Cross-Train Like David Hallberg: His Stair Running Regimen
David Hallberg was recovering from Achilles tendinopathy, one of the treatments that the Australian Ballet rehab team gave him was a stair running exercise. "This is an exercise David needs to continue to do forever, every day," says AB's principal physiotherapist Sue Mayes.
The basic idea is to run up and down flights of stairs to the beat of a metronome in order to monitor and challenge the intensity and volume of loading on the Achilles tendon. The exercise simultaneously strengthens the tendon and provides a cardiovascular workout.
Try it: Begin in a gradual way, taking slow steps up and down stairs on a low relevé. The goal is to find a position where the heel is lifted but can remain stable (this may be half the height of your normal relevé). At first, the ankle should not move at all as you take slow steps up and down. Maybe it is only a few stairs, or one flight to start. Eventually, you can add more stairs/flights.
Why use a metronome? Setting a steady beat ensures an uniform pace. "Keeping a consistent pace with a metronome helps both on a cognitive level and to maintain a consistent tendon load," explains Mayes. The tempo should be slow at first, to allow you to control the alignment of your ankle. Gradually, you can increase the speed.
The goal: As you increase speed and the number of stairs over time, you can add more range of motion in your ankle, and the slow steps you have been practicing can develop into more of a bounding type of action up and down.
Hallberg's approach: To keep his Achilles tendon strong and resilient, Hallberg now does this daily, for a 20-minute interval, skipping steps on the ascent to a beat of 165BPM.
Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.
Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.
We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.
A previous lab cycle. Photo by Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade, Courtesy RRR Creative
Choreographic incubator Broadway Dance Lab has recently been rechristened Dance Lab New York. "I found the nomenclature of 'Broadway' was actually a type of glass ceiling to the organization," says choreographer Josh Prince, who founded the nonprofit in 2012.