A little over a generation ago, the field of dance medicine barely existed, but today we are fortunate to have access to orthopedists, podiatrists, chiropractors, psychologists, physical and massage therapists, many of whom specialize in treating dancers.
Today’s dancers are much better off at treating and preventing injuries than the dancers of yore. Teachers, too, are now more aware of the importance of safe and thorough education.
According to a study recently published in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 90 percent of professional dancers who suffered an injury reported feeling tired at the time of the injury. 80 percent injured themselves while doing high-intensity work, and 79 percent had danced at least five hours before the injury. The results speak for themselves and ballet dancers need to learn to take care of their bodies. If you feel like you’re exhausted and need a break, take it and don’t force yourself to walk the floor one last time.
Ballet dancers must aim to plan realistic schedules with enough time between classes and performances for adequate rest. Be extra careful and diligent during periods of intense dancing, such as when you have extra rehearsals or late-night performances. Make sure you get enough rest and eat well. Pay careful attention to your warm-up and stretching exercises, and most importantly, listen to your body.
Also make sure you get enough sleep. Athletes need more sleep than non-athletes, just as teenagers need more sleep than adults. Busy people often deny themselves the sleep they so desperately need to function optimally.
Here are some more pointers to help you as a ballet dancer avoid injury and get the most out of your ballet dancing.
- Always stretch and warm up before dancing – this is a must.
– Wear shoes that fit well and are in good condition – your feet must last you a lifetime.
– If your muscles feel tired and tight, adjust your activity level.
– Dance on a smooth and preferably sprung floor with a non-slip surface.
– Absolutely avoid dancing on concrete.
– Work on strengthening your weaker muscles to avoid joint injuries.
If care is taken and ballet dancers learn to take care of their health and listen to their bodies, they will enjoy ballet dancing well into middle and old age.
Thanks to Michel Maling