If you have ever taken dance classes or perfectly executed The Robot on the dance floor, then you have performed a dance isolation. Isolations are dance exercises that move only one section of your body while the rest of your body remains still. These exercises can be performed as part of a workout routine, as a tool to improve dancing technique or as part of a dance move in a performing environment.
Breaking Down Isolation
Practicing a dance isolation is best done in front of a full-length mirror, so you can be sure that the majority of your body is stable. You can use isolations to move merely a limb or whole sections of your body. For instance, if you use your neck muscles to move your head from side to side, then that is a head isolation. If you use your core to shift your rib cage from right to left, then you are doing an isolation that moves only your upper body. The skill of an isolation lies in the ability to keep the rest of the body stationary.
Dances That Use Isolation
Those who cultivate the ability to do masterful isolations typically use them in hip-hop or an extreme version of modern dancing: popping. Popping is derived from the dance move "pop-and-lock," meaning that your body does sudden movements interspersed with sudden full-body freezes. The separation of limbs at the joint is exaggerated in a combination of smooth movement and powerful stops. Perfecting dance isolations through the practice of isolation exercises is vital for doing well in these dance styles.
Exercises That Use Isolation
Even if you don't plan on participating in a dance battle anytime soon, dance isolation exercises could still factor into your workout routine. Aerobics classes that incorporate dance moves often use isolations for warming up the muscles. By isolating different sections of your body, these programs ensure that every part of your body has been stretched and warmed in preparation for a difficult workout. Isolations can also help you concentrate on using the appropriate muscles for an exercise. Rib cage isolations, for example, are effective for targeting the core.
Benefits of Isolation Exercises
Isolation exercises are challenging for beginners, but worth conquering. Being able to mentally identify muscle groups enough to use them exclusively brings greater body awareness. Awareness is very important for good form during any exercise. If you do not practice good form when exercising, you can cause yourself any number of injuries, including sprains, muscle tears and fractures. Being mentally aware of how you are using your muscles can help prevent injury. Body awareness will also help you understand physical adjustment instruction for sports that require the practice of good form, such as golf or tennis.
Meredith Berg received her B.F.A. in directing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Now living in Los Angeles, she works as a film and television writer, comic-book editor and director of plays and films. In addition, she loves tackling paleo recipes, workout routines and DIY projects.