Dear Katie: What Are Good Cross-Training Exercises for Dancers?
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
What are good cross-training exercises for dancers? I'm taking lots of dance classes, but I've heard that cross-training can bring your dancing to a different level. I just don't know where to start.
Yes, cross-training is essential for dancers. Dance tends to work some muscles over and over while neglecting others, so supplementing your classes with other workouts will help your body stay balanced.
My number-one recommendation is Pilates. Pilates is brilliant for dancers because it builds long, lean muscles, and strengthens without limiting your flexibility. If you can't afford or don't have time for an in-person Pilates class, try one of the many free Pilates videos on YouTube, most of which don't require any equipment.
Other great workouts for dancers include yoga and Gyrotonic, which, like Pilates, are low-impact and complementary to dance training. Simple, easy-on-the-joints cardio workouts—using an elliptical, swimming, even just walking—will help you develop the stamina you'll need to power through performances. But there's no need to overwhelm yourself. Try one thing at a time, and see what works best for your unique body. Any form of cross-training is better than none!
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