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Good Vibes: The Best of the Vibrating Workout & Recovery Trend
The latest fitness fad has us literally buzzing. Vibrating tools—and exercise classes—promise added benefits to your typical workout and recovery routine, and they're only growing more popular.
Warning: These good vibrations don't come cheap.
Best for Immediate Soreness Relief: TheraGun G2PRO
Our favorite spots to use the TheraGun were on our quads, back and triceps.
Don't think you're about to get a calming massage when you pick up the TheraGun. Using this device feels more like being lightly punched 40 times per second.
Inventor Jason S. Wersland is a chiropractor who created the tool as a portable treatment device for his patients. He says the unique amplitude and frequency work to override pain signals in the brain, allowing you to achieve the equivalent of a deep tissue massage without the deep tissue discomfort.
It's an intense experience that's already grown popular with professional athletes. We can see why: When testing it out, we found that it temporarily reduced soreness pretty significantly, providing serious relief for at least an hour or two.
The downside? It's about as loud as a power drill—not exactly appropriate for the rehearsal studio or backstage. It's also a serious investment, with a $599 price tag.
Best for After-Rehearsal Recovery: Hyperice Vyper
The Hyperice Vyper leaves your muscles humming
This tool combines vibration with traditional foam rolling to relax the muscles as you roll out. It's less of a rapid punch to the muscles, and more like a continuous shake. (But beware that it can bounce away from you if you're not careful when you release your weight from it.)
Hyperice claims the specifically-designed vibrations help to release fascia, relax muscles and increase circulation. One study—partially funded by Hyperice—found that vibrating foam rollers improve range of motion more than traditional rollers. Starts at $199.
Best for Making Squats & Lunges More Fun: Power Plate
The Power Plate platform gives body weight exercises an extra challenge.
Whole-body vibration platforms like Power Plate aren't meant for massage—they're a workout accessory. You need to be doing exercises like squats and tricep dips on top of it while it shakes your full body to reap the rewards.
These platforms have been around long enough to build up a meaty body of research backing their benefits, from decreased muscle soreness to increased heart rate recovery. Our own study found conclusive evidence that they make boring exercises like squats and lunges a whole lot more challenging—and fun.
Yet with prices ranging from $1,495 to $14,995, these machines are more likely to be found at the gym than in dancers' private homes.
Best for Crazy Instagram Pics: Electric Muscle Stimulation Workout
Doing lunges while your whole body shakes definitely kicks things up a notch. Photo by Chris Fanning.
Classes at the New York City boutique studio Shock Therapy deck out every participant in their own "power suit." The vest and shorts-like combo is studded with electrodes that send pulses of vibrations to cause your muscles to contract. (Imagine a bigger version of the e-stim squares your physical therapist might stick on your muscles at the end of a session to increase blood flow.)
Shockwaves from the suit amp up basic workout moves like jumping jacks and bicep curls during a half hour–long class, led by an avatar that demonstrates what to do while the live instructor controls the intensity of the electrical impulses.
The classes—which first grew popular in Europe—supposedly condense three hours' worth of exercise into 30 minutes. Of course, bold claims like that always make us skeptical. But for anyone willing to drop $55 on a half-hour workout, it's definitely an experience you'll remember long after your sore muscles recover.
"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."
Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.
"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "
When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one:
"Dance isn't for everyone."
This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.
Have a scroll through Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed (@artsyagnes), and you'll notice that in between her ballet shots is a curated mix of lifestyle pics. So what exactly sets her apart from the other influencers you follow? Muljadi has made a conscious effort to only feature natural beauty products, sustainable fashion and vegan foods. With over 500k followers, her social strategy (and commitment to making ethical choices) is clearly a hit. Ahead, learn why Muljadi switched to a vegan lifestyle, and the surprising way it's helped her dance career.
He may not be a household name, but you probably know Brandon Stirling Baker's work. The 30-year-old has designed the lighting for most of Justin Peck's ballets—including Heatscape for Miami City Ballet, and the edgy The Times Are Racing for New York City Ballet—but also Jamar Roberts' new Members Don't Get Weary at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a trio of Martha Graham duets for L.A. Dance Project.
He's been fascinated by lighting ever since he attended a public performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California, where he had his first experiences lighting shows. He also has a background in music (he plays guitar and bass) and in drawing. Both, he says, are central to the way he approaches lighting dance.
Update: Due to an overwhelming response, the in-person audition has been moved to a larger location to accommodate more dancers. See details below.
For the first time in more than 10 years, Janet Jackson is holding an open audition for dancers.
Even better? You could land a spot in her #JTribe simply by posting a video on social media.
What does it take to become an international superstar? Carlos Acosta might have a few ideas.
At the Oxford Literary Festival earlier this month, the BBC sat down with Acosta to ask for his life lessons. His answers—which he says he will pass on to his kids one day—give incredible insight into how he's become such a beloved worldwide success.
The ballet world will converge on San Francisco this month for San Francisco Ballet's Unbound: A Festival of New Works, a 17-day event featuring 12 world premieres, a symposium, original dance films and pop-up events.
"Ballet is going through changes," says artistic director Helgi Tomasson. "I thought, What would it be like to bring all these choreographers together in one place? Would I discover some trends in movement, or in how they are thinking?"