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Home > Dance Performance

A Cut Above the Rest: Moving Past the Plateau

Aspiring professional dancers need to go above and beyond to gain a cut above the competition. Dancers today are stronger, more flexible and more talented than ever. It takes real focus and dedication to really get that extra edge one needs to get noticed.

Oftentimes dancers hit a plateau. They find that their technique is only being maintained rather than being improved, despite their hard work and dedication. Oftentimes, supplementation outside of dance class is necessary. The body gets used to dance movement after so many years.

Sometimes a dancer needs to step outside the realm of dance, to gain the improvement they are seeking. Additional conditioning can help a dancer’s body move past that plateau, and start improving again on flexibility, strength, endurance and performance. There are several ways to awaken a flat-lining technique:

    Hit the Gym

    Many dancers avoid weight lifting because they think they’ll get “big and bulky”. This is the farthest from the truth. A weight lifting routine can give a dancer just the boost he or she may be looking for. It not only lends strength to the body and definition to the muscles, but it helps prevent injury as well. A weight lifting routine will also increase stamina for the most demanding dance schedule!

    Cardio classes and machines are also a great way to gain that extra big of stamina and endurance that may come in handy during long rehearsals or classes. Focus on turning IN while running. Focus on another technique such as kickboxing, step aerobics or any cardio aerobic class. Get dancing out of the mind and focus purely on another technique of exercise. It will work muscles in another way which will strengthen the entire instrument.

    woman weight lifting

    Practice Yoga

    An added yoga routine will increase a dancer’s flexibility and strength. Not only will it help the overall sense of balance, but it will increase concentration and focus. Yoga focuses on solid movement and balance, with a relaxed mind, body and spirit. Imagine adopting that same concept to dance…
    Yoga is great for breath control as well and it can loosen up a stressed dancer. It brings the focus inward to the spirit and develops energy from a sense of well-being. Try adding in a yoga class one or twice a week and see the benefits start working immediately!

    yoga girl

    Pilates is Key

    Pilates was actually developed for dancers by dancers. This exercise system teaches proper body alignment and strengthens core muscles greatly and gently. There are Pilates studios popping up all over the place now, this form of exercise used to be very rare to find! Only the top dancers in New York were given the privilege of working with such pristine equipment and therapists.

    Pilates therapy not only strengthens and aligns the body, but it is also a great rehabilitation therapy for the injured dancer. Pilates includes mat work which focuses on strengthening the core. Pilates also involves apparatuses that are specially designed to strengthen and stretch a dancer's muscles to increase that elongated look and feel, both of which are essential to a developed dancer.

    Pilates exercise dancer woman

    Massage is Necessity

    Most working dancers already swear by massage therapy to aid their aching muscles. When the muscles are overloaded, they build up too much lactic acid. Muscles that are not tended to end up with knots, tension, soreness and aches. Massage therapy helps work out the tension and the knots, and it aids the muscles through the rigor of dancing. Many ballet companies have a massage therapist on staff for their dancers - it’s that necessary.

    Massage therapy is needed to stretch and relax a dancer’s overworked muscles so they can dance at their optimum level without interruption. All dancers need to add massage to their regimens twice a month at the very least!

    massage woman

Every dancer needs to make sure they are in top form to make it in the competitive world of dance. Sometimes dance just alone won’t give one a “cut above the rest”. It is those who go above and beyond that really shine. Even a full time dancer can find time in their schedule to make sure they are in top form. This way any challenges that come their way will be met with equal ability.

All those who made a name for themselves in the world of dance, have certainly gone a step farther than the average dancer. Only those who take it that extra mile, will find their gold at the end of the rainbow. So be proactive about it and branch out to find that extra push needed to really shine. It will be our little secret.

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