7 Injury Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making
It's that crazy time of year when, in the whirlwind of classes and rehearsals leading up to year-end shows and Regionals, dancers are increasingly likely to get injured. And there's nothing worse than missing out on a dream role or an amazing group routine because you've been sidelined by an injury—especially something preventable.
Cue The School at Steps' Injury Prevention Workshop. The annual event (sponsored by Dance Spirit!) brings in experts in the fields of health and fitness to help dancers figure out how to keep their bodies in tip-top shape. This year's workshop, featuring a pretty impressive panel, will take place Sunday, April 12 at 6:30 pm at The School at Steps in NYC. (You can get tickets here.)
Want a preview of the wise advice you'll get on the 12th? We asked each of this year's seven panelists to share an injury mistake they see dancers make all the time.
"Young students juggle complicated and demanding schedules, and are forced to balance intense academics with the equally intense physical demands of serious dance training. Students rush from school directly into class, often without any sustenance since lunch, sometimes missing large sections of barre work that are crucial to a proper warm-up. Solutions are difficult, but learning about the danger of erratic training is important." —Kate Thomas, director of The School at Steps
“It's so important to exercise patience while recovering from an injury. When you're back in class, you must listen to your body, and stop dancing one combination sooner than you think you should. If you push yourself too much, you can put your recovery on a backwards track." —Ashley Tuttle, former American Ballet Theatre principal and Tony Award nominee for Movin’ Out
“What you put into your body is what you get out of your body. A balanced and nutritious diet is key to a long and successful career.” —Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CDN, NYC-based registered dietitian nutritionist, clinical adjunct instructor at New York University, and founder of To The Pointe Nutrition
“Pilates mat exercises are great for injury prevention because they help dancers maintain strength and flexibility while incorporating the whole body, mind and spirit. Applying the principles of the mat exercises (breath, concentration, control, centering, precision and flow) before and during class can help you achieve a sense of strength and calm.” —Robin Powell, Pilates instructor, The School at Steps
“Injury prevention requires strategies utilized by professional athletes: proper technique and mechanics, strength and flexibility training, proper nutrition and rest.” —Andrew E. Price, M.D., associate professor of orthopedic surgery, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases
"Cross-training with cardiovascular and resistance exercises can help improve your capacity for performance and enhance career longevity." —Leigh Heflin Ponniah, MSc, MA, Harkness Center for Dance Injuries of the NYU Langone Medical Center
"As much as we all love to dance, taking the time to heal after an injury is the fastest way to get back to doing what we love." —Lucy Panush, pre-professional dancer, The School at Steps
It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.
Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.
All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.
From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.
Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.
New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I know I'm not getting good enough dance training from any of my local studios. But I'm not sure I'm ready to move away to study at a big-name school, either. How do you know when you're ready to leave home to pursue your passion?
Instagram star Kylie Shea has built a following of nearly 170,000 with her playful workout videos, which combine traditional fitness activities, like jumping rope or running on the treadmill, with pointe shoes and sassy choreography. Shea's effortless cool-girl-next-door vibe and solid ballet technique make her vids totally irresistible.
Now Shea's using her platform to address the body image issues that tend to plague dancers. In a poignant video, she sheds her clothes and tugs at her skin. The caption explains her relationship with her body and the pressure she feels to maintain a certain aesthetic as a dancer.
Physical discomfort is inevitable when you're spending tons of hours in the studio every day, but some pain shouldn't be suffered through. "Dancing through pain can make an injury worse and lead to more time away from dance," says Dr. Joel Brenner, medical director of dance medicine at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, VA. "Failing to rest and recover when you're in serious pain could even lead to the point where you're unable to dance in the future."
That may sound scary, but there's good news: If you take precautions and listen to your body, many injuries can be stopped in their tracks. The first step? Knowing what's normal—and what's not.
Think about it: How often do you see a ballet pas de deux for two women? Almost never, right? Sometimes, choreographers will forgo the traditional danseur-ballerina pas to make a duet for two guys, since they can lift and partner each other easily. But a dance for two ballerinas is a rare thing.
That's part of what makes "Duet," a new video by director Andrew Margetson featuring Royal Ballet beauties Yasmin Naghdi and Beatriz Stix-Brunell, so compelling.