Barb and Edwin pose after teaching the Salsa Athletics drills to the
University of Maryland's field hockey team. The team members could
not be pictured for reasons of privacy.
U. of Maryland field hockey students practicing Salsa footwork drills
for cross-training. They could not be pictured beyond their feet
for reasons of privacy according to the university's rules.
Above: DanceInTime performing on the dugout at a Bowie Baysox
(minor league baseball) game between innings, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo 2012.
Testimonial from Missy Meharg,
Coach for University of Maryland
The following was posted on
the U of MD Website on March 28, 2013.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland field hockey team will open its spring
competition schedule this weekend when James Madison and American come
to College Park Saturday....
"The next two competition weekends will serve the 2013 team well as we
prepare our squad for the fall," head coach Missy Meharg said.
"Competing with American, James Madison, Princeton, Syracuse and a
talented post-eligibility team of our 2012 seniors is a solid
opportunity to see our players' development since January. The women
have been working hard on their technical skills. After a fun-filled
segment of 'hockey salsa' with dance instructor Barbara Bernstein, our
deception and balance has improved. We look forward to the
DANCING TO PROMOTE
Research has shown that dance instruction improves:
Coordination & Timing
Rapid Changes of Direction
Muscle Isolations (legs versus arms)
there is no dance that's more fun than Salsa!!
Director Barb Bernstein develops sport-specific drills to
address any issues the coach wants to work on.
All-male teams do Salsa footwork drills (solo dancing like tap
dancing). All-female or mixed teams blend footwork with partnership
In both cases, the dance practice translates to improvements
on the playing field.
To read more details about the program, scroll down this page to
reads Barb's biography and relevant articles.
Barbara at any time to discuss a program for your team (301-9806043; BarbBtalks at aol dot com)!
Biography for Barbara Bernstein
Barbara Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Human Development from the
University of Maryland, and has an extensive dance background. She
has taught dance full time for nearly 15 years at all levels---from
children to adults and from beginners to professional dancers.
Bernstein has written and published articles on educational
psychology, and teaches credit classes at the University of
Maryland's Department of Kinesiology and at the George Washington's
Exercise Science Department. Students not only learn dance
steps but they read about research on dance and well-being/fitness.
To harness the beneficial effects of dancing, Bernstein also runs team building programs
for schools and workplaces. And Barb has taught/performed in the DC area as well as
Miami, NYC, Philadelphia, Vancouver, San Francisco, Puerto Rico,
Articles on How Dance Improves Athletic Skills
1. Simple Things You Can Do To Be a Better Athlete: Part I; A Blog
For The Ever Improving Ballplayer, posted by Franco on March 14,
Item #2 states: "While
dancing can be fun, it also will help your
footwork, coordination and balance, which are all positives on the
ball field. It is usually fairly easy to find free or cheap dance
lessons no matter where you live. I prefer salsa dancing, but there
are plenty of other types of ball room dancing that are great."
2. Zumba Builds Cardio and Improves Footwork; USA TODAY High School
Sports, by Sarah Gearheart, August 20, 2012.
"Zumba is a Latin…dance
workout that combines fast-paced steps and movements performed to
the beat of high-energy international music…..Let us help you mix up
your routine with unique and fun (but not easy) workouts that build
strength, speed, power and improve balance and flexibility…..Each
choreographed routine involves constant changes of direction, which
helps improve coordination.
“A lot of times athletes don’t think
of going to a dance class to help improve their performance,” Jones
Zumba’s other key
benefits, such as body awareness, rhythm and footwork, are
advantageous for just about any athlete."
Fancy Footwork; Baltimore Sun, by Consella Lee, Sun Staff Writer,
Jan. 18, 1995.
"You might expect male high school
athletes spinning and twirling their way through dancing
lessons to hear some teasing from their classmates. But not at Glen
Burnie High School…The dance
for athletes class (is) the brainchild of Dianne Rosso, the dance
teacher at the high school.
Dancing lessons help athletes improve their agility, flexibility,
coordination, stamina and footwork on the playing field, said Ms.
Rosso, who started the class last fall with 12 boys and four girls.
"The footwork is particularly helpful
for soccer and football
players," she said. Meanwhile, others have become interested in her
dance for athletes class, she said, and many stop by while class is
going on to see what it's all about.
"This has become a phenomenon here. Kids
come by here every day and look in the room. I've got a lot of guys
saying, 'I'll be there next semester," said Ms. Rosso. "In my 23
years of teaching, I've never seen anything like this. It's like a
4. How Does Dance Class Make One A
Better Athlete?; Livestrong.com, by Janet Renee,
Feb. 29, 2012.
"Taking a dance class can improve your athleticism by increasing
your balance, flexibility and endurance -- desirable attributes for
many sports. Dancing promotes lean muscles,
agility and helps develop a strong foundation that you can apply to
the sports you participate in. Taking a dance class can help you
become strong, faster and more powerful."
5. Why Football Players Dance So Well; Blogs: Play Better, by Pete
Williams, October 14, 2008.
"(Warren Sapp), the athletes' performance coach who has worked with
NFL pros such as Brett Favre, Matt Hasselbeck, and Deuce McAllister,
believes…moves on the football field translate well to the dance
"With any elite NFL lineman I've worked with, their feet are their
number one asset, Croner says. "So when you look at the game and how
it's played, it's all leverage, the right positioning and moving the
feet to get into position. You have to be strong and physical in
football, but the guys who really excel are the ones who move
efficiently. When you talk dance moves, it's the same thing.
Croner says the stop-and-go nature of football emulates dance
movements. The acceleration and deceleration of dancing comes
to football players, as it also would to soccer players and
basketball veterans. “What people miss about football is that it’s
not just based on speed,” Croner said. “Everything is based on
accelerating and decelerating, starting and stopping. It’s not like
a running back gets the handoff and runs straight through. He has to
change direction. The same is true with wide receivers. It’s all
about stopping and changing direction and being able to control your
body so you can move efficiently.”
Effective dancing requires a strong pillar, mobility and stability.
But the key is lateral movement, much like with football."
6. "Why the 49ers Love to Stretch:
San Francisco's Players Believe Their Fixation With Stretching Has
Given the Team an Edge" by Kevin Clark;
Wall Street Journal, Jan. 16, 2013.
This is an interesting article about
stretching exercises that the San Francisco 49ers do, which they
think gives them a competitive edge over other teams. I regard this
theme as similar to the advantages of learning dance drills to help
on the playing field. Both subjects are about unconventional
workout routines that improve athletic performance.
Furthermore, the article says that stretches are a type of exercise
which (like dance), are generally preferred by women. But the
49ers' coaches are so sure that this gives them a competitive edge
on the playing field, that they refuse to talk about their
stretching routines----"ostensibly for competitive reasons."
"Men, even when they are highly paid athletes, have a hard time
accepting that flexibility is a crucial component of fitness, said
Tony Horton, creator of the P90X workout videos. A collection of 12
workout tapes, P90X is wildly popular among people—including
professional athletes—who want to get or stay buff. But for many
men, the most difficult part of P90X is…. its relentless call for
stretching and warming up."
"Linebacker Clark Haggans arrived in San Francisco this year and
wasn't surprised to hear the training staff address the four major
types of lifting weights. He was surprised, however, that they spent
just as much time talking about flexibility, requiring players at
different positions to perform different stretches."
to Enhance Other Sports!" Posted 11/16, 2011 in the blog of the
Elite Dance Academy in Colorado.
The article says that athletes can benefit from dance training in
these areas: agility, balance, endurance, flexibility. Plus, dance
is a form of athletic training that can be done year-round.
8. "Ballet Training for Athletes" by Shelly Stone in
Yahoo Voices, July 24, 2007.
She says that "many athletes use dance and ballet to cross-train and
improve their physical skills. … Ballet improves strength,
flexibility , coordination, dexterity, and agility… (so it
complements) just about any sport." Football players Lynn Swann and
Hershel Walker are cited as athletes who have studied ballet to
supplement their workouts. And she mentions that "Some classes
geared towards athletes…integrate the dance moves with
9. "Leveling the Playing Field" by Emily Macel Theys,
Dance Magazine online.
She quotes Martha Graham as saying that a dancer is an "athlete of
God." Theys draws some interesting parallels, pointing out that
second position plie (a knee bend) is the same stance as a free
throw in basketball. She again mentions Lynn Swann who touts the
benefits of dance and studied not jut ballet, but tap and jazz for
years. Swann is quoted as saying these dances helped with body
control, balance, rhythm and timing. Swann even appeared with in a
1980 TV special with dancers Gene Kelly, Peter Martins, and Twyla
Tharp. And listen to this: According to the article, a dance studio
in San Francisco has competed with U. of California athletes to see
who is faster, stronger and more agile. The dancers surprised
everyone by beating the basketball players, the water polo team, and
the track and field athletes among others!
10. "Cognitive Benefits of Creative Dance To Athletes," by
Sara Ipatenco, Jan. 25, 2012 in Livestrong.com.
This article says that not only is dance a good workout, but it
sharpens mental acuity and helps athletes on the field. Creative
dancing requires making quick decisions about the next movements
according to Stanford University which is important as well in
sports. Dancing with a partner, in particular, improves awareness
of what is happening around you and forces the dancer to pay close
attention, also skills that help in sports. The article quotes a
2010 study in "Front Aging Neuroscience" journal that found that
dancing forces several parts of the brain to work together which
helps people learn new things. This in turn makes it easier to learn
new techniques for playing sports.
"Music in Sport and Exercise: An Update on Research and
Application," By Costas Karageorghis and David-Lee Priest in The
Sport Journal, published by the United Staes Sports Academy, ISSN:
This article cites
scholarly research on the effects of doing exercises to music, and
the conclusions are strong and hard-hitting. The body's
physiological processes were found to react to music's rhythm and
the lyrics had an impact on emotions. The result was that music and
imagery enhance muscular endurance. Two time gold medalist Dame
Kelly Homes is quoted as using songs like "Kiilling Me Softely" in
her pre-event routine at the Athens Games in 2004. Scientific
studies are cited that showed music helping people learn motor
skills too. And research has been shown to "promote flow states."
There is so much powerful information on how music helps with
physical effort in this article, and research cited, it is worth
reading in full…
"Optimal Music for the Gym: Researchers Say The Right
Tempo Boosts Stamina, Energy Efficiency" By Sumanthi Reddy;
Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2013, page D1 (Personal
This article makes a strong statement about the value of music to
enhance athletic performance. It said that, "new studies have shown
that when athletes synchronize their movements to a musical beat,
their bodies can handle more exertion: Treadmill walkers had greater
stamina and cyclists required less oxygen uptake. And swimmers who
listened to music during races finished faster than others who
didn't…… A study published last year in the Journal of Sports
Medicine and Physical Fitness found that cyclists who synchronized
their movements to music reduced oxygen uptake by as much as 7%...."
Listening to music lowers the perceived level of exertion according
to Gershon Tenenbaum, director of a graduate program in sport and
exercise psychology at Florida State University. David-Lee Priest,
a researcher at the University of East Anglia in England, explains
that "the unpleasant feedback from exercising, such as difficulty
breathing, sweating or stiff muscles, is transferred to the brain
using the sensory nervous system." But listening to music
interferes with this transmission. "Before you become aware of the
fatigue the music will block out the sensations of fatigue and
effort so you won't fully notice them," he says.
Above: Barb Bernstein
Above: Teaching Salsa to the Ravens Cheer Squad.