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A Dancer’s Guide to Staying Healthy for a Long-Term Career

A professional career in dancing can sometimes be a tricky one. But with proper discipline, any talented dancer can experience a long and fruitful career. As a novice, the first thing you need to consider is how much time you are willing to invest to hone your skills as a dancer. Do consider how physically and emotionally demanding the job can be too. If you feel like this is really your passion, then by all means go for it.

ExploreTalent oversees numerous talented individuals who have the ability to go far in the dance industry. So we have gathered some helpful tips when it comes to building a long dance career.

Read on below to find out.

1. Stretching

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Many dancers often debate as to whether or not stretching should happen before or after actual dancing. Experts say that a dancer should practice both before and after to reduce chances of injury and improve range of motion. Both factors are important for dancers to remain agile as they continue to constantly put their muscles to work. After doing the basics like knee bending, jogging in place, and swinging arms, do consider dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is done by dancers by tipping their toe forward with their knee bent. Another option is paying attention to your calves by alternatively pressing your heel on the ground.

Every after dancing, make sure to do recovering stretches while paying attention to your back, hamstrings, buttocks, and calves and do side stretches to the ankle.

2. Maintaining proper posture

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As a dancer, you need to know your body and be able to keep it healthy throughout your career. People may be guilty for walking a bit bowlegged as a result of dancing too much, or it may be some sort of mannerism that your body has gotten used to. Either way, you wouldn’t want to create greater stress on your body by shifting your weight to all the wrong places. So maintain proper posture when walking and sitting. You need to be able to stand tall with chest up and shoulders back to allow proper lung expansion and ensure that your muscles are staying as relaxed as possible.

3. Master your turnout

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Turnout in ballet involves the knee and foot to turn outward away from the center of the body. This allows the leg to extend especially when it comes to raising it to the side. Any forced turnout will result in injuries such as patella and anterior knee pain. The turnout should occur in the hip because if it starts in the lateral rotation of the knee joint, it would not only result in a tensed position, but it will leave the dancer susceptible to any future knee injury especially if the practice is prolonged.

Professional dancers are able to perfect their turnout without risking any injury by practicing knee exercises.

4. Rest

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Yes, dancing requires time and a rather grueling schedule, but don’t even think about lasting long if you overwork your body to the point where it cannot function anymore. You will only cause stress and may not be able to perform anymore. So take rests every once in a while to remove the tension in your muscles.

5. Stay conditioned

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As mentioned, dancing is a very physically demanding field of work. A report also shows that professional dancers are at risk to as much injury as athletes are. They often suffer ligaments because of their physically taxing job.

So as a dancer, your body needs to stay conditioned at all costs in order to prevent any of that from happening. You can help improve this by doing exercise and training, do research on whatever works for your body and apply it to your daily routine to ensure optimum health.

Dancers do not dance their whole life. At a certain point, they will need to hang up their shoes and retire. But that doesn’t mean their dance career is over. Many dancers go on to become therapists, since they already have prior knowledge on what works best for the body. Do consider that or try to join guilds that will guide you toward the direction you want to go. Know that the community is supportive each other, so you are bound to get the job you want despite the competitive market.

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