Listening to the body

Dancing can take its toll on both body and mind, and some dancers can find they become exhausted by pushing themselves too intensely, and can even become disillusioned. It is important for dancers to look after themselves in order to continue to work at their best throughout their career.

It is imperative to listen to the body to avoid injury, by working correctly and not taking shortcuts or ‘cheating’ movement. Throughout a dancer’s training there is huge emphasis on correct technique, alignment and placement, however performing professionally seems to encourage cheating movements in order to appear more aesthetically pleasing to the audience. This can therefore produce injuries, but this downward spiral can be avoided by listening to aches and pains, regardless of how minor they seem.

During training or learning choreography, dancers often embody the stereotype that dancers do not speak, and do without question. It is important to ask questions, to deepen understanding and clarify different elements. Simultaneously it is important to understand your body’s limits, and work within those for a long and happy dancing career. Taking another technique class to learn new skills or learning from a different teacher can add different viewpoints to dance training, and these different perspectives are important to view training and individual abilities objectively.

Dancers must take care of themselves and their body, be it by ensuring they have adequate rest, the right fuel in the tank to enable them to dance or cross-training with other techniques, to keep the body strong and capable. As with all new dance styles, pay attention to what you are doing and stop if you experience any niggles or pain. Don’t work through an injury: it can cause long term damage to both body and mind.