moving into a safer, stronger place to optimize performance, you’re trying to move forward from pain, and nurture your body, or you’re simply curious.

Some participants of DS are parents of dancers who want to give their dancing sons/daughters options to cross-train to prevent injuries and perform better.

Dance Stronger is not just a program and book, but a process that continues after the four weeks of training are complete. It’s a journey we take together as a community, and I am happy that our community is a safe space for discussions and sharing experiences.

If this resonates with you, then I think you’ll be a great fit for Dance Stronger.

WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS AND STRUCTURE OF DANCE STRONGER?
  • Dance Stronger Ebook: 290 page guide to applying the DS philosophy and concepts for strength and movement training. Ideas that you can apply right away to ANY movement form or training program, not just for dance.
  • 4 week online movement and strength training program with home or gym options so you can take Dance Stronger on the road or do from your living room.
  • Complete video tutorials for each exercise in the program to make sure you know exactly how to perform each exercise.
  • Option to add email support and other personalized supplementary strategies to keep you progressing
  • Tracking sheets and written descriptions for all the exercises to keep you accountable and organized.
  • Private Facebook group forum to ask questions and get inspired by our supportive online community. This group of strong dancers rocks!
  • Workout tracking sheets, review sheets, and other supplementary documents to help keep you accountable, and track your progress.
  • Bonus video footage from several DTP workshops: Breathing, core training, jump landing, and off-season training. Additional videos and supporting resources are being continually added to the member tool-kit.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO JOIN DANCE STRONGER?

The complete program is $50.00 (this includes ebook and online program).

But, if you are just wanting to read the ebook and get a feel for the philosophy, the Dance Stronger ebook is available completely by donation. 

I can appreciate that dancers don’t have a huge budget, having been a “starving artist” myself, unable to pay for therapy or extra training that I needed. I believe that all dancers have the right to affordable, accessible information and guidance on effective cross training and injury prevention.

Many participants hesitate because they are unsure how much to pay, and feel bad about offering a small donation, but there is no amount too small.

Why is the full program $50? Hiring a coach in person is somewhere around $60-$150/hour. A drop in fitness/dance class is anywhere from$10-$20. Online training programs go for anywhere from $50-$100+. Seeing a rehabilitation specialist can cost anywhere from $60-$150+ for a single visit. A book on dance anatomy/conditioning will typically go for anywhere from $20-$75.

I’ve had participants of Dance Stronger tell me that they’ve done full-day, in person seminars for $300, and have felt equal value from the Dance Stronger program. Many participants have urged me to charge anywhere from $50-$100+.

Here’s what some DS members have told me:

“Considering the information I get in your program I think it would make sense to split it up: CAD$ 60 for the breathing part / CAD$ 60 for the movement pattern & CAD $ 80 for the gym-program or home program … so total $200″

“I’ve done training seminars that lasted 4 days – they are about $300 but are live with an instructor. Your program is just as valuable but is structured differently.”

“As a 4 week program  (I have done other online programs before), I’ve paid anywhere from $79 to upwards of $200. Given that this a program targeted to dancers (forever starving artists, haha), I would say between $90 to $125.”

“If I were still a college student: $300 because that’s the most I could afford, but I feel like that’s not comparable to the value of the program. If I was earning $2000 a month year round….I’d say somewhere around $500? I really don’t know! It’s awfully hard to put a value on this, and I’m not experienced in the pricing of these things. But I think that was worth a hell of a lot.”

To make a donation or sign-up for the whole shebang, GO HERE. 


Here’s what other dancers are saying about Dance Stronger:


This is what a proper training program looks like. You gradually build strength and learn to address misalignments that may be hindering your dancing. It is very specific strength training created by a professional dancer turned personal trainer. You get to learn at your own pace and get feedback from Monika. She really loves what she does and it shows! It is like getting to have an extended conversation with your dance instructor and other students before, during and after class. Try it!”

Samantha Kutner

Dancer

“This is totally different from regular gym programs or challenges. It really goes back to the basics of how we move best, and teaches you how to build up your whole body, not just prepare for a specific task.

I loved the wholesome aspect of the program and the fact that it starts from the beginning, and doesn’t assume you already lift or have done strength training. Girls who have never lifted before in their lives can go rock it in the weight room. Experience isn’t a requirement for starting to better yourself.

There is so much support available if you need it, too. This program has not only helped me strengthen for today, but also given me the knowledge and confidence to keep strengthening my body in the way that it’s supposed to be done! 10/10 would recommend :)”

Thea Boatwright

Competitive Irish step-dancer

 

A sneak peak at one of the most talked about, simple-yet-powerful, parts of Dance Stronger: Breathing —>

“A month ago,  I was lucky to land a decent double pirouette. yesterday, I was miraculously pull off QUADS to the right (I’ve only managed that once before. I’m not so conscious of having changed anything really in the way that I’m turning, so I think it must be that I’m getting stronger and holding myself better! Thank you, Monika!”

Caroline Blair

Dancer/aerialist

“The program exceeded my expectations. I felt my body getting stronger and more connected (which I expected) but also learned about how to use breath to be more powerful when I skate. That was totally unexpected.”

Terri Levine

Ice-dancer

“[My favourite part of Dance Stronger was] seeing all the connections between yoga, the strength program, and my dancing, how to connect all those dots and how much it all comes down to basic movement patterns and then one exercise would suddenly make so much more sense and I could feel how I would evolve out of my old movement pattern into new ones.”

Mariam Djalili

dancer

“I feel honestly amazing. I’ll be on the road this week, so I’m packing up my resistance bands and going to rock the home program out in hotel rooms. This breathing practice is one of the most remarkable things, though. I usually have such trouble sleeping through the night, but on days when I take the time to really sink into the breathing I am certain I sleep better. Maybe my resting state is just waaaaay too fight-or-flight! Working hard to make this type of training a long term habit.”

Adrienne Rollie

Dancer

“To a fellow dancer: You probably aren’t breathing well. No offense. Statistically since you’re a dancer it just seems pretty likely. [Dance Stronger] will teach you how to breathe well, even while doing EXTREMELY DIFFICULT THINGS, and that will make those difficult things more productive, and dance will feel more awesome. Look, there are a TON of things we all have going on in our bodies, from dance, or other causes—this program casts a really wide net to work out many of the kinks, in a very efficient way. And when it’s done you’ll be launched on a nice, clear, well informed road to use that knowledge to shape your training going forward. This course has a huge amount of information, presented in a very accessible way. I wish I had done this sooner and you probably will too. My back hasn’t felt this good for this long since 2011 (before I injured it).”

Oralee Skeath

Dancer

“I feel [Dance Stronger] is going to drastically change the way I prepare for movement classes or teaching or performing. My core feels much more strong and responsive when I train with intentional breath. I felt more of my body while doing the exercises and for hours after them. You are a beast in the best way and I am uber grateful for this work. So simple, nuanced and yet, intricate and complex. After 13 years (my longest relationship) with movement arts I wasn’t sure how much I would gain from this program-well suffice to say it’s been a lot! And I’m excited to see what happens next :)”

Lianne Mafari

Dancer

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“I had high hopes that the program would help me figure out some things I had been struggling with body-wise, and it has exceeded all of my expectations. A week after finishing the final workout (and having a few pretty computer-intensive as well as dance-intensive days in between, which would normally make my hip and shoulder pain flare up) I am still pain free and it feels AWESOME. The breathing section was so, so impactful, and the rest of the program made it even better.”

Khalida Bech

Professional belly-dancer/teacher, Khalida Dance

For the first time in my life I had allowed myself to get out of shape – by not cross training (and having a really stressful job with little time for other pursuits)  – while still doing the same professional level dance classes a few times a week. I have also been plagued by injuries this year – niggling things – like bunions at the start of the year, then sore feet (arches) and ankles. I had started to put it down to age – and wondered if my left ankle wasn’t arthritic because of traumatic injuries in the past – when I was young. After doing the program, I did class yesterday feeling fantastic – and everything felt fine. Today I still feel great – so the ballet class – which was pitched quite high has not affected me in any way.”

Liz Brenner

Dancer

“We went to a medieval market and festival yesterday. I trance danced to a very cool band, left a bit of soul on the dance floor and was soaked in sweat, clothes and all. It was intense. I did a lot of arm work, did less with the legs. And yet, my shoulders were NOT up in my ears, stiff and sore in the morning, as per the norm. Today as I move around, I feel sore in my core!!! The Dance Dtronger program increasingly shows through in the day-to-day successfully, wonderfully, yes, even surprisingly. It appears, that training in this way is managing to break bad old movement habits and create new ones, on a level so deep, that they’ll work unconsciously.”

Natascha Mayer-Perez

Dancer

“[My biggest take-away is] that I need to do this kind of work all the time because it feels great and my stupid hip and knee are no longer stupid, and I can function without worrying what my hip or knee might think of the movement I am trying to do. [Dance Stronger] is based on getting human movement strong so it can translate into dancing stronger. You don’t have to go balls to the walls with stretching and crunches to get better range of motion and stability. It is the small movements that get the biggest results. The sessions warm the body from inside out and it feels great. I want everyone to read all the chapters you have given me.”

Christina Wurz

Dancer

[Dance Stronger] met my expectations and then some! I expected to be stronger by the end of the program in a more functional way. Not only do I feel that my body is stronger for everyday activities, but I do feel like I could be stronger / more stable in my movements in dance. I’m also more aware of my alignment, which I found was key to a lot of the pains I had at the beginning of the program. One thing that I was hoping for, but not really expecting is a change in my diastasis recti gap. It’s still there, BUT there has been a noticeable change.

Stephanie Jackson

Dancer

“I wasn’t expecting to notice as big a difference strength/flexibility wise right and left sides of my body. After the first week, I thought it would take longer than the following 3 weeks to start to balance left and right sides out, but I was surprised at how effective some exercises were. Dance Stronger will strengthen your body, preparing you for your dance training/performing or any other activity you do.  It will make you think about how and why you move. this was an amazing opportunity and learning experience for me – I know that I will be recommending your program to my dancer (and non-dancer) clients who already strength train, but aren’t getting the results they are looking for.”

Lorissa Chan

Dancer, Flow Pilates


One of my favourite parts of Dance Stronger is the incredible community we have.

 

For long-term success it is so necessary to have a supportive community behind you, and all the members of  the Dance Stronger private Facebook group are amazing, inspiring individuals. Some have already been through the program and stick around as “alumni” to answer questions and help any way they can. It’s truly a wonderful group that I am so grateful for, and I love getting to know you so I can always be adapting the program to meet your exact needs.

 

Here are some of the things our group’s been talking about:

So what do you think? Are you ready to get the tools that could change the way you dance?

 

Sign up for Dance Stronger today, and see how much better it feels to put some oomph behind your dance moves and finally become free of pain.

 

I can’t wait to meet you in our community of strong, inspiring dancers. See you there :)

 

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About Monika Volkmar

 

That’s me :) ——>

founded The Dance Training Project after graduating from Ryerson University’s dance performance program with a BFA and a mission- To make quality movement and strength training accessible to dancers. This was after becoming injured enough to finally feel compelled to do something about it.

I am a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA, a level 2 certified NeuroKinetic Therapy practitioner, and a Thai massage practitioner in Toronto. My focus is on using the Anatomy in Motion model to help my clients to understand how their bodies are designed to move, explore ways of moving they haven’t done for a while, and help them accomplish their performance goals.

I also write an info-taining blog for dancers at danceproject.ca, as well as the column “Balance” regularly for just dance! magazine.

To learn more about me, shoot me an email to say hello.