Updated: Aug 13
Whether it's recital time, competition season or the week leading up to a performance, it's important for dancers to understand the best ways to take care of yourself.
Before you head into long hours of rehearsals and high energy performances, let’s go over a few key things to keep you healthy and injury free.
Prep your bag
Shoes and costumes are a given, but don’t forget your self-care tools! You want to keep these things easily accessible so you can take good care of your body while backstage and between shows. I always recommend a travel foam roller, tennis/lacrosse balls or massage stick. Want to know my other recommendations? Head over to my Instagram where I recently posted “what’s in your dance bag”— you can check it out here.
Know when to heat and ice
This is something every dancer needs to know and understand well at any point in the season, not just performance time. Want to learn when to use heat versus ice?
Click here for my FREE Heat vs. Ice Guide- save it on your phone or print it out for your dance bag!
Back off from any cross training or exercise program prior to and during show week
You are about to seriously ramp up your dance intensity so first and foremost, you do not want to risk getting hurt. Secondly, you need to give your body adequate time to recover so you are in top shape for performances. Doing conditioning exercises too close to show week will only contribute to further fatigue, and will not lead to any fast improvements in strength or endurance.
Schedule a wellness visit with your PT
Even if you don’t have a current injury, this is the perfect time to check in, ask questions and to make sure you are as healthy as possible leading into show week. As intensity ramps up, so do injuries and it is always best to be on the preventative side of things.
Get enough sleep
Want to perform at the top of your game? Then I really cannot stress this one enough! Proper rest and recovery are essential for keeping your body pain and injury free during busy times. Remember, as fatigue increases so does your risk of injury, so stay ahead of the game and get some SLEEP!
Take care of your biscuits with a relaxing DIY foot soak
Epsom salt baths at the end of the day are gold. Not only are they the perfect time to get in some well-deserved R+R after hours of dancing on a hard stage, but they help fight bacteria and odor. If you have spent any time in a green room, you know fighting odor is imperative!!
To prepare: place ~1 cup of salt in a basin of water (use a little more if you are soaking in a full tub) and add a few drops of your favorite essential oils (I have had great success with tea tree or lavender oil). Soak for 10-20 minutes, and maybe do a little meditation while your at it.
Have your PT on speed dial
You have probably heard me say this a million times before, but it is so true. Every dancer should have a PT that they know and love (some of you may even be lucky enough to have a PT backstage). Don’t be afraid to call or see your PT at the first sign something is off. They will make sure you get through the rest of your performances with as little pain and limitation as possible.
And after it’s all said and done…
Take a week off, from class and exercise. Allow yourself time to properly recover, you deserve it! If there is one thing I know, it is that dancers do not like to rest. But trust me, your body will thank you later!
If you suffered any type of injury make sure to see your doctor, PT, massage therapist, etc for recovery-based treatments. Don’t let pain and injury linger over the next few weeks, be sure to nip it in the bud so you are ready for then next round of rehearsals.
It is no secret that performance and competition weeks can be intense, so listen to your body and take good care of yourself. And most of all.. have fun and enjoy every minute!
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