Friday, April 5, 2013

Dancing Without Injury

Even the most athletic, well-trained dancers face the possibility of injury when dancing. Last month Dorothy Hamill, an Olympic figure skating legend withdrew from the ABC television network’s “Dancing With the Stars” because of an injury.

Dancing is a physically demanding sport. Yes, it’s a sport. As surprising as it sounds, dancers are as susceptible to a sports related injury as football players. Professional dancers face the threat of injury due to the overuse of their muscles and the repetitive movements that dance requires.

Dancers need to be extremely flexible, have superior strength and endurance to perform regularly. However, because of this, their feet, ankles and lower legs are susceptible to strains and sprains. More serious injuries can include tendon injuries and stress fractures. In some cases, these injuries may require surgery to repair the damaged tendons.

Proper Dance Instruction

Dance instructors play a big part in preventing dance injuries. From the get-go, dance students should be educated in a safe and professional environment by a qualified dance instructor. Dance teachers should advise students based on their level of proficiency, abilities and age. Only when a student is ready, should a dance instructor move them to the next level of dance.

A professional dance teacher will be able to teach their dance students how to keep their body healthy and to have fun in the process. In this next section, “What a Dancer Should Know”, we’ll discuss some of the things a dance instructor will teach a child during a dance class.

What a Dancer Should Know

As dancers age, the likelihood of injury increases which makes it that much more important to stress to younger dancers what they can do to avoid dancing injuries. Young dancers should learn about proper warm-ups and cool-downs, wear properly fitting footwear and clothing, correct body alignment and technique, sufficient hydration, and the correct duration for training. Dancers who overwork their body can have a detrimental effect. A dancer should know their body’s limits and not push too hard, too soon. A dancer even needs to pay attention to environmental conditions. Dancing on a hard floor or in a cold studio can affect the dancer’s performance and put undue stress on their body.

What to Do About a Dance Injury

Should an injury occur when dancing, the student should seek professional medical care. A doctor can make recommendations for rest, physical therapy or in the worst cases, surgery. Any injury should be taken seriously and be evaluated. Additionally, only after clearance is granted by a doctor should a dancer resume practice.

About Wagner Dance and Music

Since 1989, Wagner Dance and Music, a performing arts school, has been teaching East Valley students. Our 3600 square foot Gilbert facility is conveniently located on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Guadalupe in the Big Lots plaza. We offer classes for ages two to adult in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Tumbling, Cheer, Musical Theater and Voice as well as adult classes. For more information about Wagner Dance and Music or to sign up for a class, visit or call 480-892-7179.

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