How to avoid terrible dance injuries
Dance injuries can, at best, see performers drop out of shows and, at worst, end careers – but how can dancers avoid getting them?
Mandy News talks to a string of professional dancers working in ballroom, tango, hip hop, solo, and swing dancers for their top tips.
"After I smashed my 5th left metatarsal and spent 6 weeks on crutches when a move went wrong I took a fresh look at how I was using my body. I walk my dog Bou Bou every day, take great care of my feet and book immediate physio appointments if anything comes up. Doing the warm ups is pretty easy, it’s the cool downs where most people fall short. Do something daily that supports your overall strength and agility but isn’t tied to your career - eg. yoga, martial arts, climbing. Take the time to find your own body’s needs regarding self-care."
Velody – Swing dancer.
"At the beginning of my career, I was juggling different semi-professional projects at the same time as it was all part time projects. I ended up dancing from 10a.m. to 10p.m. with travel time between studios taking up the time in between rehearsals. One of the rehearsals was happening on concrete floor and I ended up getting an injury a day before the premier. Since then I decided that I won’t rehearse on concrete, I warm up, cool down and go and see a physio or masseuse before anything happens AND have a bath when I worked hard but need to carry on the next day."
Yukiko Masui – Hip Hop, Ballroom Latin and Contemporary dancer – read her full interview here.
"I think an injury is feedback from your body that you are not working right, unless it’s an accident. Sometimes can be that you are overworking a particular muscle and the others are weak. Other times you are forcing your body without building up to it gradually and mindfully.
"In my experience you are much more likely to get injured when you are feeling sad or depressed and/or loose concentration. I think taking care of your mental health is one of the best ways of preventing them. Making sure you are 100% engaged with what you are doing. Eating well is another really important thing. We are what we eat. Food literally becomes our muscles and bones, so you should try to eat a balanced, healthy diet. And of course what we all know: warm up before exercise and cool down after."
Neus Gil Cortes – Contemporary dancer and choreographer – read her full interview here.
"I think Pilates is the best for protecting yourself from injury, great for alignment and strength, I’m really bad at going but I tell everyone else to! There were lots of injuries when we were training due to the heavy and intense demand on our bodies, and long hours. I was lucky and managed to get through with 1 very minor injury but there were dislocated knees, broken bones and lots of shin splints."
Jennifer Fletcher – The Mostly Everything People co-founder – read her full interview here.