What is the relationship between being a dancer and being a singer? The training for both is so segregated, but should it be? Host Alexa Terry is joined on this week’s episode of the Singing Teachers Talk by osteopath and former ballet dancer and singer, Jennie Morton. Find out about the work Jennie does with her clients in LA.
- A dancer is trained to keep their belly in and tense, whereas a singer is told to relax it and let it out. This disconnect can present challenges for dancers who want to learn how to sing.
- Jennie teaches students who trained as dancers to change the way they breathe as sucking your abs in (as dancers typically do) prevents the diaphragm from going all the way down.
- Most dancers are trained to do things on an inhale. If you can correct this to an exhale then the body is in a stable but relaxed state.
- Muscles work in pairs, it’s a push and pull relationship. This can also be seen as a stabilising relationship where if one over works then the other has to work harder to balance it, if not you’ll fall over.
- People can get very locked into their own technique and over-think every process. While technique is important, it’s just the scaffolding to our voice so don’t obsess over it. The muscle memory will be there, let your brain let go and be creative.
“That was my Pavlovian conditioning when I stepped on stage”
“It’s about stability and rigidity”
“The body will always do the most efficient thing”
“What show on Earth do you stand on a postage stamp and sing?!”
- BAST Training
- Voice and Dance Technique Integration – Triple Threat or Double Trouble?
- Kegel ‘pelvic floor’ exercises (Arnold Kegel)
- Kerrie Obert
- Janice Chapman ‘SPLAT’ breath
- Hilliard Discussion 2017 (hosepipe analogy)
- Kenneth Tom – Speech Language Pathologist
- Whipped into Shape from Legally Blonde
- Heathers the Musical (characters Kurt & Ram)
- Duncan Rock
- The Dance Resource Centre LA
- What Do You Do With Your Arms? from Carner & Gregor’s Island Song
- A BAST Educational video: ‘A Holistic Approach to Safe Vocalising’ by Jennie Morton
- The Integration of Voice and Dance Techniques in Musical Theatre: Anatomical Considerations (first published for Medical Problems of Performing Artists Journal)
- Voice and Dance Technique Integration – Triple Threat or Double Trouble (a chapter in a book aimed at a clinical audience)
- Voice and Dance Technique Integration – Triple Threat or Double Trouble (for VASTA journal aimed more at teachers)
- Integrating Voice & Movement Course
ABOUT THE GUEST
After a long performing career as a ballet dancer, West End musical theatre performer, and lead singer of a London big band, Jennie is now a Clinical Osteopath specialising in Performing Arts Medicine. She provides treatment for musculoskeletal, neuro-biological, and psycho-physiological issues from her base in Los Angeles. She also works as a performance coach for singers and actors, focusing on anatomical efficiency, the embodiment of artistry, movement education, and rehabilitation from vocal injury. Jennie co-created the MSc in Performing Arts Medicine at University College, London, and lectures internationally to artists, arts educators, and healthcare professionals on the subject of performance-related injuries. She is the author of three books: The Authentic Performer: Wearing A Mask And The Effect On Health; The Embodied Dancer: A Guide To Optimal Performance; and Dancing Longer, Dancing Stronger. Her website jenniemorton.com contains many of her published articles and educational resources, as well as links to her online courses on a range of health topics.
Link to podcast presenter’s bios