To improve as a dancer you will need to work on your flexibility – ideally some work at least 4 times a week – these could be in class, at home or a dedicated flexibility class.
Aside from just being more flexible the benefits to dancers of improved flexibility are many.
Firstly, you can do more moves, if you are more flexible you can advance basic moves and try new ones, giving you a bigger dance vocabulary.
Secondly, reduced risk of injury. If you have the ability to move more you are less likely to pull or strain a muscle. You will recover better from tougher sessions too.
Style – you can use your flexibility to add your own style to a piece or work or be more inventive in the improvisation times. You can make more use of the floor or the space, you can create new shapes and move in different ways.
You can also move more freely, steps will seem less of a chore if you don’t have to put a much effort into the movement to reach a high kick or to move the body.
Improving your flexibility
We recommend working on your flexibility 4 times a week. Ideally with some gentle stretches each day. This will result in great gains in your ability in a short time.
Daily stretches could include:
- lunges with back leg extended straight
- pike or seated forward fold
- straddle (seated wide V with a reach forward)
- the butterfly (soles of the feet together and knees towards the floor)
- floor to back bend – lifting from flat on your front to stretch the back
You will work out your own routine as you develop as a dancer – just remember to work both sides and don’t over stretch – work within safe limits.
I’d also like to bring your attention to this great piece by The Ballet Blog – “Is Overstretching Bad?” Please do have a read