As state governments begin to ease shelter-at-home restrictions and dance studios slowly start to reopen their doors, dancers likely are experiencing a mix of emotions. There’s excitement about returning to your artistic home and reuniting with your fellow dancers, but also nerves and anxiety about the potential safety risks.
As dance studios across Australia prepare to reopen, studios must-have COVID safe plans in place. Developing a plan for your studio helps ensure the safety, and peace of mind, of your dancers, instructors, as well as your more expansive community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected everyone – every person, every child, every parent, every dancer, every studio owner. After months of isolation at home, some studios have decided to open for live classes.
If you are one of those who will attend a dance class, of course, there are still health protocols for you to follow. And going from couch potato to full-on dance diva overnight can cause a whole new set of challenges in the form of accidents and overuse injuries.
When you come back to dance, you may not be at the same level as before, and you may not be able to do specific movements as quickly.
You could jump right back into split leaps, backflips and gracious arabesques you were previously working on, but there is a high chance you could injure yourself.
It’s best to start slow and work yourself up to where you left off. For example; if you were working on advanced split leaps it’s best to work on your split flexibility and plymetrics.
Conditioning exercises are another excellent way to get back into old moves, especially if they involve a lot of flexibility or strength. It may take a while for your body to adjust, but if you keep practising, you will get back on track in no time.
It is better to start exercising at a slightly less intense pace than you did when you first left off. With time you can gradually increase the intensity with every new workout.
After a break from exercise, warming up and stretching correctly is even more critical, as your flexibility may have decreased, making you more prone to injury and soreness.
Dynamic and PNF stretching can provide many benefits, like preventing injury and ensuring a quicker recovery after intense workouts.
The warm-up phase begins with aerobic movement, but many dancers like to start more gently. If you want to “get the kinks out,” here are some alternatives to static stretching that will do the trick:
- Roll down the spine
- Isolations like head, shoulder, rib, pelvis, wrist and ankle rolls
To increase your body temperature, start with 5 to 10 minutes doing any of the following:
- Brisk walking
- Jumping jacks or small jumps in place
- Light jogging, marching, prancing, skipping (around the room or in place)
- Lunges across the floor
- Push Ups and planks
Then, spend 5 to 10 minutes performing lengthening, full body movements:
- Reaching and bending up, over, forward, and sideways (try one-leg variations to challenge core stability and balance)
- Large arm swings or circles with torso twisting
- Dynamic (moving) series of bridges or other yoga poses
- Body (torso) swings
- Leg swings standing or leg-drop swings lying on your back on the floor
From the fingertips to toes, every body part of a dancer is involved in dance. Every muscle is causing a movement, whether it is relaxing to allow a move or straining to stabilize a joint.
Dancers have to be physically fit, strong, and be able to sail through the rigours of dance performance. A conditioning regime allows dancers to strengthen their bodies and complement their dance training to prevent injuries.