TIPS FOR DANCERS TO ENSURE YOU ARE READY FOR THE NEXT DANCE SEASON
Ask any dancer how they feel about the beginning of any new dance season, and you will most likely get a vast array of answers ranging anywhere from “cannot wait; been counting down the days” to something a bit more nuanced and along the lines of “it’s complicated.” A new dance season brings with it endless possibility, lots of excitement, and new goals, in addition to a bit of nerves and anxiety oftentimes. However, no matter how you are feeling, we want to remind you to honor those emotions, as well as provide you with a few helpful tips for dancers to keep in mind as you leap into this next season.
Of course, there are some (seemingly) obvious tips for dancers that all dancers have heard throughout their lives. Some of these tried-and-true dance tips include sentiments such as making sure you are stretching consistently to keep your muscles limber, focusing on maintaining good posture and continue working on refining your technique.
These are all valuable tips that do make a difference, but we want to provide you with some other tips that go a little bit deeper and most importantly, will hopefully serve as a friendly reminder to take care of yourself and enjoy this next season.
1. FUEL YOUR BODY
Dance is demanding on the body. A crucial dance tip as you gear up for this next dance season is to make sure you are giving your body enough fuel.
Eating nutrient-dense meals rich in all of the macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) is one of the best things you can do to ensure you are able to perform your best and maintain energy throughout the long days.
2. FOCUS ON STRENGTHDancing requires a great deal of strength and stamina to be able to move with grace and agility. Our first dance tip for you is to really prioritize building and maintaining your strength. There are so many wonderful options beyond the studio to complement what you are doing in rehearsals that will help you become a stronger dancer. For example, while the weather is still warm, you could enjoy the benefits of swimming, such as building up your endurance and coordination with a low-impact, full-body workout. Another great option is going to Pilates classes. Pilates is the perfect complementary activity for dance as it focuses on proper alignment of the body to engage the correct muscles during different exercises. Yoga is another fabulous option for helping build strength. Through incorporating breath with movement while holding poses and moving through different flows, you are increasing your strength and endurance, all of which carry over into your dance performance. By focusing on this dance tip and building your strength while enjoying different activities in the process, you will be more balanced, flexible, have better extensions, and improve your overall performance.
3. DON’T FORGET ABOUT RECOVERY
A dance tip that cannot be overstated: give yourself adequate recovery periods. Recovery time is simply essential. Without giving your body enough time to recover, your muscles will become overworked, and not only will your performance be weaker, but you run the risk of injury.
There are so many options available when it comes to recovery, and what works best for one dancer may be completely different for you. Investing in a foam roller might be something to consider. Even simple things like elevating your legs, having a hot bath, or using ice when necessary are all helpful.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
The most important dance tip we can give is to listen to your body, always. If something feels unusually painful or off, don’t push it. If you are feeling exhausted, you should listen to that and give yourself a break. The same is also true if you are feeling energized and good, then perhaps those are good days to spend a little extra time rehearsing. Your body works so hard and is always communicating with you. Don’t be afraid to listen to what it has to say. Moreover, we absolutely love this quote from a letter Boston Ballet principal dancer, Kathleen Breen Combes, wrote to her younger self and feel it offers powerful tips for dancers, no matter where they are in their journey.
“Watch people to learn, not to compare or critique. It’s great to admire pointed feet, high legs and multiple pirouettes, but spend more time watching the approach, the intention, the tilt of the head, and the focus of the eyes. At some point, everyone in the room will be just as talented as you, and the little things will be what set you apart. Become reliable. Use your brain just as much as your body. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want-be strong and know your worth. It’s OK to acknowledge your abilities and fight for them.
Quit hiding your weaknesses. Everyone has them. Strive for perfection in rehearsal, but when you step onstage, know that it’s your imperfections that make you interesting. And don’t be afraid to fail. You’ll learn a lot from your failures. Give it your all-the worst you can be is bad.” Ashkan Image hopes you are feeling positive and hopeful as the new dance season begins. We would love it if these dance tips provided some helpful insight and inspiration. For more inspiration, consider signing up for our newsletter!