5 tips for dancers to safely follow their dance classes.
This article covers easy to do tips for dancers who want to experience their dance classes to the fullest. Obviously you can go in for your class and just see what happens, but with a little bit more thought you can get even more out of your dancing experience. Let’s see.
- Warm up and small stretches
Go ahead and come at least 15 minutes before your class starts and get into the studio. Make sure you have all your stuff with you and go to the bathroom before class starts. Then go into the room and spend a few minutes with light stretches to wake up your body and prepare for what is to come, namely your dance class. Start with some plié’s to warm up the calf muscles and achilles tendons. Then do some tendu’s to stretch the legs and do some light, small leg swings to open and warm up the hips. Mind you; don’t do big, high and violent leg swings, unless you’re already very warmed up. Otherwise, wait for this until after the grands battements, to avoid injuries.
- Concentration and technique
Keep your attention and your head in your dance class. You will also benefit from mindfulness. Stay in the moment and try not to let your thoughts wander to your shopping list or to-do list after your class. Take your hour of ballet a week to relax and focus on your body, the movements and dancing. I assume you’re following ballet classes because you like it, but also because you want to improve yourself and do more and more. That requires concentration.
Listen carefully to the teacher when she explains something, keep an active learning attitude and practice along when there is an opportunity for that. Everyone knows those dancers who hang against the bar during the explanation and then can’t perform the exercise or dance. And they wonder why. This is due to their inactive attitude.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
During class it is not advisable to drink a lot. The class usually only lasts for 60 minutes. A good time to hydrate is just after the end of the session. Too much drinking before class can also make sure that you have to go to the toilet during class. Then you leave class, miss explanation and break your mindset. Obviously that’s a shame.
In the summer, when the temperatures are higher, the teacher will allow you to take a break to drink in between. Usually between the barre and au mileu exercises. Obviously with higher temperatures you sweat even more and lose more moisture.
So make sure you stay hydrated. This can prevent severe muscle pains. It has been proven that people who are going to exercise with a fluid deficiency, get more muscle pain and simply can’t move well.
- Cooling down
After an hour of dancing, the class comes to its end. Usually the ballet class ends with a joint reverence in front of the mirror. It is advisable to do a small light stretch before you leave the room, for calves, achilles tendons, hamstrings etc. If this is the last class of the day, i’m sure your teacher won’t mind if you stay in the room for another 5 minutes to do this, so that you’ll have a little less muscle pain the next day. Is there a quick change to the next class? Then take a stretch in the hallway or dressing room.
- Take enough rest.
If you’re used to dancing for an hour once a week, your rest period will be fine. Take time to regain your muscle strength and process muscle pain so you become stronger. And, if you follow more classes and trainings per week, it is advisable to go through a rest day in between. So dancing on Tuesdays and Thursdays and take Wednesday as a rest day. Even professional ballet dancers need at least one rest day a week to be able to shine on stage again.
Allright, go ahead and try it. Let me know what you think. And … be safe!