Body awareness is an early skill you began developing as a young dancer … you learned how to coordinate movements together and understand which parts of your body were essential to certain steps. Now as a more advanced dancer, you’re going beyond basic body awareness to understand the deeper knowledge of your anatomy, which leads to stronger dancing!
Keeping an open mind for this new knowledge is essential for grasping key elements of kinesiology and injury prevention. Today in the ballet world, we have a wealth of knowledge and tools available to help us understand how to dance to our highest potential, and for the longest amount of time.
We are big advocates of safe and smart dancing here at the US Prix de Ballet. In this post, we discuss some of the people and tools available for dancers to better understand the science of movement and how to help our bodies operate at their peak.
Physiotherapy, or physical therapy, is one area of dance that is positively booming. Therapists like Lisa Howell of The Ballet Blog are bringing their expertise to the forefront of hands-on teacher training, online reference materials, and social media. Through the influence of physiotherapy, more dancers are able to prevent injuries or more effectively rehabilitate the injuries that do occur. In sports medicine too, we are seeing more dance medicine specialists who are able to offer dancer-specific consultations and services for more effective treatments and recovery.
Cross-training in dance is yet another way ballet dancers are tapping into the knowledge of the experts in anatomy, science, and dance. We already know that Pilates, for example, is an excellent supplemental study for dancers. But did you also know that swimming, weight-training, and rowing can be great cross-training choices? Working with a trainer in one of these (or other) areas can improve a dancer’s cardiovascular health, lung capacity, and upper body strength, among other benefits.
Learning more about the science of dance isn’t limited to therapy and training, either. As referenced by the world-renowned Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, there is a growing field of dance-related health professionals. Dancers can seek out new knowledge and tools from people like dietitians, who are experts in nutrition, or massage therapists, who are equipped to prevent or treat soft tissue strain. Asking for guidance and treatment from such professionals can boost your long-term goals and help you build healthful habits.
At the US Prix de Ballet, we encourage every dancer to be a lifelong learner, and to eagerly strive to grow their knowledge! We believe that strong dancing is not just about technique, but about the whole person. Our advice is to seek out as much new knowledge as possible … to learn it, apply it, and include it within your regular training regimen.