If you have been dancing for a while, you are probably tired of hearing your instructors tell you over and over again how important it is to stretch. But it’s true. One of the best things you can do to protect your body from the intense strain of long dance practices is to adequately stretch before and after each practice.
Stretching is also the key to improving your dancing ability. It can help you increase your flexibility, strengthen your technique and improve your lines and range of motion, while avoiding injury. You put hours into learning and practicing routines, but stretching is just as important to your success as a dancer.
Stretching helps blood flow to your muscles and cartilage to help them relax. Stress makes your body contract, which makes your muscles more stiff and builds tension that is counterproductive to good dancing. Stretching helps ease this stress by releasing endorphins that make us relax. Stretching before dance practice helps relieve that tension and calm any nerves you may feel. This helps you practice and perform better.
If you’ve ever felt aching pains after a long week of dance practices, it could be that repetitive movements have strained your muscles and pulled them into directions they shouldn’t be. Stretching helps realign these muscles and relieve that pain. Aligned muscles also help correct your posture by lengthening tight muscles.
Most serious dancers are always looking for new ways to improve their flexibility. One of the best ways to do that is by stretching every day. Stretching can help you improve your kicks, splits, arabesques, leaps and turn outs. Without adequate stretching, you may find it more difficult to perform many of the exercises in your routines. If you’re having trouble with your flexibility, try stretching more.
When stretching, it’s extremely important that you stretch the right muscles in the right way. Speak to your instructor about the best way for you to stretch before and after each practice. Start slow and listen to your body to avoid injury.