Staying Active During the Off-Season: Tips for Dancers

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Staying Active During the Off-Season: Tips for Dancers

As a dancer, taking a break during the off-season doesn’t always mean sitting idle. It’s a chance to refresh your body and mind while continuing to stay active. However, summer often feels like a much needed break from the busyness of the dance season. I’ve been the dancer who couldn’t keep up during the first week of classes because I spent summer relaxing. I have also gone through summer feeling like dance never stopped. So here’s my best advice as a physiotherapist to balance activity, rest and prioritize your summer fun!  

Cross Training

FIND SOMETHING FUN. I cannot stress this enough. Whatever activity you choose to fill your off season with, it had better bring you joy! If being at the gym is fun, go to the gym. If swimming is fun, swim. Get the picture? 

Also… pick something that is NOT dance. This is your break from dance, it shouldn’t be your bread and butter activity in your off season. That doesn’t mean don’t keep up with your skills etc, but just dont breathe it like you do during the year. 

Activities to Try:

  • Swimming: Great for heart & lung health and muscle endurance, plus splashing!! 
  • Yoga or Pilates: Excellent for deep core muscles and the transfer to dance is high!
  • Strength Training: This one is my favourite because it can really change your success as a dancer!
  • Climbing: one of the coolest and hardest activities out there! Hello hand strength!

Mobility & Flexibility

They’re not the same thing! Here’s the difference: Flexibility is the ability of muscles to lengthen through PASSIVE range of motion (think splits). Mobility is the ability of muscles to lengthen through ACTIVE range of motion (think jetes and tilt jumps). Dancers need both! Here is how to do each of them…

Flexibility Tips:

  • Routine: When trying to gain flexibility, consistency is important. So try to incorporate static stretching everyday or every couple days. 
  • Use it or lose it: The muscles you are consistently stretching are the ones that will be flexible. If you’re trying to get your middle split, stretch hamstrings and adductors. If you’re trying to get a high arabesque, stretch the abdominals and the back bend. You get it.

Mobility Tips:

  • Always be moving: instead of holding a stretch, move through that range of motion instead. 
  • Add load: it is SO beneficial to add load through this range. Ideas for this are a deep squat, shoulder press, or snow angels 

Get Outside!

Take advantage of the good weather and get your buns outside!! This not only keeps you physically active but also provides a refreshing change of scenery. PLUS there are tons of cool things to do in the summer sun – think picnics, spikeball, walks with your friends, swimming, beach volleyball …. endless possibilities! 

Outdoor Activities:

  • Hiking and Walking: Explore local trails or parks with your friends and pets! No one, I repeat… No one is mad when they see a cat on a leash. Just sayin
  • Cycling: Great for building leg strength and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Playground Fun: Younger dancers can benefit from running, jumping, and climbing – also, my teenage dancers… high key I know you wanna go down the slide, just do it!

 

Dance... Sort of

The key here is to make this as enjoyable as possible. Dancing in the off season is about renewing the passion, exploring yourself as an artist and continuing your skills. Try out a new style at a summer dance camp or online class. Go somewhere new like an intensive in a new city. Explore improvisation at home. You Get the picture 🙂

Ideas to Explore:

  • Social Media Challenges: Join dance challenges on platforms like TikTok or Instagram, they are sometimes silly but they’re super fun! 
  • Virtual Classes: Enroll in online classes to continue learning and improving your skills. You’d be surprised how many cool classes that Youtube or CLI Studios has.
  • Choreography Projects: Create your own choreography and share it with friends or on social media. Try a new genre of music or challenge yourself to create interesting floor work etc

Mind & Body Wellness

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as staying physically active. Incorporate activities that promote relaxation and well-being. This is your off season… you deserve rest and self care (you always do but you know what I’m saying)! 

Wellness Activities:

  • Meditation and Mindfulness: Practice techniques to reduce stress and improve focus.
  • Journaling: Keep a journal to reflect on your dance journey and set goals.
  • Joyful movement: Move your body in ways that make you feel happy, whether that be a kitchen dance party, or running!

Stay Connected

Even when classes are on break, staying in touch with your dance friends and instructors can keep you motivated. You are our family and we miss you during the break. Seriously… we have withdrawals from seeing your smiling faces. 

Ways to Stay Connected:

  • Group Meetups: Organize casual meetups or practice sessions with fellow dancers.
  • Virtual Hangouts: Use video calls to stay in touch and share your progress.
  • Community Events: Participate in local events or performances as a group.

Conclusion

Staying active during the off-season is essential for maintaining and enhancing your dance skills. Our biggest goal is to make sure you come back to us continuing to love dance and feel like a fulfilled human! Remember, the off-season is a time to grow and discover new aspects of your dancing journey. Keep moving, stay inspired, and we’ll see you back at the studio ready to shine! Oh and make sure you REGISTER! 

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