I'm sitting here with an ice pack on my knee and a big, goofy smile on my face. It's 11:15pm and I recently got home from Riverside where I taught a lesson in East Coast Swing, then we danced the night away! One of the owners of the venue suggested I dance less - take it easy - to protect my knee. What he doesn't fully comprehend is that I'd trade dancing for pain any night of the week! So the saying must be true...
Now, I'm not being ridiculous about my injury. I am trying to push myself in a controlled, intelligent way - which reminds me of a blog request I had some weeks ago. Laura, this one's for you:) The question posed was, what (besides dancing) should dancers do to get/stay in shape and maximize their potential on the floor (i.e. be able to dance all night)?
I truly believe the best exercise for dancers (besides dancing:) is Pilates. The core strength you learn in that discipline directly translates to the dance floor. The more engaged your center, the more relaxed - yet connected - your arms can be. The lengthening you learn in Pilates improves your lines on the dance floor. And as a bonus, Pilates also helps you slim down. Our endurance in any activity increases when we're in good shape.
Weight lifting or some kind of muscle building activity also brings the dancer closer to his/her desired fitness levels. One of my favorite coaches is an avid rock climber - and a Beast on the dance floor:). Dancing and Pilates will help you slim down, but the stronger our muscles are, the more dynamic we can be on the floor. You don't want your Waltz to look the same as your Cha Cha Cha. Dancing has explosions of energy and sustained stretching - you need strong muscles to provide that light and shade.
The last thing I recommend is to do other sports... (just not on Tuesday nights b/c that's when you should all be in Social Dance Class;). Hiking, biking, tennis, golf - whatever your hobby, do it. And notice the similarities between it and dancing. You can't be a great tennis player if you don't get your feet in the right place. If you let the ball crowd you due to lazy feet, you'll never crush it! Good dancing comes from the feet. You have to feel the floor, push into it, and really move your feet - instead of just taking steps.
I could do this with any sport. The point is: there are truths to movement. And when you discover one in one facet of life, you'll be able to translate it to another. Then learning new dances or moves will start to click in ways they hadn't before, which will build your confidence - which, in turn, will get you out on the dance floor more... which will get you into better shape and you'll enjoy dancing all night!
I love it when it comes full circle;) Now, my ice pack is but a soppy shadow of what it once was, soSee you on the hardwood!
Allison loves to write almost as much as she loves to dance, so no one had to twist her arm to get her to write about dancing!