Flexibility is something all dancers strive for. Dancers must be flexible to accomplish and advance in the challenging techniques and choreography of all dance styles. In order to increase flexibility as a dancer, it is important that we incorporate stretching into our daily lives and the technique classes we take. Stretching can sometimes be tedious, especially for dancers who are not naturally flexible, but is 100 % necessary to growing and improving as a dancer. Tight muscles can sometimes be the only thing holding us back from achieving our goals!
Stretching has many other benefits besides just increasing flexibility. Stretching can relieve muscle tension that we build up after long hours of dance class or rehearsal. It will also improve posture and alignment, as well as build balance and coordination. Spending time stretching forces a dancer to focus on their body, which can also help increase body awareness.
It is important that dancers always stretch after properly warming up their body. Stretching while your body is cold can be detrimental and sometimes even cause injury. A warm up can be anything that increases body temperature and wakes up the muscles. This can be anything from jogging, to completing a full ballet barre. Once the body is warmed up, start with small stretches, and work your way up to big stretches like splits. Lastly, it is important to stretch several times a week for at least 30 minutes, and not just once or twice a week for a few minutes.
At Atlanta Dance Central, we have flexibility classes throughout the summer to help dancers improve this skill. We have also added a turns, leaps, and flexibility to our schedule that runs throughout the school year. Stretching can benefit your dancing in a number of ways, so make sure you make it part of your every day routine!