The kicks, leaps and poses involved in dance require extensive flexibility. Improving your flexibility not only leads to a greater range of motion for your muscles, it also relieves stress, improves your performance and even prevents injury. Stretching is also an important component in a warm up that readies your body for performance or practice. Stretch daily for the best results, and in all cases, never stretch to the point that you feel pain. Because flexibility is such an important part of dance, at TIDC Performing Arts Adelaide we have introduced a compulsory class for advanced level dance program students. These classes consist of strengthening work, followed by flexibility working within each child’s ability. Acrobatics is also being introduced with further work on flexibility and the introduction of tricks, this is available for all levels and will be starting from Under 8 this year.
Whether dancing to classical, modern, jazz or hip-hop music, dancers require a tremendous amount of strength and flexibility to bring the music to life through their bodies. Although your daily life may not require you to lift your leg toward the sky or bend over backwards, dance stretches to increase flexibility can help you avoid injury in your regular activities.
Before you start your dance workout, you need to warm up and ready your body for action. Dynamic or active stretching is the type of stretching you should use in your warm up. After a five to 10 minute period of light cardiovascular activity, perform a routine of dynamic stretches including all of the muscle groups in your body. Use the same routine each day so that you do not omit any muscle groups. Start with small motions, increasing the range of the motion with each repetition. Perform the motion at a slow and steady pace.
To improve flexibility, you also need to incorporate static stretching in your training plan. Static stretching involves stretches that are held in a stationary position. This type of stretching is best done at the end of your workout or dance class, when your muscles are thoroughly warmed up and extremely supple. In a stretching position, lower your body into the stretch until you feel a gentle pull in the belly of your muscle. In addition to improving your flexibility, static stretching at the end of your workout can serve as a cool down period and reduce soreness after your workout.
Requirements – uniform, bare feet.