3 Things That Will Make You a Better Dancer (That Aren’t Just Dancing)
Dancers, especially when they first start out, are always looking for tricks and techniques to improve their dancing skills. While the reality is that the number one way to become a better dancer is simply to dance more (preferably with a good instructor and team), there are things dancers need to be doing if they want to be at their best. So here’s Myriad’s guide to three things that will make you a better dancer!
This isn’t the most exciting thing, but it’s arguably THE most important thing a dancer needs to remember to do. Studies have found that even mild dehydration causes a lot of problems – including a decrease in motor function. So you really want to avoid it! Children are often more susceptible to dehydration than adults, so if you’re the parent of a dancer, try to make sure they’re drinking plenty of water. For active children, this can be anywhere from 7-10 cups of water a day. This sounds like a lot, but by spacing it throughout the day, it’s an easy thing to make a habit out of. For example, by having 2 cups of water upon waking up, 1-2 cups with every meal, and 1-2 after school, that’s already 6-10! Adults can follow the same routine. Oh, and also important is to bring a water bottle to dance class!
Building and Maintaining Flexibility:
Dancers often have to move their bodies in ways that most people don’t. Dance requires movements that can put unprepared dancers at an increased risk for muscle injuries. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to massively reducing that risk: working on flexibility. Dancers should be stretching 5 days a week. All they need to do is warm up for a few minutes, and start doing stretches, holding each for around 30 seconds. Building flexibility takes time, but with consistent practice, the results and benefits can’t be understated. If you or your child isn’t sure of what stretches to do, Myriad’s dance teachers can help you with figuring out a good stretching routine that meets you and/or your child’s needs.
Dancers perform their best when their bodies are in a relaxed state. A good warmup can help release tension and loosen stiff muscles. Relaxation can also be practiced throughout the day. For example, right now, sit up with good posture. Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. Then think about relaxing each muscle in your body. Take your time. Start with your forehead, move down to your jaw, your neck, your shoulders. Stretch out your legs and and toes and let your feet just rest against the floor. Consciously let go of the stress you’ve got built up in your body. You can spend 30 seconds doing this, or 30 minutes if you want. The idea is to get used to physically relaxing, and become aware of the differences in your body when it’s relaxed compared to when it’s tense.
Now we’ve got a little challenge for you – whether you’re a dancer, the parent of a dancer, or both – and any dancers in your home. Drink some water, do some light stretching, and go through that relaxation routine. Then put on one of your favorite songs for dancing to, and dance! Don’t try to be perfect, just have fun, express yourself, and let yourself unwind to the music. Which reminds me, there’s one more thing…
MYRIAD’S FOURTH SUPER IMPORTANT THING THAT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER DANCER:
Remember that dancing should make you happy. A dancer’s personal enjoyment of and love for dance should always come first. Don’t let yourself or your child lose sight of that.