Hip Pops


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Onto the questions of the week – and hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!

I have a 13 yr old female student whose right side hip “pops” out and in while dancing. She says especially when she tries to turn out more. What advice or suggestions can I give her? Sincerely, Tasha

As long as there is no pain during the hip ‘pop’ – I would suspect a muscular imbalance to how she is creating her turnout. The first logical place to check is the tightness of her hip flexors, specifically the iliopsoas. Try having her spend some time stretching the iliopsoas then see if she feels more hip freedom and less hip popping when she begins dancing. If so – then encourage her to do the standing lunge or the runners lunge in between exercises or when she is waiting to move across the floor.

Here is a picture of a sitting and hanging stretch for the hip flexors. You can also do a standing stretch as well as a runners lunge.

My question is a simple one. Is a woman of 32 years too old to commence dancing? I’m physically quite fit and strong. However, I know that being fit and able to do an hour workout class isn’t the same as being physically fit for dance. The type of dancing that I’m referring to is modern/contemporary dance. I started taking classes a few months ago when I realized that it was dance that I wanted to pursue-I know, it took me a while. I also find that whenever I do any sort of dancing, I find myself drawn to ballet type movements: I’m always on my toes, I’m always doing leaps–even before I ever saw these movements being performed. Are these movements typically found in modern/contemporary dance techniques? Also, does it matter that I look quite young? Although I don’t think that me looking young matters, I do look as if I’m in my early twenties. How much does age matter in this world? And last but not least, what is a good stretching exercise in order to achieve a good side leg lift? Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Nicole

The simple answer to your question about age and dancing is NO – it is never too old to commence dancing! There is much research that is being done on how exercise can reverse the aging process, even if you begin in the latter decades of your life. Dance is a good choice for many as it focuses on building strength and flexibility.

How much does age matter is an interesting question. To quote Jack Benny, “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” I will admit to generally feeling that more mature dancers are more interesting to watch. For me athleticism without that special spark or connection is not as engaging. Mature dancers has more to do with life experience than age in years. What I know is our bodies as well as our brains are plastic, meaning there is constant change going on. If dancing brings you happiness and joy – then it is doing good things for you!

As far as your question about good stretching exercises to achieve a side leg lift I would focus on stretching the hamstring muscles at the back of the leg from the standing position.

Have a wonderful weekend!


“Education is the key to injury prevention”

Snapping Hip Syndrome

Welcome to Teaching Smart! This blog will house the Dancing Smart Newsletter and gives you the opportunity to add your helpful suggestions at the end of the post. Hopefully, posting the newsletter in this format will decrease the newsletters that get caught by spam filters and create more active dialogue between us. I’m always open to feedback and learning – and will be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers! Please be respectful in your responses and it goes without saying that the focus and content should stick to the posting topic.

Warmest wishes for a successful 2008!


About two years ago when I started training very seriously for just ballet, I started having a popping sensation in my hip. I soon learned that I had snapping tendon syndrome. During the winter of that year I hurt it badly enough where I couldn’t walk comfortably and couldn’t dance for about two weeks. It got better, but I always had the same popping.

Now two years later, I have learned that I have had snapping tendon tendonitis. It hurts whenever I do anything to a la seconde (especially doing développés, ronde de jambs, and retire/posse). It also hurts when developing devant and fouettes of course.

Last year I got physical therapy at the local exercise place and it didn’t help at all. I’ve read your “Tune Up Your Turnout” book (and love it 🙂 and I’ve been stretching in a lunge position during class often. Any other stretches or exercises I can do? Will my tendonitis ever go away even though I’ve stopped growing, and are foam rollers helpful?
Thanks, Rachel


It’s unclear from your description whether the popping is coming from the front of the side of the hip. Snapping hip syndrome usually refers to the pop at the side of the hip that comes when the thick band of tissue (the iliotibial band) snaps over the greater trochanter which is the bump on the outside and top of the thighbone.

The foam rollers are extremely helpful as you roll slowly on the outside of the hip, and down the outside of the thigh. It can be pretty tight and uncomfortable, so only put as much pressure on the foam roller as you can easily tolerate.

If the popping is coming from the front of the hip it is the hip flexor tendon that is causing the snap. I’m happy to hear you are doing the stretches from Tune Up Your Turnout, which focus on stretching out the iliopsoas muscle with the lunge stretches, and standing quadriceps stretching. Keep doing those and add on a new way of stretching with the foam roller.

Start resting with the foam roller at the top of both thighs. You are going to rest on your elbows. Gently allow your weight to drop into the foam rollers. Slowly bend both knees until you feel a subtle stretch. Keeping your knees bent let both feet drop to one side, then the other. It will feel as if you are rolling across the width of the quadriceps. (The foam roller stays in the same place on your thighs)

After doing a couple of passes, shift forward slightly so the foam roller is now a bit closer to your knees. Repeat bending your knees and slowly letting your feet drop from one side to the other – easily and slowly.

Try this once again bringing the foam roller closer to your knees – staying at least 4 inches above the knees. In this final position your chest is probably now resting on the floor as you drop the feet from side to side. The last position will be the most tender (or at least is for me) so please do this carefully and slowly.

Then stand up and see how your legs feel – hopefully a lot looser!

It does help that you have stopped growing as growth spurts are notoriously challenging for dancers and athletes. Can you get rid of your tendinitis? Absolutely, Rachel! Tendinitis is an overuse syndrome and can be very tricky to work with. It often seems like it is 3 steps forward, then 1 step backwards. Decreasing the overall tension of the contributing muscles and creating a better balance between strength and flexibility will give you better muscle tone, increased range of motion, and decreased pain.

Good luck, be patient, and let me know how you do!

Happy New Year!


“Education is the key to injury prevention”