If you’re a dancer, there’s a 99.99 percent chance you’ve seen A Chorus Line. And if you watched A Chorus Line as a dancer, chances are your heart dropped in your stomach when the character Paul San Marco injured his knee toward the end of the play, effectively ending his career.
As a dancer, you can only go as far as your body goes, and when your body breaks down, putting it back together is a huge—though not impossible—feat. While we can’t guarantee you’ll never get sick or injured, we can offer tips for taking care of your body as a dancer.
Do Your Strength Training
As a dancer, it can feel like half your life consists of practicing. How else will you nail your choreography or master that new move? But that straight leg scorpion requires flexibility, and the grand adage requires strength and endurance. And this requires some outside training to build your muscles.
Balance Your Diet
Unfortunately, dancers often face a ridiculous amount of pressure to have a certain body type. And that pressure has sent many dancers down the dark path of not eating enough. But between practice and strength training, you burn a lot of calories, and if you want to sustain those activities, you need the calories to back them up. Consider:
- Carbohydrates: This should be a little over half of your diet. This is an essential source of energy for your body.
- Proteins: This will be about 15 percent of your diet and will help you keep up your muscle strength.
- Healthy fats: That’s right, fats can be healthy. They’re necessary for muscle repair. This will be around 15 percent of your diet.
Along with eating the right things, make sure you don’t skip on drinking water. Otherwise, you risk muscle cramps, fatigue, and injury.
Don’t Push it
We’ve all heard heroic stories of dancers getting injured during a show, gritting their teeth, and somehow managing to shuffle on anyway. While we can’t help but admire people who can go above and beyond for the sake of their art, this is the kind of thing that can turn a small injury into a significant problem. You know your body. Listen to it. And if it’s time to rest, rest.
Constantly performing takes its toll on the mind and the body. After giving it your all, make sure you recharge.
If your back is hurting, stay off your feet for a minute or go get a massage. If your body is tense because of stress, take some time to surround yourself with those who encourage you. It may not seem like much, but simply taking time to rest is one of the best ways to take care of your body as a dancer.