Everyone wants to avoid injury, but for dancers, injury is the enemy. Injury can put you out of commission for months, the rest of the year, even for life. Even a minor injury can throw you off. The time spent out of practice as you recover will make it difficult to be as flexible as you were before the injury when you finally get back to dance. Dancers have to be vigilant about their health and safety to ensure that they don’t have to miss out due to an injury.
Shoes that Fit
Dance shoes that don’t quite fit might seem like a minor inconvenience, just a little uncomfortable, but they can lead to big problems. Dancers put their feet through a rigorous workout every time they rehearse or take the stage. If your shoes are too tight and pinch, you’ll end up with blisters and chafing that will eventually make the movements painful. If your shoes are too loose or don’t offer enough support, they can make your movements sloppy and tripping. Bad dance shoes can cause bruises from impact injuries or sprains, so it’s important to make sure your shoes fit. It’s one thing to feel a snug, comfortable fit when you first try them on. If the shoes still provide the right amount of comfort and support after you finish practice, you know you’ve found a good fit.
Choose the Dance Class that’s Right for You
Just like your shoes need to be a good fit, your style of dance and your dance class need to be the right fit for personality as well as your fitness level. Not everyone can do ballet, and not everyone can do hip-hop dance or contemporary. You know your limits better than anyone, so respect them and never push yourself too far with a style of dance that isn’t working. The sentiment of “dancing through the pain” might sound tough, but more often than not, it just leads to injury. It’s also important to find a dance class with an instructor who prioritizes health and safety.
Drink Lots of Fluids and Stick to a Healthy Diet
If you stay healthy in all other aspects of your life, you’ll stay healthy as a dancer. Eating healthy portions of balanced food is important to your well-being in general, but it can also improve your dance skills. Similarly, it’s important to drink lots of fluids, especially on dance day. If you eat too little or too heavily or if you’re dehydrated, you’ll find yourself quickly worn out by the intensive workout of dance. Take care of your body and you’ll both feel better and be more resilient against injury.
Don’t Neglect Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs
Going from standing in place to strenuous flexes and constant movement can be a jarring change for the body. Without warm-ups, it can lead to strains and stiffness. Again, it’s important to know your body and your limits and not to push yourself too far. Ease yourself into a dance routine with gentle warm-ups to loosen your joints and muscles. After the hard work of the routine, ease into rest with a light cool-down. The cool-down process is just as important as the warm-up. It keeps your muscles and joints from locking up and keeps your body from being stiff for the rest of the day.
Health and safety are essential for dancers. While dance can help you find the drive to push your boundaries, it’s also important to know when to stop pushing. Pace yourself. Through constant practice and the support of your team, you’ll get there, but to do that, you have to take care.