Preparation for Performance

Foundations for Excellence

Foundations for Excellence
Nurturing and supporting talented young dancers and musicians

This new virtual publication offers a wealth of resources for the support and training of talented musicians and dancers. It is available to access at:

Topics covered include:-
  • Talent - innate or trainable?
  • Motivation & goal setting
  • Hypermobility
  • Performance preparation

…. and many more

Shoulder and neck tension

Often when we feel a bit stressed our shoulders start to rise creating unwanted tension in the muscles in and around the shoulders and neck. If it is not reduced this muscle tension can lead to discomfort, pain and headaches. With practise we can become more aware of muscle tension as soon as it starts. Then we can take steps to reduce it before it becomes a problem. Doing regular relaxation exercises can also help to prevent unwanted muscle tension.

The following exercise is a great shoulder and neck tension buster for dancers (and dance teachers) and it only takes a couple of minutes. You can do it sitting or standing and with practise your ability to release the tension quickly and efficiently will improve.

Release shoulder and neck tension
Tense your neck and shoulder muscles by lifting your shoulders strongly up towards your ears (shrugging) - you will probably find that you automatically breathe in as you do this. Take a few seconds to feel the tension that this creates in your shoulder area before breathing out (try giving a big sigh) and letting your shoulders drop downwards to release the tension. You can repeat this a couple of times as required.

It's amazing how effective this simple exercise can be in reducing shoulder and neck tension.


There are so many wonderful books that can help us to enhance our skills. In this section I will share details of some of my particular favourites that I use regularly. These books will cover lots of topics associated with dance teaching (and many different dance genres) so I am sure there will be something to interest you.

I will begin by reminding you of the FREE copy of my book Preparation for Performance for Highland Dancers that you can download from the Freebies page. And before you think that it does not apply to you because it is written for Highland Dancers, take a look and you will see that the techniques and skills can be adapted for other dance genres too. To go to the Freebies page click here.