Dance News

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

Photo by Joe Toreno

The coolest place she's ever performed:

I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!


Something she's constantly working on:

My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'


Signature look:

My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.


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